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Author:  anon
E-mail:  not available
Date:  9/7/2004 12:02:00 AM
Subject:  tznius info
Message:  I have a tremedous problem regarding a female (frum from birth) in regard to matters of tznius. Where can I possibly find either from the Torah, or a halachichally reputable source as to why women should wear dresses covering the knees and sleeves till at least and /or covering the elbows and amount of hair allowed to be shown. The skirt part covering the knees more or less the female that is in question generally on her own understands, however the length of sleeves and hair showing is more of a problem.
( She has also questioned a Sheitel or any hair covering itself in todays society, as back when the laws were written all women covered their hair when going out. Obviously today in society as a whole, women generally do not cover their hair when going out. However, she does cover her hair due to the fact that in various sources a womens uncovered hair is reffered to as Erva and therefore covers her hair.)

The woman in question attended a school where the Rabbonim and Rebbitzens wrongly presented many things (Tznius matters included) as Din(Halachic rule) rather then Minhag or societal preference and now she is questioning everything. As a Frum person she is willing to conform to Halacha and societal norms (she knows that generally conforming to societal norms of dress is part of being Tznius)however she is in complete question of everything. I am worried as to what will be with her in the future.

Regading the aformentioned questions of Tznius (skirt length hair showing sleeve length...)she explained that she will have no question if told from a reputable source. Mind you as she has a full yeshiva education and is an ffb., on her own she decided that growing nails excessivelly long should be considered non-tznius and immodest as it is written in the Torah that the Bnos Moav used their long nails in thier effort to lure men as an aid to immodesty. So as you see she is definetly willing, however her belief in daas Rabonim at least of the local variety has taken a severe hit and with it her basic trust of Rabonim. This reason is why I must have detailed answers especially regarding sleeve and skirt length. (*As she was finishing school, She found out that her teachers went to a well known halachic authority seeking guidelines for Tznius to teach the girls in the school and suggested to the Rav the guidelines they (teachers) had in mind. He was of course in agreement with thier guidelines however when presenting these recommendations for Tznius to the students, they presented their guidelines as a Halachic psak for Tznius from this well known chashuv Rav. Finding this out, how her teachers could do this and making her think that this was the only Halachichally acceptable way to dress, was one of the main sources of her distrust in basic rabbinic authority.)
Reply:  The rest of the four chalakim of Shulchan Aruch besides Hilchos Tznius she understands? If she has a problem accepting what her teachers told her (I could understand where she is coming from) B”H there are many Rabbonim out there. She doesn’t have to follow her teachers, who she feels were misleading. This problem of treating Minhagim and Halachos as equal, is widespread. It has caused many a child to question. There are some Minhagim that are as chamur as Halacha, but it is not a rule.
As we say all the time on this website, a person’s chiyuv on this world is to follow the Torah. This can only be done with the direction of a qualified Rov. I suppose she’s married, you mentioned something about covering hair. They should decide on a Rov that they will follow, both L’kula and L’chumra. So that when they go after 120 to Hashem, They can say, “we followed Rabbi _______, please ask him why we did _______. First of all, it is the best feeling, because you are always comfortable in life. You never have to second guess yourself, “am I doing the right thing?”.
The most important rule in such situations, is to validate her feelings and not demean her for these feelings and thoughts. She feels uncomfortable already with this, because she feels she is pushing away what she was taught. Any time a person pushes away their childhood lessons, it is traumatic. Her thoughts and questions are legitimate. AND, there are legitimate answers to them. She needs to find the right person to talk to and she will feel very upbeat once she comes to that realization.
I’d like to add this small explanation (not an excuse) for the schools. A school is in tough predicament when teaching any Halachos. The best way to deal with it, is to use one Rov for everything the school teaches and gives tests on. BUT, they must tell the students that “you may do things differently at home, because your parents follow a different Rov. Under no circumstance are we saying that what you do at home is wrong, but for school work you must know what we teach and take tests.” This is part of the responsibility of the schools to educate the students, which includes the fact that every Rov is correct in his Psakim. “elu vaelu divrei Elohim chaim”.
I wish you alot of Hatzlacha in helping this woman through her inner battles. She sounds like she wants to do the right thing. My Father wrote in one of his Teshuvos, that helping a person in this type of situation, is comparable to Pidyon Shevuyim (redeeming a captive) which is one of the biggest Mitzvos a person can do. Tizku L'mitzvos

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