Wednesday, July 03, 2013

On Modesty

Two articles I came across recently about tzniut that resonated with me:

Rabbi Eliyahu Fink's discussion of tzniut. 

There are two Judaisms. There is the Judaism between Jew and God and there is the Judaism between Jew and fellow Jew. They are not always the same thing. 
Tznius is a good example of this. One can be dressed very respectfully, modestly, and Godly but still not follow the laws of tznius as they are practiced in orthodox Judaism today. Conversely, one can follow the letter of the law of tznius and be the complete opposite of Godly. We all know this is true. ... 
In our hearts we must know that in theory our goal is to be Godly in a way that is not intended nor should it ever be interpreted as a way to control women, burden women with the brunt of dealing with man's animalism, some new-agey feminist form of liberation, or the fundamental way women serve God.

And a blog post my Mayim Bialik about finding an Emmys dress (it's an old post, but I just found it).

If I can't cover all the way to the elbow this year, God help me I will do it next year. And while we're on the topic of God, I don't think God will strike me down for not covering my left arm up. My dedication to a life of tznius gives me structure, makes me feel protected in a world that often violates, and allows me to have control over who sees what part of me, when, and how. And I am grateful to the God of my understanding for allowing me to grow slowly, gently, and gracefully.

I like that in both of these there is a sense that being tzanua is not merely nor just about following rules that dictate exactly what to cover and that it is not just for women nor is it how Jewish women should be defined. I also like the recognition that God is not measuring hemlines and collars, even if our peers are, that God is not in the business of smiting people for not being perfect, and that our practice of tzniut can evolve.


At 7/3/13, 8:25 AM, Blogger Princess Lea said...

Why is it that tznius gets blown out of proportion as the be-all and end-all of Judaism, when there are plenty of other commandments people struggle with yet no one worries about getting hit by lightning if one is lax in those areas?

After all, where is it written in the Torah that one's elbow has to be covered? But when it comes to being shomer Shabbos plenty of us has had "incidences"?

At 7/3/13, 9:05 AM, Blogger FrumGeek said...

I think its because tznius more than anything is glaringly obvious to even the casual looker.


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