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I heard a chasuv rosh yeshiva in E”Y say that tznius is for women like what Torah is for men. Torah is not the end all be all, but then again, it kind of is actually. Tznius is not “just a woman’s mitzvah” like lighting Shabbos candles is, it’s much bigger than that. And it should be treated as such.
It’s hard for us women to get into a halachic/gemaric discussion and debate, because we’re just not qualified, but, in my humble opinion, that is not how women tend to approach mitzvos anyway, particularly the mitzvah of tznius. How much of tznius is actually halacha anyway? Barely any of it. Cover yourself, no pants, nothing too tight. And all the rest is up to the interpretation of each woman. Tznius is not about how important the gemara says it is, it’s about the sensitivities and *personal* feelings toward the mitzvah, and respecting yourself as a princess of Hashem. We don’t look at these theoretical gemara concepts in order to figure out our view on the subject, as men might, we look at them in order to get chizuk and the desire to grow in our tznius. So in that vein, if one reliable person tells me that tznius is a crazy powerful mitzvah that can have a huge effect on the world on the klal and individual levels (and conversely hurt it if not abided by), I’ll take that and use it in my life to help me in my everyday tznius. Just like there can be more than one set of “al shlosha dvarim haolam omed”, the fact that one idea might seem to contradict another does not mean they can’t both be 100% true. You can’t go wrong when trying to pump up tznius and make it look amazingly special, but you can go wrong trying to go the other way. In my unlearned woman’s opinion, at least.
That’s the thing with tznius – although it is in place partly because of men, there is a whole “self” aspect in its own right. Women don’t have to be tznius just so they don’t provoke men, they have to be tznius because that’s what the essence of a woman is and it’s through tznius that a Jewish woman can become the bas melech she is. It shouldn’t matter whether or not men are around; if zumba makes you move your body in ways that aren’t tznius you should think twice about doing it. It’s that simple.
walking/running is not untznius
a number of other exercise machines are also not untznius
There are other types of dance that are also not untznius but can still break a sweat
I’d like to add that it’s very possible that not all zumba dances are untznius. It probably depends on the instructor. But I think as a general rule, *especially* if it’s a non-Jewish class, there will be some less-than-tznius moves there.
It’s all sensitivities in the end, for each woman on her own level, but it bothers me when people want to deny that those sensitivities should even exist whatsoever. For some people, zumba may be a step up on their tznius ladder, but that doesn’t mean that it in essence must be perfect and ideal.
Imaofthree – the moves
Women are a BIG deal. Tznius is a BIG deal. I think that’s all WIY’s been trying to say.
If we women could only manage to take that to heart and embrace the huge achrayus and responsibility we hold with being endowed with the mitzvah of tznius rather than jumping on people who try to point it out to us, I do believe this world would be a better place.
Wonderful points. It’s definitely worth being said and worth being read. How we think and how we perceive situations can have a much greater effect on our actions than any yetzer hara is willing to admit. Hopefully by keeping others in mind and remembering to look at the world perceptively rather than egotistically we can all make ourselves into better Jews. Thanks so much for sharing MiddlePath. It’s a lesson I’m glad I was reminded of.
Sounds like you have a lot to get off your chest and put out to the world. It’s great that you have this ability to write in a way that makes people want to read, and that you have been able to sum up your life experiences in a way that you can extract lessons and meaningful ideas from them. It must be somewhat taxing wondering about how your life story and your thoughts about it will be received by the public. I hope all goes well for you! I wish you much hatzlacha, and strength if it doesn’t go as well as you’d have liked. Personally I’d read the book.
MiddlePath: Would love to hear it, if you’d like to share it.October 27, 2011 5:02 pm at 5:02 pm in reply to: My $21000 sacrifice to get my daughter out of her misery #822089
Forgive me for being so naiive, but what was so terrible that would constitute “saving” her from it? Was the school beneath her and therefore bringing her down? Or was it Israel itself that she had her issues with (which is why you’re asking about local options)?
Arig – there is no such thing as having an E”Y experience in NY. E”Y is E”Y and NY is NY. There’s a reason girls frum out so much in seminary – Yerushalayim is special, and it has the ability to bring people to levels they’d never see themselves at before. NY doesn’t have that special power, and therefore no matter how good the school is, it can’t give the girls what they can get if they’d be living in E”Y. It’s just not going to happen.
And as you admitted yourself – it’s not only your daughter. This process is normal. I think only a select few love it in the beginning. The transition is hard in the beginning and everyone has their issues and their doubts/regrets, but all that’s worth how you feel at the end, after how much you’ve gained from the year. It’s a couple initial months of being unhappy, and then the rest of the time is an uforgettable and life-changing experience. You can only tell her “I told you so” if she still this unhappy at the end. Because honestly she seems right on schedule as of now.
No problem, thought you deserved some backup, as I didn’t see any defending or condoning in what you were saying, just explaining/describing, which isn’t the same thing.
Of course not. But that’s what many atheists think. Their beliefs are irrational but it’s important to understand how they rationalize them, because only then can you even try to have a conversation with them about it. If you can’t even see where they’re coming from you’ll never be able to convince them of anything.
I know how hard it can be to daven. For me the hardest part is (a) allocating that looming amount of time to it and (b) actually getting yourself up out of that warm cozy bed to do it.
So I suggest you try something like this: Decide that from now on, you’re going to say Shma in the morning. That’s all you have to do. It’s short, so you don’t have to convince yourself to dedicate time to it, and you can also do it while sitting, so you can technically just sit up and say it at the edge of your bed in your pajamas. Just saying Shma should be a way to do it without that intimidation davening can have. You don’t even have to wake up early. Just tell yourself that that much you can do, that that much you really want to try to do, and set your mind to it. Just Shma. But while you’re saying it, if you feel you can, try thinking about the different kavanos you’re supposed to have – with Hashem meaning rachamim, as well as adnus and haya hove v’yihiye, and Elokeinu meaning din, and echad meaning those two coming together, and all the other myriad of things echad can mean (being all-encompassing, being all-important, etc.) Put real thought into it. The important thing is for you to feel that you’re doing something meaningful, and when you understand what you’re saying you can help it become meaningful. And hopefully, if you do this for long enough, you can train/bring your mind to be more open to the thought of davening, and then maybe you can start taking on more of the davening at some later point.
The idea is not to push yourself. Hopefully just saying Shma will not be intimidating enough and you’ll be able to carry through with it. You do want to daven. It’s not that you don’t. You tried to set your alarm to get yourself to do it, so you really are trying. But trying to force yourself to just get up and daven after so many years of not davening is just too huge of a jump. You have to ease into it slowly. Ease into it, get yourself accustomed to what it’s like again, and once you can see (vs just imagine) that davening really isn’t so bad, only then can you attempt to do more. But for now, WHATEVER you do is AMAZING. Don’t let your yetzer hara talk you into an all-or-nothing mentality, because as you’ve seen yourself, that way you end up with the “nothing”.
I hope this helped a bit, good luck!