Tznius issue – what would you do?

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  • #597123

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    So I was in a store last night that has both Jews and not, shopping for Shabbos, and I noticed an otherwise Tzniusly dressed frum woman (who I do not know, but was dressed and looked frum, witha shaitel) who had an “issue” with her shirt being too tight (V’Hamavin Yavin). I am sure that she would have been mortified to know what was showing, and would have fixed it immediately (if possible). However, I also realized that for me to point this out to this woman (especially as a man) would not have been Tzanua on my part (I was alone). So I turned away and did not look or say anything.

    I am especially interested as per what the women in the CR think, and what they would do (and would want be done if they were in that predicament).

    Thanks

    #774596

    bpt
    Participant

    I had a similar situation, where someone had left her stroller and pocketbook on the street, while she was in the van nursing the baby.

    I stopped a women passing by and told her to tell the woman in the van.

    What I would have done in your place is ask someone else (of a similar hashkofic outlook, so its not confrontational) to tell the woman she has a detail that needs to be dealt with.

    #774597

    bpt
    Participant

    One more thing came to mind. Here in the office, I had a woman who was crying (not sure over what).

    I told another woman, “so and so needs your help, ASAP).

    If she’s being chased by a rotweiller, or she’s having a heart attack, I’d help myself. Things that need dealing with, but can be dealt with by someone esle, I’d prefer to delegate.

    #774598

    shlishi
    Member

    I strongly believe you should have told her, in a nice and respectable way. Otherwise she will definitely continue sinning, and causing others like you who inadvertently see her to sin. If you told her, there is at least a chance, however great or small, that she will take the appropriate corrective action.

    #774599

    cherrybim
    Participant

    “I am sure that she would have been mortified to know what was showing, and would have fixed it immediately”

    #774600

    “I strongly believe you should have told her”

    Thats could result in embarrasing her, also a big sin

    #774601

    As a woman, I would have been mortified if a man would point it out to me. I think you did the right thing by turning away.

    #774602

    A Heimishe Mom
    Participant

    A guy shouldnt be pointing that out to a strange woman. She will be embarrased either way. If you know there is someone else nearby who can tell her, let her. If not, you can say something general, but not specific.

    #774603

    yichusdik
    Participant

    Shlishi, really, she is sinning? She had no idea it had even happened. Not even a shogeg, and certainly not a meizid. And really, Shlishi, why use a christian concept like “sin”? When a Jew is oiver a Lo Taase, it is a transgression, not a sin. One is an action and the other is a state of being that is foreign to Judaism. And the person who saw it? Sinning? He turned away and considered a way to help the person without being oiver Hamalbin pnei chaveiro brabim. Transgressing would have been ch’v continuing to look. And no, before you suggest it, wearing a burka is not a k’dai alternative for Jewish women.

    #774604

    apushatayid
    Participant

    If what was showing was a direct result of her wearing clothing that was to tight, I would not have even pointed it out to another woman to tell her, I would have to believe the woman is very aware of how tight her clothing is, but chose to dress that way anyway. It is not my place to say anything to her, that is the job of her husband and/or Rav/Rebbetzin (if she dresses that way to go shopping, she dresses that way publicly in general and I would assume the Rav/Rebbetzin have seen it and are dealing with it in their own way). If what was showing was not as a result of what she was wearing, but just an unfortunate “wardrobe malfunction” (akin to a man whose zipper is open), I would have found a woman I know to point it out to her.

    #774605

    mdd
    Member

    Yihusdik, the woman was at least a shogeges — doing an aveira by mistake. We’ll judge her lekaf zechus and assume she was not a meizida.

    #774606

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    APY: I don’t believe it was a “malfunction”. I also don’t believe the woman knew about it; she was otherwise tzanua, and it was not necessarily (although she may have) the type of thing that she would have noticed when leaving her home. (it also may have changed from when she left home to being very noticable in the store).

    Shlishi: Rav Wolfson is noted for saying that looking the first time is not what is Assur; it is when you look the second time that it becomes Histaclus.

    MII: That was my cheshbon, Thank you.

    #774607

    yichusdik
    Participant

    mdd, please consider first that the Ramban (I think he mentions this in his explanation of hanistarim in parshas Netzavim). distinguished between a “transgression” of which the perpetrator was totally unaware, and a shogeg, which was done intentionally without knowing the seriousness or even if it was assur.

    Also, for a different take, see this post by Chaim B. from the Divrei Chaim Blog, from last November.

    “lav she’ain bo ma’aseh b’shogeg

    Not pashut that she was a shogeg.

    #774608

    apushatayid
    Participant

    Now that I completely understand the scenario: People who delude themselves into thinking they are a size 8 when they should be wearing a size 12 (men and women alike) have far greater issues to deal with than being embarrassed by a stranger pointing out that not all body parts fit, or that the material only stretches so far. Leave them be, unless the situation is hazardous to their health (for example, the guys pants are so tight, he has a hard time breathing – I actually heard a doctor tell this to someone who complained of “shortness of breath”. He replied, wear a larger size pair of pants and you will be able to breathe normally)).

    #774609

    mw13
    Participant

    yichusdik:

    First of all, nice shtickle Torah. However, even if this woman was a complete onnes and not at all at fault, there is still a problem here that has to be fixed (that something was visible which should not be). So this case would not fall into the category of Hochacha, but one should still try alert the woman that there is problem that needs to be fixed.

    #774610

    shlishi
    Member

    apy: It IS hazardous for their health. Their spiritual health, that is. And for the spiritual health of all those within eye-site of her. So we have to help her before she gets even sicker, and infects all those around her.

    #774611

    Shrek
    Member

    it is inherently NOT tznius for a man to go over to a woman to comment on her lack of tznius.

    Separate point: the woman would probably think you were trying to flirt with her.

    #774612

    shlishi
    Member

    She has to go home and change immediately. So she must be told asap.

    #774613

    Sacrilege
    Member

    Gavra

    Wow, great job getting everyone to try to think of a womans body and try to figure out what could have been wrong. I think THAT is a lack of tznius, clearly you are purposely keeping the image in your mind.

    So get over it and keep in mind that unless you want to move to a male only continent you will on occasion come across woman who unwittingly (or purposely) wont be dressed tzniusly.

    #774614

    “So we have to help her before she gets even sicker, and infects all those around her.”

    I think this statement is a bit extreme, your basically calling this women a disease. On top of that I think if a man were to go up to her, this would probably even be a bigger tznius issue. Not to mention the horrible embarrassment it would cause…

    #774615

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Sacrilege:

    Not sure where you are going with your first paragraph. Please explain.

    (I assume you are a woman?, and would like your opinion as well).

    As per the second paragraph, I have no issue with how the lady was dressed, had she not been frum. I question if it would be like someone telling me that my fly is open, or my undershirt is sticking out. Or as a frum male, I should be more sensitive in speaking to a woman regarding a dressing issue (which is what I decided, and MII basically said the same thing).

    #774616

    shlishi
    Member

    Sac

    It isn’t Gavra who discusses how a woman must treat her body, it is the Torah that tells us.

    #774617

    mewho
    Participant

    men should not tell women anything about what they are wearing if it is ill fitting. of course if you see a tarantula on her shoulder you should mention it.

    #774618

    Gavra at work….Its not your place, and I was especially shocked to learn you are a man, because I thought this was a woman writing this, as I wouldn’t even consider a man was writing such a thing!

    this is not an area for a man to even consider writing this “shalah” even in the CR! Just don’t look, don’t think.!

    #774619

    Shrek
    Member

    the bite of a tarantula will make someone sick, but usually isn’t fatal. so there may not be a heter to go over and speak to a woman who is not your wife in this situation. I suggest you ask your Rav, just in case the situation arises.

    #774620

    Sac-I LOVED your above comment!

    #774621

    shlishi
    Member

    What if a cockroach was crawling up a woman’s leg. Would you want a man to tell you if he noticed? Why is tznius less important than that?

    #774622

    MiddlePath
    Participant

    In the situation we are dealing with, it may not be considered proper for a man to notify a woman of an accidental revealing of a place she normally has covered. The embarrassment caused by a man informing her of it may be more than the embarrassment she has if she realizes on her own. However, if she has, for example, gum stuck on her clothing or, like shlishi’s case, a roach on her leg (let’s say below her knee, or just on her skirt), I honestly see no problem with a man informing her of it. It will save her embarrassment, and is a proper and perceptive thing to do.

    #774623

    shlishi
    Member

    In the situation we are dealing with, she needs to get out of the public asap and change. Whatever will accomplish that quickest would be the correct avenue.

    And she needn’t be embarrassed if she it told it privately, without any bystanders hearing. If you mean she would be embarrassed to find out she is displaying inappropriate material (even with no one overhearing the message), well that is something that needs to be said to her. In fact, she is saved from real embarrassment (on this world and the next) of showing too much if she were not informed.

    #774624

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Well, wouldn’t you tell her if she were wearing shaatnez?

    What if you knew she was wearing shaatnez but it was an article of clothing which is not tznius to talk about?

    All good questions. I don’t know the answer.

    I would probably tell her if it was shaatnez. I probably wouldn’t if it was a tznius issue.

    #774625

    MiddlePath
    Participant

    I agree with popa. I would tell her if it was anything other than something or somewhere a man shouldn’t be focusing on in public. Otherwise, I would inform another woman to tell her privately.

    #774626

    oomis
    Participant

    This ezact thing happened on a bus in Israel, where I noticed a young frum woman whose button had either popped off or opened. She cwas ressed very tzniusdikly, and I am sure was totally unaware. As some non-frum boys (though that matters not at all), seemed quite interested in staring at her, I tapped a woman closer to her (we were standing)and explained about the “kaftor hapatuach” the open button. I asked her to quietly let the young lady know, which she did, and she immediately put her bag up in front of her. Somebody has to say SOMETHING, rather than allow her to continue to unknowingly be showing that which she assuredly would not want to show.

    #774627

    msseeker
    Member

    I like bpt’s suggestion. I f there are no women around, how about mumbling “Excuse me,” while looking away and getting lost ASAP?

    #774628

    shlishi
    Member

    I think your reaction of telling her that her too short skirt has shatnetz — but not telling her it is too short, is a result of subconscious sociological feelings, not proper Jewish response to the issue. (I don’t mean this negatively, just to point out why I think you would react the way you describe.) Do you have any other explanation for the anticipated reaction that you describe? Or do you acknowledge I have a good point.

    #774630

    goldenkint
    Member

    i think if it was clear that what happened was not part of the way she normally dresses the best solution is to find a woman who can point it out discreetly. failing that , writing a note on a piece of paper that says your shirt needs to be adjusted or something similar, could be done. you could write the note, say excuse me , please read this. and walk away. she would be grateful.

    I as a woman have several times alerted other women in this manner. i would never dream of telling aman that his zipper was open. but if this lady was clearly unaware how revealing her clothes were i’d say inform her as i said above.

    #774631

    kapusta
    Participant

    I would be very uncomfortable if a man would tell me something relating to tznius. As goldenkint said above, maybe writing it down would be a good solution.

    *kapusta*

    #774632

    Sacrilege
    Member

    Gavra

    Actually my comment wouldve made more sense had they let the whole thing through. Oh well.

    #774633

    ZeesKite
    Participant

    GREAT IDEA

    Let’s be tzanua about this issue and [close] discussion.

    #774634

    Let me tell you all something. If I were in a dress shop trying on something and some “Frum ” man was staring at me good enough to figure out what I was trying on was too tight, and then he comes over to me to help me out by giving me kosher mussar….

    Oh whoa..you dont even want to know what I’d do. Dont even go there! First I’d turn white pale, then red, then white then wish the floor would open to eat me up like Korach, then I would glare at him with hate and curses, having been made ashamed by someone who had no place to do that, then I would try not to tell him off with every good statment I could think of. I would be really upset in short!

    #774635

    charliehall
    Participant

    I would NEVER walk up to a woman I did not know to point out her non-tzniut dress. Talk about not tzniut! In fact, I wouldn’t even do that for someone I DID know. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t even do that for my wife!!!

    Given that according to many opinions I’m not even supposed to tell a woman that she is wearing shatnez, an objective issur from the Torah, kal v’chomer for tznuit which is subjective.

    #774636

    shlishi
    Member

    Where is there any opinion you shouldn’t tell someone she is wearing shatnez, if you know it to be the case?? What is she is mistakenly, or purposefully, violating Shabbos? What if a cockroach is crawling up her leg? Would you tell her then?

    Tell her privately, with no one within earshot.

    And your wife you certainly must tell.

    And tznius is a halacha, not something we can “subjectively” choose. (The core parts.)

    #774637

    shlishi
    Member

    I see two arguments against so far. Either she’ll be embarrassed or it’s not tznius to tell her. As far as the argument that she’ll be embarrassed, if you tell her privately — and make sure no one hears — that issue is relegated. As far as the argument of it being not tznius to tell her, why any less so then telling her she’s wearing shatnez or a roach is crawling up her leg?

    #774638

    Sacrilege
    Member

    If someone finds out they are wearing Shatnez they need to take off the garment then and there.

    Best that someone not point it out to someone else in public.

    A man should NEVER point it out to a woman (and vice versa).

    #774639

    shlishi
    Member

    That isn’t correct. A person would have to take the shatnez off privately (i.e. at home), as to not violate tznius.

    #774640

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Shlishi:

    Where are you getting these halachos? As I recall, you have to take it off wherever you are, right then and there.

    #774641

    shlishi
    Member

    popa: A coat or your pants? Right in middle of Coney Island Avenue?

    #774642

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Gatkis. Right in the middle of the beis hamikdash. (unless you are a kohen doing avoda and the shaatnez is in your bigdei kehuna. Also unless it is your tzitzis.)

    #774643

    shlishi
    Member

    And a woman? If removing violates every precept of tznius imaginable? Are you asserting she’d need to do so? How does correcting one aveira by causing another fit?

    #774644

    BasYisroel94
    Participant

    How can you tell someone that they are wearing shatnez? You can tell by just looking at a garment that it is indeed shatnez?

    #774646

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    YD 103 http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=9147&st=&pgnum=265

    It says: If you see someone wearing shaatnez doraisa knowingly, you are supposed to jump on him and rip it off him, even in the marketplace. Even if it is your Rebbi.

    But, if he does not know, then you can wait to tell him until he gets home, because of his dignity. (not because of tznius -popa)

    But if it is only shaatnez drabonon, then you can wait until you get home.

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