Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Is It Tzniyus To Talk About Tzniyus?

I received an email about a recent post [from the diary of my trip] where a young woman expressed tremendous anguish at my use of language. I was talking about a certain breach of tniyus that I witnessed and she felt profoundly hurt reading my description.

She also found it offensive that I said that a woman dressed immodestly is causing men to sin. She and her friends are working hard to be more tzniyus-dik and it hurts to be told that they are causing other people to sin. 

I responded to her privately but was afraid that others were similarly hurt and didn't express it. So here is my response [rebuttal?]:


To you and to anyone I might have offended. That was not my intention but I take full responsibility. There is a tendency people have to blame the victim for being offended with a nusach of "you are being hyper-sensitive" or other accusative tones. I will have none of that. If I hurt - I am sorry. Sorry. And sorry again. If you are working to become more tznua then you are my "Rebbe[tzin]". You are greater than I am and I have much to learn from you.

This young lady made one additional point: Maybe it isn't tniyus-dik to comment on the lack of tzniyus?

Great point.

I have thought about this much over the years but there is a passage from Rav Aharon Kotler in one place and Rav Hutner in another, who exhort people to talk about tzniyus in order to combat the pritzus that reigns supreme in our universe.   

There are countless passages in sefarim written by the holiest people that go into great detail about tzniyus, shmiras einayim, pgam habris, clothing styles, shapes and sizes etc. etc. 

The yesod - foundation - of being a Jew is to be holy. To be holy is to be careful in matters of tzniyus [see - for one example of ten million - Rashi on the pasuk קדושים תהיו]. This applies to men and women alike, each with their own difficulties and tests. 

I am again profoundly sorry and anyone can feel free to contact me [alchehrm@gmail.com] and I will happily apologize personally. To hurt the feelings of a Bas Yisrael is to hurt the feelings of the שכינה, kviyachol [see Sanhedrin 37].