Tznius Standards

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    Brooklyn 19,

    If the gemara says its deoreisa (as it does by showing ervah) it is deoraisa if it says somthing is derobonon then it is derobonon.

    As for articles of clothing I beleive a couple may be mentioned however they are no longer worn (as style has changed considerably since then!)

    However most articles of clothing depend on what is considerd normal in the society you are in (if somthing is considerd trashy or loud by the society you live in you shouldnt wear it if it is not you can wear it- as long as it is not revealing an ervah)

    and this was my entire point.

    as to what you were saying about listening to gedolim i discussed this in my post on page 6 of this thread.


    thanks 000. i follow you about halfway but when you get to the “however” i can’t say i agree.

    SJS: don’t get me started…


    @Brooklyn, isnt the point of a debate to get “others started” to have an open dialogue.

    As for my point of “That list caters to a specific group of people and is not halacha across the board” – please either agree, or refute. If you refute, please bring backup!


    SJS: not really. you probably know most of what i’m gonna say. and even if you don’t know it, you still don’t agree with me before i even open my mouth. (or rather, move my fingers :-))


    Brooklyn, the way I look at it is there are two possible responses:

    1) You think my halachic psak is invalid and everyone should be following that list, no matter what their Rav says

    2) You agree that as long as you are following your posek, this list is irrelevant. In which case, you agree with my point.

    If your answer is #1, I would like to know why you think that. After all, “Asei l’cha rav” is a fundamental part of Judaism. Are you basing your statements on your Rav? Did he approve this list? Did he say this is the list that everyone, including those who follow a different rav, should follow?

    I am really interested to hear your response.



    Don’t take the bait.


    While I recognize that you are a sincere person & mean no harm, nevertheless, allow me to assure you that as brooklyn pointed out, you will never end up agreeing anyway.

    A Bais Yaakov girl from brooklyn & a Modern Orthodox young married lady from Manhattan are not going to get too far. Trust me.

    BTW, How’s Hazel?


    Notpashut, I’m not asking her to agree with my psak, just that she learns to respect that not everyone follows the same psak. By saying that list is meant for everyone, she is attempting to invalidate/disrespect my psak. Thats what I am trying to get her to understand. The pointed questions I asked were to try to get her to broaden her mind to understand that in halacha there is really only one opinion and there can rarely be a universal list, especially like the one posted on the first page.

    I’ll update the battery thread about Hazel.


    i will I”YH post the sources for this list of halchos as soon as I have time.


    don’t worry, i’m not gonna take the bait from either one of SJS’s last two posts.

    and i am pretty open-minded. but there’s a limit – i’d like to keep my brains.


    SJS, yes a person should always follow their own Rav, yet the Rav should be a competent Halachic authority. The list at the beginning of the post is probably based on the fundamental parts of tznius that every bais yakov girl is taught throughout school. For those that will go by that list kol hakovod! You might want to show the list to ur Rav to ask his opinion for exact halachic ruling



    “One’s appearance must appear refined and respectable.”

    See Mesilas Yesharim 23 in the opening paragraph (“Path of the Just” page 163, Feldheim) where the Ramchal explains that tznius clothing are those which are respectable (??????????) but not “overly fancy”. Although Mesilas Yesharim is a “mussar” text which guides people to do more than the minimal requirement of halachah. Nevertheless here the Ramchal is defining tznius clothing, which should be worn to develop humility, rather than giving a “higher level” of tznius.

    Bright colored clothing or clothing that otherwise attracts attention are not permitted.

    See Rama Y.D. 178:1, Kitzur Shulchon Oruch 3:2, note the Shach 178:3 who explains that black is a modest color.

    A married woman must cover her hair.

    See Chayei Adam 4:5 which cites Bamidbar 5:18.

    An unmarried woman’s hair should be short or tied back, such as in a braid.

    This reflects the notion that one should look respectable but not over made up. Torah sources indicated braided hair (see Shabbos 95a) and hair pulled back (see Misdrash Shir Hashirim 4:3) is attractive, but not ostentatious like those described in Yeshayahu 3:16 (see Rashi there).

    Makeup and perfume is intended to beautify a wife for her husband, beyond this it should be used scarcely if at all.

    See Tanchuma Vayishlach Piskah 5



    What is considerd refined and respectable and ostentatious is completley subjective if a woman wore today what a woman who stood at har sinai or lived in europe 800 years ago wore it wouldnt be considerd refined or repectable looking


    Thank you Joseph for so kindly looking up the sources for us . Whether we now agree or disagree we must bring sources. Its funny how as Yiddin who follow halacha so stringently we tend to shoot off whatever emotion we are feeling at a moment.

    I just want to add to the general thread that yes the chachamin gave p’sak on what is innapropriate according to the halachos of tziut, yet we must be careful to follow the actual halacha (such as what is considered erva) and then talk to your rav for specifics that you as an individual should be keeping. The reason for this is that forcing people to take upon chumras and passing it off as halacha may cause people such as teenagers who are questioning Judiasm to be turned off. If you want to take on chumras KOL HAKAVOD but please don’t impose it on others.



    Yasher Koach!

    Just one question. Is there any Mekor that long hair is “over made up”? It(in general) doesn’t seem to be vs. an updo (al la Mrs. Palin), which is a short braid.

    Also, is hair allowed to be made up for Simchos?

    If anyone else has Mekoros for the rest of the list, please post them.


    Brooklyn, you may want to be careful what you call garbage. If you were referring to my list of “tznius” issues, there is a large debate in the gemara and commentaries about if a women has to cover her head or her hair and how much. There is also a big debate about where (bayit, chatzer, shuk). I dont have the sources in front of me (they are packed away in my attci and I am not pulling them out!). There is a minority opinion that a women needs a HEAD covering not a HAIR covering. You may not follow it, but you should learn to respect it.

    Don’t worry, I never thought you would actually answer. I think it takes an honest person to really look around and say one of those two statements. From your posts, I assume you think my posek is wrong, but are afraid to say so.

    As for being open minded – I would hesitate to call you that from what I have seen around here (specifically, how you reacted to illini07’s parenting style). You seem to still be in that post high school *everything is black and white* phase and have much to learn. Hatlacha in your path in life!!


    I just thought I would add an example that everyone can understand:

    My Rabbi holds that Dagim tuna is the only really kosher one, due to issues with dolphins. Therefore, I cannot eat starkist or bumblebee or chicken of the sea or any others. For me, its not kosher.

    HOWEVER, I respect that other poskim hold that the other brands are ok. So while I cannot eat it, I do not look at anyone eating it and think “Oh they are eating treif.” All I think is that they hold by a different (yet valid) opinion.

    Does that make my point more clear?


    i’m not afraid to answer. i just feel like it’ll be a waste of my time.

    and i used to be WAY more grey. till i realized that my open-mindedness stemmed from idiocy. and i honestly try to think. there’s a limit as to what a thinking person can accept from others and i make my own limits. yours might be different – good for you. but i’m not about to argue with someone who opposes my opinion before i open my mouth. what’s the point?


    SJS – we all have much to learn.



    BTW: There are also issues of Bishul Akum with non-Jewish brand Tuna



    sometimes it’s better to be “narrow-minded” than too “open-minded”.

    anon for this


    I want to mention here that I really appreciate your posts. You always express yourself carefully and respectfully, even when responding to those who are less careful and respectful. Even though my Rav didn’t give me the same p’ask as yours I appreciate the restraint you are showing.


    Anon, thank you for that.

    Intellegent, actually being narrow-minded can be more deadly. For example, you are narrow minded and decided that the only psak thats correct is your Rabbi. No wiggle room about it! Then he starts to slowly shift towards things that are anti-Torah, but you are stubbornly narrow-minded in thinking your Rabbi could never make a mistake. His opinion is the only one. Then, he turns into Shabtai Tzvi, but you still follow because you are not willing to look outside to see the difference.

    Being open minded does NOT mean that you just agree with everything that anyone says. It means that you listen and discern that you are not always correct. Sometimes, another person just has a good thinking point, and while you arrive at the same conclusion, the journey of thought is still important. [from an online dictionary: Having or showing receptiveness to new and different ideas or the opinions of others]

    Brooklyn, your former open mindness may have been from idiocy (per your post), but mine does not. My stems from maturity. I don’t see your answer as a waste of time because it may broaden my mind in a different way. As I said above, to me, the journey of thought it important.

    gavra, according to the star-k, there doesnt seem to be a problem with bishul akum:

    Is the star-k a pretty universal hashgacha? I know my family all holds by it. I also just ready an article by the OU that basically seems to find ways around the bishul akum. Hmm, so interesting!


    On what is considerd to loud being subjective to the society you are in: R’ Pesach E. Falk (who is quite the machmir!) in his book “Modesty an adornment for life” writes (pg. 395) that if a woman is in the orient were it is considerd the norm to wear bright diffrent colors and louder jewelry it is okay for a frum woman to do so.

    The Big One

    Now that someone provided the mekoros, where are all the big shots who were yelling that they won’t do it since they don’t know of the mekoros?



    I guess it partially depends on how you define “open-minded”. I’m sure there is not only one definition. In any case, the example that you bring about thinking that ONLY your Rav is correct and even when he starts to go a bit awry you are still clinging to him is a very good example. I think in that respect I am not at all like that. You seem to lean a bit in that direction because you are constantly referring to your Rav’s opinion and seem to really consult him for a good part of your life which is wonderful but I hope you realize that he is human and can make mistakes so you look out for that.

    “Being open minded does NOT mean that you just agree with everything that anyone says. It means that you listen and discern that you are not always correct.”

    I agree.

    What I meant by being “open-minded” can sometimes be worse than being narrow-minded is that when you are too accepting it is not good either. You have to be firm in knowing that the Torah is the ONLY way. Also, you have to be firm in your convictions and not easily sway from your derech. (which according to your post does not seem to be a problem for you at all! 🙂 ) However, you do need to accept that your derech is not the only correct way.

    By the way, before you accuse anyone of being narrow-minded, I don’t mean to offend you, but to a certain extent you seem to be a bit narrow-minded. You have a certain view of the “frummer” community that you don’t seem to budge from. You also don’t seem to display any awareness that there is a possibility that anything but you Derech is correct. I don’t mean to insult you or anything, but please realize that sometimes being open-minded is realizing that you may not view things completely objectively.

    People tend to think of being open-minded as being able to accept lower standards. But what about being able to accept higher standards? In other words, is someone who accepts more “modern” views open-minded even if they do not consider anyone “frummer” than them valid? (I know modern doesn’t literally mean less frum but couldn’t think of a better word so please let’s not get into that)


    The Big One,

    I posted clearly why i hold as i do (that as long as in the society you are in the article is considerd refined if it dosnt uncover an ervah it should be muttar for example opend toed shoes or sandals without socks or any other style for that matter) and why i dont see anything in any of the mekoros that contradicts it.

    so far I think no one has posted a single proof that proves me wrong if I am mistaken please show me the post that proves me wrong or post somthing that proves me wrong.

    (please dont post the chazon ish about the lower legs being considerd ervah just like above the knee is as most frum people i know dont pasken like him in most other things such as shaving wich he holds is assur and sukkah wich he holds must be built a certain way and i dont see why we should go like him by this anymore then we go by him on other things)

    Will Hill


    As long as you maintained, the now sourced with mekors, list from post # 1 of this thread, it will certainly be a good start! 🙂


    it is such a rachmonus that all the mizrachi and MO think that tznius is an issue subject to dialouge debate and opinion, this has been their approach to most of yiddishkeit since they’ve been around. every single true gadol biyisroel will confirm that all of the “chumros” mentioned in this thread are absolute halacha, and its about time you realize we can’t revise anything we were told on har sinai. were very close to the time when all your (mis)leaders will see how mistaken they were, so chap ahrain and life the rest of your life al pi torah misinai


    Will Hill,

    Did you not understand what i wrote?

    I dont Think any of those mekoros prove anything other then a woman must dress in a way that is considerd refined for the time and place were she lives (as long as all areas that are ervah are coverd.)


    How do you know That the rabbis who hold of these chumras are the only true “Gadolei yisroel”?


    Intel, I just want to clarify a few things:


    13ikrim, well said!


    SJS you wrote in response to 13ikrim, “After all shivim Panim L’Torah. But just to clarify, can you please explain to me how the jewish women of the past,(for example, those who wandered the Midbar) did so without stockings and shoes, and just wore sandals?

    SJS, I think the women back then wore really long robes, so no part of their bare legs were showing. Maybe their feet were peeking through their sandals.


    I am not touching this one with a ten foot (long) robe!


    “I think the women back then wore really long robes, so no part of their bare legs were showing.”

    How is this different than many of today’s frum women, who wear floor-length skirts which also don’t show any part of their bare legs?

    One of my friends graduated from Bais Yaakov. She told me once that the school appointed a small group of girls to be the “tznius police”. This duty entailed the girls walking around the room during davening and actually lifting up their fellow students’ skirts to check that they were wearing knee-high socks!! I was shocked when I heard this; there are just too many things wrong with that scenario.

    1. Bais Yaakov uniform skirts are so long that they render short socks unnecessary, much less knee-highs.

    2. Lifting up girls’ skirts in the name of modesty is blatantly inappropriate and counterproductive.

    3. Bais Yaakov is a girls’ school, so they shouldn’t need to worry about being seen by men. I don’t actually know if their teachers are female or male or a mixture- but let’s just say that 98% or so of the people in the building are female, so I don’t think there should be such a ridiculously large emphasis on tznius beyond reasonable standards.

    4. This should not occur during davening. Ever.

    I know I’m getting myself into trouble here, but I just felt compelled to respond.


    Ha Ha, funny oomis, thanks for the laugh, it brightened my day.


    My pleasure, Mazal! Only one to a customer… 😉


    There’s a legend that one of the Bais Yakovs in Brooklyn has a set of metal stairs and the “administrators” stand under these stairs for purposes stated by jewishfeminist02.



    Mazal, I’m sure you are right. But people don’t think that way – they just think “socks, mandatory.” Anyway, I don’t really remember where I was going with that – this thread was a long time ago and I am too lazy to reread LOL.

    When I was starting HS, my friend asked me to come with her to get her uniform. I was flabbergasted when they took out a tape measure to measure 4″ below her knees. It nearly went down to her ankles because she is very short. The woman wasn’t happy with that either because long skirts were in style at the time…she debated for a while and then made the skirt shorter. I thought it was a little crazy to measure…wouldn’t seeing where it lay make more sense?


    Since when does tznius mean deliberately wearing out-of-style clothing? Actually, wouldn’t it make more sense to keep up with trends, so that we’d blend in more with everyone else?


    “wouldn’t it make more sense to keep up with trends, so that we’d blend in more with everyone else?”

    who is this “everyone else” you are referring to??


    “Since when does tznius mean deliberately wearing out-of-style clothing? Actually, wouldn’t it make more sense to keep up with trends, so that we’d blend in more with everyone else? “

    I actually think this makes sense. IF the real purpose of tzniusdig dress is to not call attention to ourselves, then how can the garb of certain Jews ever be considered to be tziusdig just by virtue of it covering the whole body. If people are staring wherever they go, how is that any more modest an attire? I think tznius should reflect trends but without going overboard in our mode of dress. We can be both stylish AND modest.


    jewish feminist – Yes, it is not tznius to wear clothing which is outdated to the point that it makes you stick out for wearing outdated clothing. But putting that notion to the side for a moment, if everyone outside is wearing tank tops and shorts, should a girl do that too so that she doesn’t stick out?


    Abx: no, because a tang top and shorts is against halacha. A long skirt is NOT against halacha. It was in style she said.

    2 serious questions I have: 1.I thought the reason why ladies have to wear socks is to cover the ankles. Is that true?? 2. Is it halacha to wear socks?


    I did not get a chance to read through all the pages but was appalled at the lack of respect given towards Halocha. Shaatra- a long skirt may not be against halocha is only when it goes above the ankel, if it is longer than that it is not tznius as it projects a negative image. Outdated clothes are not necesary however care should be taken to avoid purchasing clothes just becausethey are in fashion. Any questions- ceck out Rabbi Falk’s bok on tznius, he clearly defines the parameters of halocha and has a seperate volume with all his mekoros, feel free to ask here though and i can chack it up for u.

    when i get a chance i will go read all the pages ad respond accordingly.

    Boruch Hashem for the leil shabbos learning program Ateres that teaches girls the halochos of tznius, just it is a shame that it is only during winter not year round….


    So now we have a conflict – either women used to wear really long robes in the desert so sandals were allowed OR they wore sandals but had their skirts above their ankles? Hmm..which one is it?

    Broch, with all due respect, wearing a long skirt below your ankles is allowed by many rabbonim. Rabbi Falk may have clearly defined that in his sefer (I never read it), but it doesn’t mean it is universal. In fact, if you start looking back in the sources, ervah and shok are highly debated as to where it is – including areas like the upper arm possibly allowed to be shown! Most people don’t pasken that way, but not everyone paskens that way about long skirts either!

    Shaatra, most people I know hold that wearing socks is a minhag hamakom.

    I am not certain about the ankles, but I was taught its ok to keep them uncovered. My sister does not hold by that. I would ask your LOR for details.


    So maybe the women DID used to wear sandals and later on the rabbis made it halacha. Isn’t that with so many thing?

    SJS: its interesting that you said that because my teacher told me it is AGAINST HALACHA if you do not wear socks… And I never heard that before!


    Shaatra, that may be what her posek told her. Or just what she misunderstood. I learnt long ago that you cannot always just listen to what your elementary/HS/seminary teachers tell you. Ask your Rav as to what you hold.

    Remember, socks are a result of moving north. In the desert, they did NOT wear socks. They wore sandals. So many people refuse to acknowledge this, whether or not the rabbonim added it to the rules.

    Feif Un

    broch, R’ Falk’s sefer is widely viewed as extremely stringent. I’ve heard of schools that won’t keep it in their library for fear of scaring off girls (no, I’m not joking). A lot of chumros in tznius are wrongly viewed as halachah.


    In this generation, with our current unfortunate situation, we need to be vigilant of unacceptable leniency in this area.

    Feif Un

    Joseph, there’s a famous saying: any Rabbi can be machmir. It takes someone who knows his stuff to be meikel.

    What is an “unacceptable leniency”? The halachah is what it is. If it says something is allowed, then it’s allowed. You can choose to be machmir, but ultimately it’s allowed.

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