May 19, 2014 1:55 am at 1:55 am #612812
Has it ever been worse?
Can anything be done that will actually reverse a continually downward spiral in standards of dress? I don’t think people are listening to Rabbonim enough regarding this issue.May 19, 2014 2:14 am at 2:14 am #1015853147Participant
Worry about how you dress FriendinFlatbush, and stop worrying so much about everyone else, whom anyways you won’t be able to fix. Simply practice instead of preaching.
If you still want to fix, fix up everyone else with Shiduchim; The more married & fewer singles, the more this issue shall take care of itself.May 19, 2014 2:28 am at 2:28 am #1015854TheGoqParticipant
Maybe it is a form of protest what are these women and girls trying to say and are THEY being listened to?May 19, 2014 2:28 am at 2:28 am #1015855popa_bar_abbaParticipant
It has always been worse. It is better htan ever.May 19, 2014 2:47 am at 2:47 am #1015856Veltz MeshugenerMember
Has it ever been worse? You mean when the wives of roshei yeshiva didn’t cover their hair, and most orthodox shuls had mixed dances? The only thing that’s worse than ever now is the judgmentalism.May 19, 2014 3:25 am at 3:25 am #1015857I. M. ShluffinParticipant
If we can’t do much about the older girls, begin with the younger ones. Ateres is a tznius organization which is targeted at school-age girls. High-school girls teach groups of girls about hilchos tznius on Friday nights, after candle-lighting. They teach from a manual, which includes different halachos, stories, games, and ideas for each week, based off of the tznius sefer, Oz Vehadar Levusha, set in practical terms. The Ateres leaders also benefit – they have to be the role models for their gilrs. If you don’t have Ateres in your community, get it quick!May 19, 2014 3:44 am at 3:44 am #1015858
To all the other posters, I will respectfully say that I was outdoors several different times today. Trust me, the tznius has gone down more than ever. Not that you should look at how some people (women) are dressed, but I was appalled at how many of them were “skirting” around tznius guidelines.
And no, I’m not talking chumros; I’m talking about skirts that fail to cover knees when standing still.
My question to the CR was if they think we can ever improve our tznius, or if we have hit a plateau and it will only deteriorate from here.
I’m not judging anyone, I’m just asking for people’s predictions and/or prognoses if they think the situation will ever get better, or will it keep getting worse along with society.May 19, 2014 3:52 am at 3:52 am #1015859
147, do you think tznius improves with marriage, or did you just link two random issues?
Popa, is it better than ten years ago, or is it just better than fifty years ago?
Veltz, aren’t there aspects of tznius which have gotten worse, even if we have gotten better in one specific area?
Personally, I think tznius is a middah, which applies to both men and women, although it expresses itself differently for each.
Specifically, as it relates to what seems to be the subject of this thread, namely women’s dress (and the fact that we in the CR seem to enjoy talking about this aspect more than others is probably due to a lack of tznius), the underlying problem, particularly today that there is not a lack of knowledge of the halachos, is a middos issue. If a girl would be a tzanua, she would want to dress modestly.
Is there a benefit to all of the shiurim, gatherings, presentations, rabbinic exhortations, etc.? Maybe. As a community, we certainly need to be clear about our values, about what is important to us, and about what is repulsive to us.
I don’t know how effective it all is, though. The best way I know to teach middos is by example, and there is no quick fix. Middos are a lifetime’s work.May 19, 2014 3:59 am at 3:59 am #1015860frumnotyeshivishParticipant
IM Shluffin – you said “the tznius sefer, oz vehadar levusha.” Is the sefer tznius, or do you believe that it is THE tznius sefer? I would have written “a” tznius sefer, or better yet, “a book chronicling what ONE respectable rabbi believes about what the standards of tznius SHOULD be in Gateshead.” Rabbi Falk is well-intentioned but just because it is the most comprehensive book on tznius in English does not make it binding halacha on all (if, indeed, it is binding on any).May 19, 2014 4:39 am at 4:39 am #1015861
Frumyeshivish, I think you totally misconstrued I.M. Shluffin’s post. She simply stated a fact, that the Ateres groups utilize the sefer Oz Vehadar Levusha. That’s it, but you chose to make it into a review of the sefer and its author, and its application.
If I were to say that I post in “the coffee room”, would you be medayek that I’m claiming that there is only one room with coffee? Would you ask if I am asserting that the room is coffee? Would you begin discussing the motivations of the owner of the website or the CR moderators?May 19, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm #1015863DaMosheParticipant
I think there are a bunch of problems nowadays. The standards have gotten more and more strict in recent years. Many chumros are now presented as basic halachah. When you set the bar too high, it’s obvious that you won’t be happy with the result.
Another issue is the way tznius is taught. Girls in Beis Yaakov are being taught with a fire and brimstone method, instead of being taught the proper reasoning. These girls are taught to be tznius because they have to be, instead of wanting to be. I was once by my brother-in-law for Yom Tov, and was talking with my niece. She was about 7 years old at the time. She told me that she thinks tznius is the hardest mitzvah to keep. Is that how we want our children to view it?
When principals go around with tznius rulers, and stores have checklists in the dressing rooms, it means things have gone too far. Let’s teach our children about tznius properly, so that they’ll want to follow the guidelines. Let’s teach them what’s required, and what is a chumrah.May 19, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm #1015864
How do you teach someone to want to be tznius?May 19, 2014 1:15 pm at 1:15 pm #1015866givingitagoMember
Why is the word ‘tznius’ used in this fashion – pardon the pun! As far as I understand it, ‘tznius’ translates as ‘modesty’ NOT ‘modest’. Therefore, someone may dress either ‘b’tznius’ or ‘tzniusdig’ but not just simply ‘tznius’. Anyone else agree?May 19, 2014 1:33 pm at 1:33 pm #1015867
I. M. Shluffin, DY, FNY – Unfortunately, R. Falk’s book has proven to be a Michshol for many women. Similar to Chava and touching the Eitz HaDaas, they (correctly) believe this is not Halacha, and therefore (C”V) Tznius is entirely made up by men to control women, so there is no need to hold of it.
The concept is certainly a good one, and a bad application should not ruin the idea. What should be learned are the sources INSIDE. Learn the Rishonim on the Gemaros in Brachos & Kesubos, Shulchan Aruch, Meforshim. Not a “Pamphlet” or “Book” that will only make people think the whole thing is fake.
And yes, Tznius is much worse. A strong possibility (IMHO) for the reason is that Tznius is being taught by rote, from Pamphlets and Books instead of sources and real Halacha. The way to make it stick is to make it real.May 19, 2014 1:39 pm at 1:39 pm #1015868
Givingitagao: If most people are indeed mistaken about the translation and take “tznius” to mean “modest” instead of modesty, then that means the meaning of the word has effectively changed, the way people understand it. Words have meaning only to the extent that its users give it that power.May 19, 2014 1:44 pm at 1:44 pm #1015869NechomahParticipant
GAW – that might work as it teaches why you HAVE to do it, which might work when it comes to men, but I think that the yetzer hara has plenty of tricks to get us away from doing what we HAVE to do.
The thing to do is to teach a girl sensitivity about how tznius is important to her as a person and then she will hopefully come to WANT to be tznius. There is little ammunition of the yetzer hara for our WANTS.May 19, 2014 2:03 pm at 2:03 pm #1015870
Nechomah – There is certainly no reason why both can not be done, but not the reasons of Tznius masquerading as Halacha or even worse, changing it.
I had a discussion yesterday with my (non-Jewish) barber about Tznius, and how women these days dress in the street like they are offering themselves for hourly lease. It certainly is a “reason” to keep Tznius (just like any other reason you might suggest), but it doesn’t suffice, because it gets into some real questions. Why no jeans? hair? Slightly above or below the knee? Socks? Dressing like Princess Kate? That is why we have to teach what the Ribbono Shel Olam wants, not some rabbi, imam or “community” standards that are not immutable Halacha.May 19, 2014 2:06 pm at 2:06 pm #1015872
has proven to be a Michshol for many women
That’s a discussion on its own, and I wasn’t commenting one way or the other, but it’s become too common to scapegoat his sefer (as representative of the “fire and brimstone” approach) instead of recognizing it for what it is, to a large extent – a reaction to a decrease in tznius.
I will reiterate what I said before. Tznius is a middah, and the improper dress we see is a manifestation. There’s no easy way to do tikun hamidos, and there are no shortcuts. It starts, for me as a parent, with chinuch, and I think if I would start blaming these external factors for the decreased level of tznius, I would risk shirking my own duties as a mechanech.May 19, 2014 2:13 pm at 2:13 pm #1015873LBKParticipant
The difference between now and fifty years ago is that fifty years ago, the jewish community was simply trying to fit in. The shuls that had mixed dancing were picking the lesser of many evils, and in many cases providing a forum through which intermarriage and assimilation would be minimized. If you walk around our communities today, you come to realize that people who know better simply don’t care, and their children are taking it even further. If I see mommy wearing a skirt two inches above her knee, then why can’t I wear leggings with a skirt so small it looks like I’m simply wearing pants (and so on and so forth)….May 19, 2014 2:19 pm at 2:19 pm #1015874
DY: Nothing to do with “Fire and Brimstone”, but misrepresentation of Halacha. He disagrees in his S”HUT with the conclusions of his book (as I’ve pointed out in other threads). The book is not meant to be Halacha, but is unfortunately taught as the absolute minimum by many schools. Whether that was his intent or not, I don’t know, and I have no reason to assume malice on the part of an Orthodox Rabbi and can be Dan L’Kaf Zechus.
As far as the “middah” is concerned, you are only partially correct. Wearing baggy pants and a floppy hat with hair sticking out or showing elbows is following the “Middah” of Tznius, but not the Halacha (vs. driving an Infiniti or Lexus SUV in a full length dress is following the Halacha, but not the Middah). If the Halacha is not taught, then (as I said earlier) women think the whole thing is made up.May 19, 2014 2:31 pm at 2:31 pm #1015875
It all stems from a lack of yiras shamayim (clearly there is no need to have any yira from the social circle). A woman who has yiras shamayim wont dress contrary to halacha and a man with yiras shamayim wont tolerate it as a husband/father.
“These girls are taught to be tznius because they have to be, instead of wanting to be.”
It is irrelevant what they WANT. what is relevant is the ratzon hashem. Someone with yiras shamayim wants to do the ratzon hashem.
“do you think tznius improves with marriage, or did you just link two random issues?”
I dont think the 2 “issues” are as random as you make it seem. With an over emphasis on a girls physical appearance, to the point where a girls photo on her shidduch profile is standard operating procedure, is there any wonder that girls continue to push the envelope in the appearance department (this includes clothes and makeup). the lack of yiras shamayim in our bachurim who are seem to have no issue with this runaway train moving forward at breakneck speed.
“Popa, is it better than ten years ago, or is it just better than fifty years ago?”
It isnt better, or worse. It is different. Both are just as bad. Sure, we took steps forward, but we also took two steps back.May 19, 2014 2:32 pm at 2:32 pm #1015876
Daasyochid- the way I was taught to be tznious for example. I grew up frum and dressed however I wanted because thats the standard of the community my family is in. I always wanted to follow what the other girls were doing. When I went to seminary I finnaly learned hilchos tznious for he first time. I sat down with my teacher and cried how if I started coverig my knees id be totally frowned upon in my community bacj home. If I wanted to cover my elbows and bH when I was married cover all my hair and not show that whole front area like many ladies I know do, people wpulecall me names. It was a matruity and growth experiance but I learned the basics of halacha what needs to be covered and I started from the bottom seeing how it made me feel. Giving it a chance and learning in the side the beauty of tznious. Its not simply the fact that my body was now being covered its that I knew for a fact that when I walked the steeets people werent looking at me for my body. I was able to start growing in the indide because I felt beautiful and I felt that my outside was becoming who I was. It is a total body experiance but it really starts back at the basics. Its not something that can be forced because then you end up with girls who say “at least were wearing stockings” when there skirts r barley covering their knees. Or on the other hand you get girls who have no care for tznious because they are following the trends and trying to keep up with the stars in hollywood.May 19, 2014 3:05 pm at 3:05 pm #1015877NaftushMember
FriendinFlatbush and LBK, no one really invited you to inspect strange women’s clothing down to the inch and then indict the whole community for the findings.May 19, 2014 3:25 pm at 3:25 pm #1015879oomisParticipant
Why is the word ‘tznius’ used in this fashion – pardon the pun! As far as I understand it, ‘tznius’ translates as ‘modesty’ NOT ‘modest’. Therefore, someone may dress either ‘b’tznius’ or ‘tzniusdig’ but not just simply ‘tznius’. Anyone else agree? “
100% agree. I am tired of the grammatical “am haaratzus” as it were, that allows people to use the word incorrectly. Tznius is a noun. People want to express the desire for others to dress B’tznius, which is like saying “tzniusdically,” which would be an adverb. The fact that a lot of people don’t know the proper usage of the word and have accepted incorrect usage, does not mean it should continue that way. It may seem like a very small thing to most people, but I am bothered by this, and have said so on other occasions in the CR.
It is malbush tzanua, not tznius clothing.
Behavior and speech that is tzanua is at least as and maybe even more important than how one dresses.May 19, 2014 3:33 pm at 3:33 pm #1015880dial427436Member
Self worth and self respect is a good start.May 19, 2014 3:43 pm at 3:43 pm #1015881nfgo3Member
To givingitago: The pun was excellent. You shoulda stopped there.May 19, 2014 4:05 pm at 4:05 pm #1015882
I’ve never actually read the book, although I have heard some things about it.
There’s a lot of actual halacha which cannot be taught in a classroom, or published as a textbook. Yes, you can be specific about how much hair may or may not peek out from underneath the head covering, but those halachos can probably be taught in twenty minutes.
I’m talking about areas which are impossible to define, involving the overall appearance (and I do not want to get into any kind of detail). Someone could be in violation of actual halacha while not going against any measurable standard.
I disagree with you that this is limited to a problem with a midah. I even disagree with you, to some extent, that driving a fancy car is a bad midah. What they share in common, though, is that they are both a manifestation of a bad midah.May 19, 2014 4:46 pm at 4:46 pm #10158832NI3Participant
I feel that one of the major issues are with the “jewish” clothing manufactures. since when are tight short bright colored skirts allowed, that is what the frum stores sell. when people shop in goyish stores they ask themselves if what they are buying is modest but when shopping in a frum store people assume its ok. that is not ok, a frum store should need a hechsher just like food does.May 19, 2014 5:02 pm at 5:02 pm #1015885oot for lifeParticipant
its bad, its getting hot outside, so it will get worse, but I don’t fault the women, they’re just following what they see gets them attention
if the husbands gave the wives attention when they’re at home they would have no need to “dress up” like that and go walking down the street
the rabbis want to yell at someone let them yell at the husbands firstMay 19, 2014 5:19 pm at 5:19 pm #1015886YW Moderator-29 👨💻Moderator
Maybe not a hechsher, but discretion.May 19, 2014 5:22 pm at 5:22 pm #1015887
1: Much of it is available online on Google books.
2: Agreed, but a book or pamphlet wouldn’t really help there either, would it? Besides, if the sources were taught, it would take more than 20 minutes (and be much more useful than learning Radak or Yalkut Shimoni).
3: I thought you were the one who said being Tzanuah is exclusively a middos issue. We can both agree that it doesn’t have to be one (although it certainly could be “showing off”).May 19, 2014 5:36 pm at 5:36 pm #1015889DaMosheParticipant
oot for life: But why would the women be seeking attention?May 19, 2014 6:17 pm at 6:17 pm #1015890cherrybimParticipant
In most cases, tznius issues (as well as other modern behavior in a family) generally corrects itself when the family reaches the milestone of shidduchin or when trying to have children accepted into the better schools.May 19, 2014 6:51 pm at 6:51 pm #1015892Sam2Participant
DY: I have had occasion to meet girls who are very Tzanua people even if everything is not always covered properly. I have met girls who keep everything covered and yet aren’t Tzanua. And, of course, I have met Tzanua girls who cover everything and (well, the fourth category doesn’t need to be named).
At the end of the day, while the third category is obviously the ideal, the first category are the girls who are, for the most part, going to be more conscious of Halachah and will raise their kids to be Yirei Shamayim (over the second group, and probably come pretty close to the third). The Halachos are what they are for a reason, because of how people react to seeing certain things. But the fact is, that teaching Tzniut as a proper way to act stems from acting properly, as you said. The girl who is modest but shows part of her knee sometimes will more often than not be more of a Bas Yisroel than the flirty girl who wears long skirts. I’ve learned to ignore the technical details of what is worn (unless there is a real breach of Tznius, in which case I ignore the person) because, at the end of the day, an inch here or there does not define a person (though several inches might).May 19, 2014 6:57 pm at 6:57 pm #1015893interjectionParticipant
I think it’s a combination of three things. First, women, naturally, are tzanua and more internal and naturally the only man’s opinion that we care about is our father or husband. Generally (NOT always), if a woman is vying for attention from other males, it’s being she’s not beingnmade to feel special by the ones who do matter. Second, when you break a woman’s midda by convincing her that she WANTS to be the breadwinner and that being a STAH is for sissies, you can imagine there will be repercussions. Third is that you notice what you want to. I look around and notice thaat the girls in my neighborhood do a ton of chessed. Other people, either the guys who like noticing or the girks who wish they could dress that way, complain that the shaitels are too long. I feel like if you really valued tznius you wouldnt be checking everyone out.May 19, 2014 7:12 pm at 7:12 pm #1015894
“I feel that one of the major issues are with the “jewish” clothing manufactures.”
I think the biggest problem is the absentee men. The women who are walking around dressed in a way the OP and others like him/her constantly bemoan are not widows and orphans. More often than not they have husbands or fathers in their lives. It is up to them to say something as well.May 19, 2014 7:15 pm at 7:15 pm #1015895
“if the husbands gave the wives attention when they’re at home they would have no need to “dress up” like that and go walking down the street”
Disclaimer: I am not a woman. The following is merely something I am repeating in the name of ONE woman.
Men should stop flattering themselves. Women do not dress to impress men, they dress to impress other women.May 19, 2014 7:36 pm at 7:36 pm #1015896
“that is what the frum stores sell.”
Stores sell what is in demand. The store owner has his/her own nisayon about what to sell or not sell, but to put the onus of how people dress on the store owners, that is just plain silly.May 19, 2014 7:42 pm at 7:42 pm #1015897
Gavra, busy day, haven’t had time for full responses. What I mean is that for those who see and know how to dress properly, the non compliance is rooted in a bad midah.
OurTorah’s story is different. She seems to have the innate midah of tznius, but was lacking knowledge.
It’s a travesty that her community’s standards and attitudes (or at least that of some individuals in her circle) are such that she would be made to feel an outcast for keeping the halachos properly. I have deep respect for her ability to overcome that. This shows not only the midah of tznius, but also that of gevurah.May 19, 2014 8:17 pm at 8:17 pm #1015898interjectionParticipant
I just want to give a disclaimer on my post. I don’t really believe my third point but I do think there is an agenda, far removed from sanctification of G-d’s name, that people spend so much mental energy trying to think of reasons we should hate or judge these women based on their dress.May 19, 2014 8:26 pm at 8:26 pm #1015899
DY – Or peer pressure, like OT’c community.
I have deep respect for her ability to overcome that. This shows not only the midah of tznius, but also that of gevurah.
Agreed. Ittisah recently told me a similar story with a woman she knows who started to cover her hair.
Sam2: +1.May 19, 2014 8:58 pm at 8:58 pm #1015900
Stores sell what is in demand. The store owner has his/her own nisayon about what to sell or not sell, but to put the onus of how people dress on the store owners, that is just plain silly.
Agreed. The supermarkets in frum neighborhoods don’t sell treif because nobody would buy it.
There may be a point to think about here, though; if frum grocers would sell tarfus as well, would people be so outraged that they would take their business elsewhere? If so, does the same standard apply to clothing stores?
Sam, what you are describing is the difference between not caring about a breach in tznius, and not being aware of one. Certainly, the latter is not ideal, but yes, there’s a world of difference.May 19, 2014 9:16 pm at 9:16 pm #1015901
Daas Yochid- thank you! It definitly till this day is a minor struggle becuase people make comments, but in a way Hashem blessed me because it has only made me stronger!
I think the matters of tznious obviously arent simple, but I think if they were expressed differently to young girls when they have to start dressing in a tzanua fashion, to show them that it comes along with alot of benefits and its not just for the sake of fitting into a mould and having a specific look. I think the only way to teach it is without forcing it, but showing that along with the middah of tznious comes a life filled not only with brachos, but with higher self esteem, self growth and a stronger connection to Hakadosh Baruch Hu!
Thank you for your posts Daas Yochid!May 19, 2014 9:19 pm at 9:19 pm #1015902
gavra at work- also thank you! it was a huge mountain to conquer, but Hashem gave me the parnassa to buy the new skirts and shells and was clearly with me every step of the way!May 19, 2014 9:22 pm at 9:22 pm #1015903
gavra- but also while alot of it is peer pressure, most people just dont care. its not important to them and that is a bad middah. Before I had any exposure to real halacha, I literally didnt care. It didnt bother me that I wasnt dressing properly, and it wasnt even that i was trying to impress boys, i simply didnt care.May 19, 2014 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm #1015904oomisParticipant
Men should stop flattering themselves. Women do not dress to impress men, they dress to impress other women.”
That is a true statement in my experience.
DY, no “sorry” needed. Many people use the expression in that way.
Erroneously. And they wouldn’t, if school were to teach proper dikduk, which is truly essential to understanding the Torah.May 20, 2014 1:39 am at 1:39 am #1015905frumnotyeshivishParticipant
DY: The (admittedly stupid) diyuk was a roundabout way to make my point (which hasn’t yet been convincingly disputed here). The point: Oz Vehadar Levusha should absolutely NOT be learned as a practical manual, particularly for young american girls.
The two reasons for my opinion have been discussed but I’d like to reiterate them.
1. It’s not halacha
2. Even if it would be partially or fully halacha, it is nonetheless counter-productive.
[It might be something like the equivalent of starting groups for young boys teaching them from a sefer which advocates not to walk daled amos without thinking in learning. There is a source that such behavior is a good thing but see points one and two above.]May 20, 2014 3:17 am at 3:17 am #1015906
Fny, I think what you’re saying has merit in some cases. I think a lot of thought needs to be used as to which audiences would and would not benefit from using the sefer, and in how to use it.May 20, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm #1015907
[It might be something like the equivalent of starting groups for young boys teaching them from a sefer which advocates not to walk daled amos without thinking in learning. There is a source that such behavior is a good thing but see points one and two above.]
And then telling the young boys it is absolutely required for one to do so.
Seemingly a good dimyon.May 20, 2014 3:47 pm at 3:47 pm #1015908wallflowerParticipant
GAW: “Similar to Chava and touching the Eitz HaDaas, they believe this is not Halacha, and therefore Tznius is entirely made up by men to control women.”
You hit the nail on the head. This was my exact thought process not too long ago (I’m a teenager). I’ve had teachers tell the class that skirts four inches below the knee is a mitzvah d’Oraysa. I concluded that the teachers, and the Oz V’Hadar Levusha, were full of baloney.
Currently, the religious reason behind the way I dress are to curb my desire for male attention. (Guys have their own desire-curbing mitzvos, which are none of my business.) End of story. Everything else – the being a princess, self-esteem, draw attention to your soul not your body – is a bonus. Yes, that’s important, but it should be important to everyone; it’s not specific to religion.
Sitting in school, you’d never know it.
“What should be learned are the sources INSIDE.”
I’d love to. Can you name some specific locations? Thanks.
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