Why don't the Rabbonim enforce Tznius?

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    thanks y’all for beating me to it. Pba and jbaldy posted my thoughts.

    Toi- if you are sober, please do rewrite that post cuz i lost you midpoint. Interjection summed it up nicely re level of nisayon (thanks!). And if you think the number of untznius isn’t so high, good for you and your success in shmiras ainayim :). And when i find a group of men willing to honestly admit how often they are nichshol…

    Jf2- for sure. Contributes i’m sure to many females i know hating the new tight skinny pants that are in style. Frum women don’t want to have to see men’s curves. And there are lesser known hilchos tznius of men’s dress for that reason.


    Interesting. The government has controlled where we can smoke, using the logic (almost universally accepted!) that your right to smoke ends where my nose begins. Meaning your right cannot be used to PHYSICALLY harm me.

    I propose the same logic as follows:

    YES! You have a right to dress as you wish; but it ends where my sight begins.

    Meaning your ‘right’ cannot be used to SPIRITUALLY’ harm me.


    JF2 and SaysMe: What women think but don’t say. Guys, PAY ATTENTION: you probably won’t hear this again…

    Though my issues with skinny jeans are more with mothers who dress their (chubby) toddlers in them and then expect me to change their kids to and from swimming. Squeezing a little kid into skinny jeans while he still has a whole lot of baby fat and a diaper is not something I would wish on my worst enemy.

    ALMOST as bad as toddler slip-on Converse. GRRRRRrrrrr.


    “jewishf- firstly, i never spoke about that. that wasnt the topic of discussion. we were arguing whehter a mans taava to look is bigger or not than a womans taava to dress inappropriately. agav, this nekuda came up when i was being miva’er the inyan, and from what i heard from a few people, the feelings and thoughts are different even when a woman has a taavah to look.”

    “i never spoke about that”– EXACTLY. You talk about “a man’s nisayon” and “a woman’s nisayon” as if men looking and women dressing were the ONLY nisyonos that exist with regard to tznius. Not true. And I don’t believe for a second that “the feelings and thoughts are different”. Different how? If a man is looking at a woman in an ervah way versus a woman looking at a man in an ervah way, it’s exactly the same taiva. I don’t understand. Obviously if it gets to the point of thinking “I sure wish I could do xyz with this person” the xyz part is different because of biology. But what relevance does that have to anything at all?

    I am not trying to pick on you specifically. This is a widespread attitude that people have and it drives me crazy.


    jewishfeminist2: the issur is on shmiras habris so, in regards to this taava it is irrelevant what thoughts a woman has when she looks at a man. Your argument is in a non-halachic sense which is not the discussion here.


    jewsihf-ok, once we’re sure its my caveman attitude, I can respond in kind. my post was very clear. The discussion at hand was unconcerned with a different nisayon. what wasnt clear? a woman nisayon to dress inappropriately and her nisayon to look are two different nisyonos. we are comparing the frequency of each gendewr falling to that specific nisayon.

    “we were arguing whehter a mans taava to look is bigger or not than a womans taava to dress inappropriately…”

    that is the discussion. if you want we can argue if wimmin have a bigger taava for treif, i dont mind.

    “Obviously if it gets to the point…” there lies the difference. that is a mans starting point. its not your fault you dont get it.

    truth is, i think its really well known. you know the line in the goyish articles,”why is it always about BLANK?” there, again is the difference. wimmin.


    Realist,your logic is flawed. You can’t dictate that all women adhere to your standard of tznius


    Men do tend to be more visual by nature than women. It’s more of a man’s nature to lust after his eyes than a woman. Hence the restrictions and gedarim placed on men.


    Realist, your reasoning excises a whole mitzvah from the Torah. Torah instructs us men not to let our eyes stray. Your logic has it that we have no such obligation; instead, we’re entitled to a public domain that’s been cleansed of what we’re not supposed to see.

    I’d rather do it the Torah way.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    Naftush, you’ve just excised an entire mitzvah from the Torah with your “logic”. I guess you don’t like lifnei iver.

    I’d prefer the Torah’s way, in which we are commanded to withstand temptation, and also prohibited from presenting others with temptation.

    The two are by no means mutually exclusive.



    And yours does as well.

    You have to admit that the straying eyes admonition of ‘V’lo sasuru’ notwithstanding, any woman who is dressed immodestly is definitely oiver the lav of ‘Lifnei eevair’!


    I know it’s off topic but, writersoul, yes! What are those parents thinking? Or a 5 year old in my class who can’t go to the bathroom himself because his skinny jeans are so tight that he has accidents!


    MorahRach: I KNOW, RIGHT? Baruch Hashem I’m not doing it this year, but that was literally the worst part of my day last year. I had one camper who wore them EVERY DAY.

    And the slip-on Converse and Lelli-Kellis? After a while, I just gave up and bought a shoehorn. (It was, unfortunately, too big.)

    Sorry, but do that kid’s parents have any idea that he can’t use the bathroom by himself with those pants? Because that is SICK. I mean, my kids had diapers, so it was all on me, but when he’s actually supposed to be able to do it himself but he can’t because of his clothes…


    DY and Realist, thank you for challenging my comment; this is how I grow. I defend the comment on two grounds. First, an immodestly dressed woman may indeed create a mikhshol and thereby commit an ‘avera, but she hasn’t drawn me into an ‘avera of my own just by being in the street. I must observe lo taturu. Second, connecting this with lifne ‘iver and asking “the rabbis” to enforce tzniut on those grounds leads to several impossibilities. The dinim of lifne ‘iver broaden the prohibition beyond tzniut issues and also personalize it: we are enjoined against placing stumbling blocks, generally, in each other’s path, individually. For some of us, even modestly dressed women are a mikhshol. For others, guess what, the same gender is a mikhshol. Yet others are drawn to shopping malls until they endanger their families’ parnassa. For me, salty carbohydrates are a mikhshol that verges on pikuah nefesh. None of these people can demand the removal of his/her personal mikhshol from the public domain, least of all with enforcement by “the rabbis.”


    DY & Realist – You’re actually transgressing Lifnei Iver on yourself by going outside without blinders on. The reason the wording is “lifnei iver” is to teach us specifically in this instance that you should make yourself an Iver when it comes to chas vishalom seeing something inappropriate, make yourself unable to see and thereby unable to be nichshal.

    See, I can make up a halacha or a drush just like you can!


    Bottom line. Worry about yourself, not what someone else is or isnt doing. This means, speak act and dress appropriately and keep your eyes focused where they should be. This is true of both men and women.


    I’m a Sephardi Jew who holds by Hacham Ovadiah Yosef Shlit”a, and I’m sure you’re all familiar with his psak regarding wigs. When I (naively) asked my Rebbi before starting shidduchim if I should cancel a shidduch if she told me she wanted to wear a wig, he replied “women work much differently than men do. To them, beauty is a major part of their lives, if a woman doesn’t feel beautiful, it will affect her greatly. Just because you take on certain chumros as din, doesn’t mean you should impose them on others”. The same can be applied to other aspects of tznius as well. Although I do agree that some of the ways that these “religious” women dress is borderline tznius, (some even beyond that border) we can’t impose anything on them. We should try to teach them the importance of tznius, and looking beautiful FOR THEIR HUSBANDS, but have to go about it the right way. (Also, it’s not just length that’s the issue, I’ve seen unfortunately women with skirts down to their ankles, but were denim skirts so tight, that it didn’t leave much to the imagination R’L)


    MCP- except they are coming from understanding the sugya and you are being megale ponim. theres the chiluk.


    “jewishfeminist2: the issur is on shmiras habris so, in regards to this taava it is irrelevant what thoughts a woman has when she looks at a man.”

    I don’t understand you. Sotah is also an issur.



    “jewishfeminist2: the issur is on shmiras habris so, in regards to this taava it is irrelevant what thoughts a woman has when she looks at a man.”

    you are simply incorrect. women have an issur of lo sasuru just as much as a man and it has nothing to do with shmiras habris. those are two separate inyanim. The issue of tznius similarly is not just about lo sasuru or taiva. Even if you are by yourself there is a chiyuv for both men and women to be properly covered.

    would post some links to hebrewbooks.org but there is a thread on this in the coffee room already. http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/lo-taturu-and-women


    Just saying the new style that men have of very tight pants that also leaves nothing to imagination is held to be assur by the same gedolim who hold 4 inches to be asser.


    frum girl 101: Yeah, but everyone knows it’s only shirt color and head covering that really matters.


    In shules, women can stare at men but men cannot stare at women. Obviously, there is a difference between men and women with regards to how they become attracted to the opposite gender.


    The reason why many shuls are set up with one-way glass mechitzas (I assume this is what you are referring to) is that all the action is on the men’s side. In shuls that have a setup where the women are so blocked off that they can barely see or hear anything, I get frustrated. I mean really, if I’m not part of the tzibbur to the extent that I can’t even keep track of what they’re doing over there, what’s the point? Why not just stay home and daven b’yechida? This has nothing whatsoever to do with checking out the men. I bet if the tables were turned and women led everything and men had to sit in the women’s section, they’d also complain that they couldn’t see, and not as a pretext for staring at our bodies.


    “Why not just stay home and daven b’yechida?”

    So now you are saying that the fact that you can’t see everything as well when you can daven at home perfectly well instead is reason to be over an issur deoreisa of lo sasuru? If the action was reversed, it would be a kol isha problem, yet another example of how men and women are attracted differently. A male visual machshava is much faster.


    jfem- I heard fromm my wife and sisters that on simchas torah the ONLY thing theyre doing for a couple of hours is watching the men. not davening as part of a tzibbur. and there must be a reason why this idea is not frowned upon, even in yeshivish circles, but you can bet it would never happen the other way around.


    To the people saying “Lifnei Iveir”, I just want to point out that R’ Moshe doesn’t agree. He says (it’s the last paragraph of CM 2:11 or 2:12, I think) that they only thing a woman dressed untzniusly is doing wrong is an Issur Asei of being Tznius. So I have no idea why there is no Lifnei Iveir, but apparently there isn’t.


    migoo, it’s not lo sasuru because we are not looking at the men to look at the men. It’s as if you would say that women can’t attend baseball games because of lo sasuru. Shuls would not be set up the way they are if it were really an issur d’oraisa. And by the way, a man singing can be ervah too (think Frank Sinatra, Elvis, and other crooners). I am not arguing with the halacha, just saying that it’s not always so simple and one must be careful. The “spirit of the halacha” is also a consideration.

    Toi, that is exactly why I daven at a shul that lets women dance (on our own side, out of sight of the men, thank you very much). I could never stand around watching the men and twiddling my thumbs. Of course it would not happen the other way around, and of course men and women are different and have different attractions. My point is that we are less different than one might think, and furthermore that tznius applies to men as well. I think it is sad that we continue to pile chumra upon chumra on the women with regard to tznius while completely ignoring the men.


    “it’s not lo sasuru because we are not looking at the men to look at the men.”

    Yes, and if a man looked at a woman “not in order to look at a woman” it would still be assurm, which proves me point. If a man went to a cheerleaders game, that would be a big problem.

    “I am not arguing with the halacha” “The “spirit of the halacha” is also a consideration.”

    Yes it is. I thought this was an halachic issue we were discussing. I think it is great that you are concerned with the spirit of the halacha.


    I’m not going to try to go through all the posts here. The one thing I’d like to suggest is that everyone try to look at accounts written by people, especially women, who’ve had near death experiences and see what they learned about tznius issues during their experiences in the next world, which is where we’ll all be spending eternity. There’s one by a Toldos Aharon woman from about 25 years ago, who lived by TA standards and still had a hair-raising time. Look at three things and you won’t do aveiros … before Whom you will inevitably (without any possibility of escape) have to give a din v’cheshbon. True, I should pay attention to this myself.



    I do not believe that we institute laws of tzniut(or of any halachic issue) because of a supposed near death experience. Lo B’shamayim Hi.



    As I said before to another poster I have no idea where you got the idea of the lo sasuru being just by a man from. Additionally the reason men are separated by a mechitza from women is a dirabanan according to everyone but rav moshe zatzal. And R’ Moshe’s shita wont help your cause for obvious reasons. There is a concept of kol ish according to rav yehuda hachasid and the bach held that kol isha was only by a married woman! Assuming that the issur of kol has anything to do with looking is a bad assumption as it seems that many poskim did not hold that way. Basically your whole house of cards is based on a lot of halachically faulty assumptions.


    por, I’m glad we don’t have the same Judaism. My Hashem is pretty understanding and pretty big on the rachmanus thing.

    jfem: What aspects of tznius would you like to impose on men? I’m genuinely curious, I’ve thought about this and I can’t think of what would be made more machmir? (For the record, I’m not big on the way tznius is dealt with in the frum community.)


    migoo, what is a “cheerleaders’ game”? I assume you mean if a man looked at cheerleaders at a football game?

    Anyway, your point makes no sense. Cheerleaders by definition are ervah. Never mind that they are wearing almost no clothing…they dance and jump around to be looked at. THEY are the show. Versus baseball, which is not about the men’s bodies per se but the bases, the runs, the score, the team, etc. Completely different (and they’re covered up– now maybe you could argue that a woman shouldn’t watch a basketball game because the men are dressed in skimpy outfits, but that’s a different story).

    We are discussing a halachic issue. When I say I am not arguing with the halacha, what I mean is that I’m not trying to say that the halacha is wrong. I just think people today interpret and apply it too stringently.



    my rosh yeshiva was very against guys wearing shorts.


    “Bottom line. Worry about yourself, not what someone else is or isn’t doing.” – apushatayid

    End of thread.


    Tznius definitely causes much stimulated discussion.

    Bottom line, tznius is not only halacha, nothing is. A jew can be a person who strictly adheres to exact halacha guidelines and be considered a menuval bereshis hatorah and go straight to hell. In fact, the consencus is that the bais hamikdash was destroyed because of a lack of lifnim mesharis hadin. So even if 4 inches isnt halacha, which many prominent Poskim publicly state, doesnt matter. Anyway, can anyone list a Rav that doesnt suggest this? Didnt think so. Yes, its very hard to keep (why, is another discussion for itself. Is it the Yetzer Hara? Is it because so many people suffer from low-self -esteem that cause women to want to stick out and cause people to gaze at them? Possible. I think if we all realized our self-worth and that every positive action of ours has an unbelievable affect on so many levels, including heavenly spheres, and in turn, earth, we would be willing to raise out standards in all areas. May we all grow together.


    “Anyway, can anyone list a Rav that doesnt suggest this?”

    Mine. He deals with individuals of the kehilla, as individuals of the kehilla. He doesnt issue cookie cutter guidelines or advice to anyone. To one he might suggest the 4 inch rule, to another he might suggest 6, while yet another he may make no suggestion at all. He works with everyone on their own level.

    I guess the “how to halacha books” are for those who do not have a Rav. Baruch Hashem, my family has one.


    I’m not sure I understand. Your Rabbi has different standards for different people? How does he decide? Sounds like a dangerous way to operate. Feel free to say the Rabbi’s name, always strengthens whatever one is trying to say. I have heard from many Poskim the importance of 4 inches, the reasoning makes abundant sense. I personally heard it from Rav Forsheimer of Lakewood. “personalizing’ our religion has never worked.


    He probably decides based on what each person is ready to accept. Force 4 inches onto some women and it will push them off the derech. For those, it’s better to leave 4 inches as an ideal to aspire to when they are ready, and only then. I assume that this rav only makes these suggestions to women he knows well (otherwise he would have no idea of when they are ready).

    I know a rav who works with baalei teshuva on a regular basis. He kashered one man’s kitchen and the guy was ready to totally accept kashrus, but the rav actually said it was ASSUR for him to take it on all at once. He said to him, right now you’re crawling. I am kashering your kitchen and I expect you to keep it kosher, but I also expect you to eat anything you want outside of your house. He knew that despite this man’s initial enthusiasm, if he were to try to go from completely treif to completely kosher all at once it would be too overwhelming. Therefore he insisted on baby steps. I heard this story many years ago and that quote “right now you’re crawling” has stayed with me and helped me through a lot of tough times.

    gr8 masmid

    Before you lot start disseminating your da’as hedyot (no offense), let’s get clear the da’as Torah.

    For more info as well as a beautiful explanation and appreciation of the value and importance of tzenius, see sefer Oz V’hadar Levushah, in English, by HRH”G Rav Falk SHLIT”A from Gateshead, England, with whom I am zoche to have a strong kesher.

    There are two ‘dinim’ here, the first of which I hope is irrelevant to all of us; to protect ourselves from being influenced by the conduct of parutzim/os who are beyond the point of no return. In the times of the Sanhedrin, someone who did a serious aveirah in this field was thrown off a building / cliff, or had molten lead poured down their throats, etc. – uvi’arta hara mikirbecha. Now, of course, this mode of enforcement of that which is correct, is wrong, as is any other violent punishment, as we don’t unfortunately have a sanhedrin of mumchin. But the concept of taking extreme measures under the guidance of da’as Torah to ensure no breach of tzenius standards is certainly there.

    To take any steps in this direction, however, without the clear directives of da’as Torah is, as the outbursts in Beit Shemesh about a year ago showed, destructive at best and suicidal both physically and spiritually at worst, as the non-conformists will davka be more peritzosdik just to get back.

    The second din is to try to be mekarev those members of Klal Yisrael who have unfortunately fallen through, and try to bring them back through education and love and genuine appreciation of who they are and their status as children of HKB”H. Great care must be taken by those who embark on this route so as to not expose themselves to more than is justifiable, and da’as Torah, as ever, must be sought in each individual case, as each case must be judged on its own merits.

    The bottom line is, the current situation is far from ideal, and da’as Torah must be sought to find out which practical steps, if any, should be taken, and which form those steps should take.


    Therapist – (and wouldn’t a true therapist acknowledge that there is not a one size fits all aspect to Judaism?) of course there are different standards for different people. Do we not say “chanoch lanaar al pi darko?”

    A smart and intuitive rov knows that not every answer fits to every situation, even when the situation seems identical to another. That’s why the same rov can give the same person two different piskei halacha on the same shailah that occurs more than once. Or gives one p’sak to one person and the opposite p’sak to another ON THE SAME INYAN.

    One girl might find it more palatable to wear a skirt that meets the absolute bare minimal requirements for tznius. She is following the halacha. Another girl might be more comfortable wearing a skirt four inches below her knees. She is following the halacha. Another might need it to be a couple of inches longer, in order to feel she is conforming to proper standards. They are EACH following the halacha. Whatever the Rov you mentioned feels personally (and he, too is personalizing our religion by making that statement), there are shivim panim L’Torah, and other halachic viewpoints that are considered valid. And that is why there cannot be a Tznius police type rabbinic enforcement, because there will never be a complete consensus in this hot-button issue. Each rov in his own Shul or Yeshivah has the authority to expect a level that conforms to his hashkafa. But as each rov has his own personal hashkafa, there cannot be, as I said, a one size fits all philosophy. As long as the minimum standard is being met (not saying that is the ideal situation), the girls are being tzniusdig. You may disagree (feel free), but thinking otherwise, is how divisiveness occurs. Right now, I am thinking achdus would be a nice thing in klal Yisroel.


    “I’m not sure I understand. Your Rabbi has different standards for different people?”

    No, he has one standard. The halacha as he learned it from his Rav.

    You really need to get close to a Rav. Perhaps then you will understand.


    “personalizing’ our religion has never worked.”

    The only way to give good advice, is to personalize it. 4 inches is a very good suggestion to ensure one is properly covered at all times in all situations. I do not deny that. However, it is just that, a very practical suggestion. It is NOT halacha, and a Rav must use his seichel when to give certain advice and suggest certain things, and when not. I am not him, and I do not claim to be inside his head to know what motivates him to advise certain things, to whom and when. Regarding your knowledge of his name, that is largely irrelevent to this discussion since you have obviously been guided by someone else to use the 4 inch rule. I am not looking to offer you guidance or to disagree with the advice you were given, that is for your Rav, Husband or father as the case may be.


    Sam2: Lots of men walk miles in women’s shoes. You can see them at any Gay Pride parade.


    “see sefer Oz V’hadar Levushah, in English, by HRH”G Rav Falk SHLIT”A from Gateshead, England”

    One might also want to review Halichos Bas Yisroel by Rav Yitzchak Yaackov Fuchs. Whatever guide you do read, the most important thing is, when in doubt, ASK YOUR OWN QUESTIONS TO YOUR OWN RAV.


    If you really want to know why rabbonim do not actively enforce tznius, ask them.


    apushatayid +1

    fully agree with everything you said. guides were never meant to take the place of a rav or be the final say. halachic guides in general tend to be more machmir so people don’t get confused and so that the author isnt nichshol anyone.


    I can’t answer about the OP’s rabbi, but the rabbonim in my town certainly enforce tznius halachos with the rabbim no less than they enforce kashrus halachos, shatnes halachos and Shabbos halachos.


    I do have to say that I enjoy the fact that this discussion is taking place with intelligence and Seichal. Let’s keep in mind that 4 inches is only one facet of Tznius. Wearing tight or extremely showy clothing would appear to also be a lack of tznius. I think we can all agree that whatever we follow, we should respect one another. The practice that some women have of going over to another woman and “bashing ” her, would appear to be much more serious than one inch here or there. To answer the more direct question of “why dont the rabbanim enforce tznius”, this is a good question. Perhaps they dont have the guts or are afraid for their jobs. One answer may be for a Rav to have a lifetime contract to feel secure.

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