Monday, May 02, 2005

צניעות vs. Tzni'es

The barraitha (בַּרַּיְיתָא) towards the bottom of 62a, איזהו צנוע? זה הנפנה בלילה במקום שנפנה ביום, teaches us something about a rabbinic view towards צניעות. This view considers צניעות to be the practice of the same behavior (at least with regard to one issue) in both public and private situations, both when people are looking and when people are not. Whether or not this is how we, as moderns, view צניעות, it is certainly important for us to familiarize ourselves with this rabbinic view.

Certainly, this is different from the view often found in contemporary Orthodoxy, that צניעות is only concerned with the way that women dress. In many cases, this latter view can lead to separate dress codes for public and private situations, or even to stringent dress codes for public situations combined with no rules at all in private situations. How many Orthodox women out there make sure to cover all sorts of parts of their bodies, and define צניעות in terms of inches and milimeters, while sleeping around in the privacy of יִחוּד, generally while in the status of נִדּוֹת! And how many men are equally involved in this hypocrisy, whether implicitly, as rabbis who encourage the "milimeter" view of צניעות, or explicitly, as Don Juans!

האידנא תמניא יומין לעוּמרא, דהיינו שבתא חדא ויומא חד


At Sunday, 08 May, 2005, Blogger Zalman said...


That's quite a charge against Orthodox women. How do you know this is true? I think tzniyut in dress goes hand-in-hand with the type of activity you describe. I think it is usually the "orthodox" women who wear short pants and sleeves who are sleeping around, ch"v.

At Tuesday, 10 May, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Better not to make assumptions about what people do behind closed doors. The day someone comes up to you and says, "Hello, rabotai, I have multiple partners and they/I do not go to the mikveh," that's the day you know about that person's private life.

And even then there is no extrapolating from the person making the announcement to anyone else.

Only HKB"H is omniscient. So let HKB"H see and decide. Who are we?

At Friday, 13 May, 2005, Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

I think it is usually the "orthodox" women who wear short pants and sleeves who are sleeping around, ch"v.

לאו דוקא. I may be guilty of making assumptions myself (though based on private information about individuals whom I happen to know), but you are just as guilty as I. Note that you wrote I think it is..., thus showing that you don't know, either.

Both you and I are pointing at the community that we are not, and claiming that it is full of בועלי נדות and/or otherwise promiscuous people. Online, one can say anything with impunity from the community. But do we have impunity from Haqqadhosh Barukh Hu?

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