Friday, August 24, 2007

On Tzniut

This irritated me so I thought I'd see if I could develop it into a worthwhile rant.

Brief disclaimer; basically none of this is directed at Yoni, since he's already made it quite clear that he defers to females in this area.

To begin, I will recount an anecdote. When I was in high school, we used to have bnei bayit at our house almost every shabbat for meals. Basically family friends, people we grew up with. People who enjoyed arguing, because, in case any of you have missed this, it's kind of an olympic sport in my house. I remember in particular one conversation about tzniut, involving one of these bnei bayit, a well-intentioned male who, it deserves mention, has nothing but respect for womenkind; but although his intentions were clearly respectful, they were also slightly misguided, and I remember saying, essentially, "Dude, how many classes have you had on the subject? How many lectures by guest speakers? How many sources have you read? How many 'informal casual discussions' with teachers? Over the course of your entire education?" He'd maybe had a class (read: single class period), heard a speaker, had a conversation or two with his rabbi. And I said "Yeah, I've had about four to five of each of those things per year since sixth grade, possibly earlier. And we're not even going into summer camp shaiur and extracurricular chugim stuff." Yeah, also this was pre-seminary. (Not to mention, we're (us females) the ones who shop for clothing, and wear the clothing, so we know things like what's available, what kind of stuff looks like what on our bodies, things abut drape and cut and material, etc, which most guys don't know or care about bichlal(excepting possibly Yoni ;))And he said "Huh; ok, so maybe you know a bit more about it than I do."

And that's kind of my point. You guys think you know what you're talking abut? Trust me, we do. At least, those of us with any background in the religous educational system. It's been rammed down our throats since we were old enough to dress ourselves. Mammash? You don't have to lecture us. Girls know what things look like on them. We wear what we want to wear, and we probably know the halachot better than you do. If you have a problem with it, kindly deal. Take it to your shrink. He's the only one who cares what you think about this anyway.

I mean, forget the business about being uninformed; (although trust me, chumrot in place of actual halachik knowledge? Not exactly minimal in this area) why would men make it their business to notice exactly what the women are or aren't wearing, and how that exactly fits in with the rules and standards, and then lecture us about it? Shouldn't they be learning torah and focusing on their own avodah? What exactly do they gain by being so overly concerned about our stuff? And don't you give me kol yisrael areivim zeh bazeh, because if that's what their concern really is, I can point them in a few other directions in more dire need of attention.

The ongoing hypocrisy really gets me. The people who blatantly disregard halacha in so many areas get to lecture people on stuff that isn't their inyan at all? I know not all of the men out there who care about this issue blatantly disregard halacha. But a lot of them do. And I'm sorry. The minute you're a blatant hypocrite is the moment you lose all right to pass judgment on how other Jews handle their religiosity. Not that you ever really had that right to begin with, but whatever, that's not the point.

So that's one point, although I'll be honest, it kind of irked me to have a rabbi lecturing us abut tzniut also. I mean I know he's a man of Torah and good intentions etc, and I appreciate that. But let someone who really has to deal with these issues talk about it man. Otherwise, even the best intentioned, purest-souled, longest-bearded rabbi of them all sounds sanctimonious, self-rightous, and condescending.

But all of that, while yes it bothers me, is not what bothers me most. What bothers me most is the uniformity which is slowly overcoming the orthodox world and expressing itself particularly in clothing. If you remember, I mentioned a discussion Tobie and I had with a madricha in my last post. We were basically discussing women learning gemarah, and particularly how it does or doesn't affect their general avodah. Our madricha was saying how it shocked her that davka the girls that learn gemara are the ones who wear the lower necks, the shorter skirts and sleeves, who cover less of their hair, etc. Tobie said that it has something to do with the fact that mostly only girls from communities where those are the standards of tzniut are going to want to learn gemarah (I know, I know, not Chabbad; I'll be honest, it's one of the things I love most about Chabbad. Their women are just so darn hard-core! It's really very cool.) and I know that sociologically she's right. My madricha was saying, why is it these girls who spend so much time osek biTorah that don't want to fulfill the mitzvot to the fullest?Shouldn't these be the girls who davka would want to dedicate everything in their lives to Hashem and His service?

Look. I get the whole chassid bidavar, going the extra mile, G-d really appreciates the effort, thing. I do. Let's remember I am part chossid. But - one of the main things I love about Judaism is how within the framework of halacha, there can be many different opinions that are all mutar. I know people like to think that being makil means you're slacking off to make life easier and more comfortable for yourself. And I know that for a lot of people that's true. But supposing it gets to the point where all religous people hold by all the same standards? And therefore, no one knows that there is any but one single right way? Because they don't know any better, because it won't exist anymore. I think that the Torah and the halachik framework will lose half of its beauty and more than half of its truth. I think we'll have turned halacha into something G-d never wanted it to be; something narrow and dark and unimaginative. He gave us the Torah bishivim panim in order for it to be something wide and varied and wonderful, full of clashes and differences and color and argument. There are supposed to be a million opinions on everything. Why would we try to destroy that? Why do people assume that G-d wants us to? I think for this reason that there davka should be people who hold by the more makil opinions, just to remind people that they exist, and are in fact halachically valid. If your rabbi tells you that it is perfectly mutar according to halacha to cover only the scalp and the rest of your hair can hang free, then go for it. And if your rabbi says that loose-fitting pants are fine, then great. If he says red isn't really a big deal nowadays, I would buy that the average man on the street isn't going to mistake me for a hooker, although yes, I know there are some chareidi men wandering around who are unclear on this concept and may solicit my services, or stone me. I'm willing to take that risk.

I just want to say that just because there are women who dress this way (and hey! they also learn gemara!) it doesn't mean they don't live a life of Torah, completely dedicated to the service of G-d. Probably all of them don't, but again, how many women who wear the prescribed uniform do we know really live for that purpose? What gives us the right to make that judgment call based on what people are wearing?

One last thing, less about tzniut and more about Judaism in general; these people who say things like, "But nu, you know what G-d really wants from you..." or "Tachlis, what Gd really wants from us all is..."

I'm sorry. Did you install a G-d phone? Is He talking to you while you sleep now? Is there someway that I could get in on that deal, bc there's there's a couple things I'd like to ask Him if I could get the chance.....Tachlis, ladies and gentleman? I have no idea what the hell G-d wants from me. Sometimes I wish I did, because it would make things that much simpler, but mostly I know that THAT WOULD SORT OF DEFEAT THE PURPOSE OF WELL, YOU KNOW, EVERYTHING. So please, people, stop pretending that you and G-d have these one-on-one confabs every night, that you're so sure you know what He's trying to say. I mean, I love your sincerity and your effort, but seriously, when it comes to real truth, you really know just about as much as the rest of us. Please accept that and move on.


Blogger Halfnutcase said...

rabbi akiva said that the klal gadol b'torah is ahavas yisroel and the nevim said that it was all dependant on social justice (not tznius!).

so I guess in that sense We do know what the tachlis is. But, how that fits in with everything else? I haven't the foggiest, but maybe all of us together can argue it out, beat each other over the heads and pull each others beards/hair and figure it out. :-)

oh, and I thought that the bais yaakovs and seminaries don't teach girls the sources for tzniut "inside". I thought they kind of intentionaly taught them outside, in order to, y'know, brainwash people? (i think chana said that).

(if you wan't to know, a couple months ago I found out that the major section on what people source for tznius is something like even haezer (shulchan aruch) 115 (114?) sif 4 or 5 or something. (just for your amusement.) that and the halachos of saying krias shema infront of erva, which is in the 80s or something (of orech chayim). (its language basicaly intimates that tznius is something best left to girls. If it were something that men were expected to rule on, one would think that it would have merited it's own siman or two, especialy if it is so important?)

oh, and apperantly rabbi falk lied in his book, and there was a rabbi who called him on it in public about 4 years ago. After all the whining I've heard about that evil book I'd really like to see someone nail him to a cross for being stupid and blatantly dishonest.

(I hope I didn't say anything offensive.)

6:00 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

No time to comment just yet... but I want to argue with your premise that the Torah was given so that people would argue it out... Just that it raises a few philosophical barriers to "real" belief...

The Gemara {somewhere or other :) } states that the differences in performance of the various Mitzvos and the varying traditions resulted from inadequate Shimmush, or "experience" from preceding generations.

There may be a few other explanations to it, but I don't think that Halacha was expressly given to argue and color.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

The Gemara is on Sanhedrin 88:2: "Originally there was no argument amongst the sages but since the students of Hillel and Shamai did not properly serve their teachers, differences arose and it became like there were to Torahs"

8:25 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

Oh, also, I don't get how the linked article irritated you to write this rant. I don't see the connection.

8:40 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

I'm cool with saying tat Gd probably wants me to love all Jews. But that isn't exactly a specific life-plan, nor does it say anything to me about wardrobe choice. So what are you going to do?

Nemo- For the moment I'm gpoing with two basic sources, and I'm hoping to sic Tobie on you with more. The first is "Eilu Vieilu Divrei Elokim Chayim Melech Haolam," Eiruvin 13b. Essentially, machloket beit Hillel and beit Shammai, and a bat kol came out and said "look, you're both right, but you've got to tell the people something, so we're ruling like beit Hillel." However it does say somewhere else in the gemara, not sure exactly where, that it's fine to hold according to beit Shammai as long as you hold everything according to beit Shammai; bc his opinion was halachically valid. And also cuz, we don't really listen to bat kols so much when it comes to halacha. Apparently, also, beit Hillel used to teach Shammai's opinion as a valid halachik alternative opinion, and beit Shammai didn't teach Hillel's opinion; which means that beit Hillel was a little more into the pluralist approach, and generally we rule like him anyway.

SEcond source is the whole "Torah lo bishamaiym hee," the exact ssource I don't have on me right now but I'll lootk it up. The idea being that G-d gave us the Torah, and we decide what it means and how it works; therefore, we're not necessarily going for a one defined and absolute truth, we're doing it our way. And our way, being Jews, is to argue and disagree.

There was something else about the Rambam and The Ramban and a machloket between them and the gaonim; the Gaonim didn't believe in disagreement, bu the Rambam and the RAmban did because people will always disagree, and that's just kind of how the world works.

There are also more sources along the "shivim panim liTorah" line, but I didn't have time to look any of them up, so Tobie or I will Gd willing get back to you on that later.

5:10 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

Oh, Yoni-
I think I learned sichot on the matter in Chabbad; I don't remember exactly what sources were used in bais Yaakov, possibly none, although there were enough apologetics going around to make up for the lack of them; in sem we definitely learned every source we could find, but I didn't go to a bais yaakov sem.

5:12 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

sorry, I forgot this before. it wasn't the post itself so much as the discussion going on in the comments. although the post itself was also a little on the inane side of things...

5:16 AM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

there is a midrash that says that in biblical times there were 4 kinds of tefillin and the different tribes used one of those four, and between them all of them were in current practice. Basicaly the midrash came to tell us the argument was not about which tefillin was right, but rather about which tefilin should be used when you don't know your tribe (and since in that time noone did...) (and since we don't want people getting confused even the leviim used the same one.)

:-) (I do not remember where this is from.)

7:36 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

yeah, I forgot about the different tribes having different minhagim thing. That's important too.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Tobie said...

Miri has brought most of the sources that I would for the whole pluralism thing- it's pretty clear that there are sources supporting it, just as there are sources against it in the gemara. Basically, I think that anyone who views torah sheba'al peh as a creative process tends towards respecting controversy- inavoidable when human minds grapple with a problem- while those who see it as a chain of mesora tend to view machlokes as errors in transmission. Ramban and Rambam both seem to fall into the first category, while the geonim fall in the second.

Of course, this has nothing to do with the importance of having definitive halachic decisions, rather than debate during the process, but the fact is 1) we don't have a sanhedrin nowadays and 2) even in the times of the talmud and mishna, people held according to their school, rebbe, and location and practice was never uniform.

In re: the actual post, I think it's time that we admitted to ourselves that there are precious few actual sources for tzniut. Fact: there is nothing in the tanach, except perhaps a pasuk that assumes that all women cover their hair (note, assumes, not mandates). Fact: The talmud does note that shok b'isha ervah, but it says the same thing about tefach (which would indicate full-body covering) and kol (which, simply understood, would indicate total silence). Fact: Tzniut is and has always been overwhelmingly influenced by culture and custom rather than hard and fast law. It's not kashrut, it's certainly not shabbat. You're not going to find good primary sources about tightness, flowingness, see-throughness, collar bones, pants, etc. It's just not there.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

At class now, but I want to address the obvious weakness of your two points Miri.

1. Torah might not be Bashamayim and might be subject to current practice and understanding, but the underlying principle in that, according to Parshas Shoftim, is that there must be a single and unified stance on every matter au currant. The Torah says to listen to what the Cohen will tell you at that time, meaning even that which isn't understood must be adhered to. But nonetheless the meaning of the Possuk is clear that there must be a single opinion- that of the Cohen (and eventually the Sanhedrin}.

2. You have to differentiate between Hillel and Shammai AND Beis Hillel and Beis Shamma. Hillel and Shammai {the two Rabbis} no doubt agreed upon most things because they had received it as a tradition directly from Sinai. Their students however, BEIS Hillel and BEIS Shammai did not because of my previously mentioned Gemara in Sanhedrin- that they hadn't properly received Shimmush from their teachers. Hillels student tended to be more leneint while Shammais assumed the stricter approach.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Miri said...


1)Which pasuk in parshat shoftim are you referring to?

2) I don't think you're getting the beit Hillel and beit Shammai stuff 100% accurately, but I'm going to have to wait until daylight hours to find sources, so I'll argue with you later.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

nemo, have you ever studied mesechta horayos or eiduyos?

one of the first mishnayos in horayos states clearly that if someone who knows how to make a psak believes the bais din (not the sanhedrin, can't be) is wrong, then they are permitted to dissagree with them and do something else. (infact they're chayiv if they do not.) Infact, if the person is mearly bright and theoreticaly capable of making a psak if he learns enough he is also still considered culpable if he follows their psak blindly, and it turns out to be wrong. (unlike the unlettered, who are not.)

6:56 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

Miri- Devarim 17: 8-13. It's the "source" for rabbinic power in deciding Halacha, at least as far as Torah She'Bichtav.

8. If a matter eludes you in judgment, between blood and blood, between judgment and judgment, or between lesion and lesion, words of dispute in your cities, then you shall rise and go up to the place the Lord, your God, chooses.
9. And you shall come to the Levitic kohanim and to the judge who will be in those days, and you shall inquire, and they will tell you the words of judgment. 10. And you shall do according to the word they tell you, from the place the Lord will choose, and you shall observe to do according to all they instruct you.
11. According to the law they instruct you and according to the judgment they say to you, you shall do; you shall not divert from the word they tell you, either right or left. 12. And the man who acts intentionally, not obeying the kohen who stands there to serve the Lord, your God, or to the judge that man shall die, and you shall abolish evil from Israel.
13. And all the people shall listen and fear, and they shall no longer act wantonly.

8:20 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

Yoni- To be fair, I'm not familiar with those Gemaras.

I'm not sure that that would imply plurality though. While it may be true that a person could do as he understands if he is qualified to do such, nonetheless that would apply in a case where there is an element of ambiguity and the need to make a decision, such as in a Din Torah or saying whether a certain specimen of meat is Kosher.

However, that could not apply to something which is a Kabbalah where there can be no such equivocation {plurality}.

Also, it's hard to say that such a person who "knows better" could Pasken for others as that could bring to very real problems of Kares and Gezeilah.

8:47 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

Tobie- There is no doubt that TSH"P is a creative process, but it's most definitely not an inventive process. Even the Rambam would never suggest that the difference resulted from simple differences of opinion. The Rambam himself writes that disputes erupted in tradition that allowed for various interpretation. There was a very real situation and the system had to find the best way to protect itself, in which the process of developing the information and formation of schools of thought ensued, as well as a few other protectionisms. In the end it is all true and Eilu V'Eilu because these methods were all based on the Torah's principles.

Yes, the Torah does expressly allow for elasticity, but I still find it hard to say that it exhorts plurality.

9:00 PM  
Blogger Tobie said...

The Rambam writes (I'm sorry, I can't find a quote) that in most laws, there is disagreement because the Sages reach the conclusions from their own wisdom and in this, they differ as wise men differ in their reason.

I don't automatically buy the conclusion that disagreement is merely a side effect of ignorance. While it's possible to believe that there's only one truth towards which we are groping, I think that talmudic sources that describes torah sheba'al peh as a creative process rather than a tradition necessarily hold that truth is created as well as discovered. (the famous midrash with Moshe watching R' Akiva, for example, or a sifri that describes midrash as turning wheat into bread.) And I think that a system that honors creating truth can't pretend that that doesn't necessarily entail disagreement as a core part of the process.

Now, all this has little to do with the necessity of unified practice or lack thereof. I think it's important to differentiate between respecting plurality of opinion and allowing plurality of action, and I'm not sure which one we're arguing about, so I'm kind of drifting between both. While it's true that the rule of the sanhedrin was nationally binding, I would note that people only went there on appeal- there is really nothing to stop separate places from continuing to have separate traditions. Even in the talmud, where they would routinely vote what they should hold, it's pretty clear that people continued to live according to Beit Shammai, vote notwithstanding. (I think it specifically says "One who wants to hold like Beit Shammai for everything may do so")

sidepoint- the whole zaken mamre vs. not being allowed to listen to the sanhedrin when you know that they are wrong is a fascinating point- I've heard at least two shiurim trying to reconcile between them or pointing out that they are contradictory and just what fun that is. It seems to be a case where, practically, you need the Sanhedrin to be accepted, but an individual must follow his conscience anyway and it's pretty clear that there would be actual cases in which they would conflict and the individual might have to be executed despite the fact that he's following torah law (while he could, of course, obey simply out of pikuach nefesh, there are probably places when his ruling would be one on the big three and he would not be permitted to obey)

11:45 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

"If a matter eludes you in judgment, "

It would seem to me that this seems to be referring to a situation where the halacha is unclear to an individual; ie, more relevant to "Ask your LOR when you don't know if your pot is kosher," than dissent in halachik discourse. It sounds like it would fit in with the gemarot that Yoni mentioned; when the matter is unclear to you, you go to the Kohen. When the matter is not unclear to you, do not go to the Kohen. I'm just basing this on the quoted text, I haven't looked at any miforshim or anything.

Also, to clarify; I in my post was referring to variety in halachik practice. First, Tobie's right; it's quite clear in many places in the gemarrah that practice was not uniform, even then. Second, I still stand behind my point. But to make it another way, let's say this; do any leading rabbanim today say that any sect of Orthodox Judaism is assur because they hold differently from other sects of Orthodox Judaism? Is there anyone who will claim that a heter from a reliable rabbi of any stripe is in fact assur? Mammash assur? Let's leave that question as is in simplest form for the time being, I can extrapolate later.

12:48 AM  
Blogger Nemo said...

Just to clarify, I'm not arguing against the plethora of opinions that exist today; I'm arguing against whether that is the way it was supposed to be. I can readily accept that every legitimately reached opinion is "right" in its own merit, I just question whether we can say that the Torah was given for that purpose.

{Also, I would even venture to say that notwithstanding Moshe's awareness 'Kol Ma SheTalmid Vatik Atid L'hitchadesh,' the point was never divergence.

4:02 AM  
Blogger Nemo said...

On that last point, I think that it means that Moshe was able to fathom the Torah in all it's permutations and in any way that it would eventually, according to it's rules, be interpreted.

4:06 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

If the point was not divergence, what was the point?

Also, no one's arguing Moshe's ability to fathom things, but what's that got to do with anything?

8:18 AM  
Blogger Tobie said...

How would you fit the Moshe fathoming everything thing with the Moshe going into R' Akiva's class and not understanding a word thing unless by admitting that there are different views in the gemara about differences of opinions?

Nemo- if they're all right, then what's the problem? Are you saying they're all right, but in an ideal world, all but one of them would never have been discovered?

Mir- the gemara and later sources clearly read the devarim bit as an appeals court- hence zaken mamre and not just joe shmoe mamre.

8:40 AM  
Blogger Nemo said...

Miri- I brought up the idea of Moshe's knowledge of varying opinions because I could see it as though the Torah was really meant to be brought out in different forms. This points a historical finger to Mattan Torah stating that there would eventually be a divide in Halacha.

I was just surmising that Moshe's knowledge of that and his ability to fathom it to the tee, was not because eventually it would need to be that way, but because it could be used that way. It wasn't necessary to use that, but it would be sufficient.

There is also a similar Midrash that tells of Moshe learning 49 ways to permit and 49 ways to prohibit every single law in the Torah. He asks Hashem how will they ever know what the Halacha is. Hashem replies, "Achrei Rabim Lihatot," that the Halacha will be decided by the majority opinion, even in the face of decent. Once again, this Midrash illustrates that there was room for divergence built in to the Torah. However, the end of the story is clear that despite it being permissible to intuit what ever makes sense and to be so convinced of that, there is only one real way and that is the way that is established through this method.

What's the point then? Why couldn't Hashem just make everything clear?

I guess that even in ideal he really wanted there to be creativity and thought.

Tobie- Not sure what you mean about Rabbi Akiva's classroom.

Also, above you said:

"I don't automatically buy the conclusion that disagreement is merely a side effect of ignorance."

Firstly, I don't like the word ignorant, it makes them sound kida slow...

But I very much think that the difference resulted from their not being equipped with enough practical proficiency and just the Svara and Limmud. Here's what the Rambam says in Hilchos Mamrim 1:9:
משבטל בית דין הגדול, רבתה מחלוקת בישראל: זה מטמא ונותן טעם לדבריו, וזה מטהר ונותן טעם לדבריו; זה אוסר, וזה מתיר. Everyone had their well-intended reasoning for saying what they did, but at this point they no longer had the appeal to higher authority which existed before which would have settled it {*ibid 1:7-8,}.}

*I just wanted to say ibid, hehe.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Tobie said...

Again- your sources prove that the ideal leans towards uniformity of practice, not towards uniformity of thought. Nobody ever says that only one opinion is right- just that at the end of the day, it's nice to decide on something l'ma'aseh. And, again, not so clear that everyone went along with the vote. One could say that the vote was for the common people to know what to do, while scholars who still believed strongly in one team felt perfectly free to keep going along with it. (Again, the only way I have to understand the statement that one may hold like Beit Shammai if they choose)

R' Akiva midrash:
Menachot 29b
אמר רב יהודה אמר רב בשעה שעלה
משה למרום מצאו להקדוש ברוך הוא
שיושב וקושר כתרים לאותיות
אמר לפניו רבונו של עולם מי מעכב על ידך
אמר לו אדם אחד יש שעתיד להיות בסוף

כמה דורות ועקיבא בן יוסף שמו שעתיד

לדרוש על כל קוץ וקוץ תילין תילין של הלכות.
אמר לפניו: רבונו של עולם הראהו לי
אמר לו חזור לאחורך.
הלך וישב בסוף שמונה שורות ולא היה יודע

מה הן אומרים תשש כחו. כיון שהגיע לדבר אחד
אמרו לו תלמידיו: רבי מנין לך?
אמר להן: הלכה למשה מסיני, נתיישבה
חזר ובא לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא אמר לפניו:

רבונו של עולם יש לך אדם כזה ואתה נותן תורה על ידי
אמר לו: שתוק כך עלה במחשבה לפני.

When Moshe went up to Heaven, he saw Hashem tying crowns onto the letters. He said, "Hashem, what's delaying you?" Hashem said "There will be a man in the future- Akiva ben Yosef is his name- who will expound mounds and mounds of halachot from every crown." Moshe said "Show him to me" Hashem said "Turn around." Moshe went and sat in the back of eight rows. When he didn't know what they were talking about, he became weak. Then they got to one thing and the students asked "Rabbi, how do you know?" and R' Akiva answered "Halacha L'Moshe Misinai" and Moshe felt better. he went back and asked Hashem, "You have somebody like this and You're giving the Torah through me?" Hashem answered "Hush. This is what I have thought to do."

1:35 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

G-d said "Hush?"

Anyway, Nemo, you only seem to be proving my point with your sources. The midrash you brought about the 49 ways of interpretation doesn't really prove anything contrary to what I was saying. It seems to say "Look at all the many different truths are contained within My Torah! And you guys get to choose which one is best for you at the particular point in time, because I want you to be creative with it, and discover whichever bits of truth are relevant and necessary to you at the time." That's what it sounds like to me, anyway.

4:14 AM  
Blogger Lubab No More said...

I just want to say: "Woot Miri!"

8:43 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

LBN-Thank you.

And on a side note; apparently my sister (who is now in Israel for sem, woohoo!) has caused my mother to start using the word "woot" in every day conversation. Just thought I'd mention that.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

Brief note (that is totaly off topic) because It just occured to me that you might have been poking fun:

(Not to mention, we're (us females) the ones who shop for clothing, and wear the clothing, so we know things like what's available, what kind of stuff looks like what on our bodies, things abut drape and cut and material, etc, which most guys don't know or care about bichlal(excepting possibly Yoni ;))

I do not and have never crossdressed. sadly I was not introduced to the lisence to do this on purim until well after the age where I could have gotten away with it ;)
(my brother on the other hand... :))

(btw, the way to make things in italic is to Put < i> at the begining of the text, and < /i> at the end of the text, ommiting the space between '<' and 'i' etc.)

7:22 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

eh. maybe. I've tried that one before though...

I was teasing you bc you mentioned noticing fabric, somewhere, at some point. that's all I meant.

8:15 AM  
Blogger lost and not yet found said...

This post says it all. Very well put.

8:25 AM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

I know. I wasn't upset, just trying to tease back and doing a poor job.


10:13 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

HNC- No worries, I just wanted to make sure I hadn't accidentally offended you. Happens sometimes.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

Oh, and to answer your question about what does anything have to do with banning denim skirts (since youd didn't see my answer), my answer is denim skirts are quite tznius (at least in my mind, for what little it is worth) and barring objections by my wife (unlikely as chabad happens to approve of denim (at least according to the rebbetzin)) my daughters will have them.

(I mean, who notices someone just because they're wearing a denim skirt? black is WAY more showy and noticable ;)) yes?

I still love denim jumpers.

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:27 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

Sorry for my own "hush".

Been working-class-working-wedding-helping my sis move-working. Leaves little time for fun blogging pursuits.

I must admit that I've kinda circularly disproven my own point at the beggining, namely, "I don't think that Halacha was expressly given to argue and color."

What I do stand by, and I think we're agreeing on this {tell me if I'm wrong}, is that in an ideal world or Mesorah there would be a unified practice amongst the Jews. Yes, everyone should be a thinking person using their own Neti'at Hada'at, but ultimately what it should come down to is the most refined practice.

But then there was some split amongst the idealists and disintegration of the Sanhedrin, and what we were left with is a very diversified group of forward thinking Jews.

5:14 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

what's most noticable is what sets you apart from the crowd; so a denim skirt in a sea of black skirts would be the height of prutzishness.

I'm really not sure. It could be that maybe G-d intended for practice to be uniform but....I kinda hope not. It would be pretty boring and stifling, don't you think?

8:10 AM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

Miri, I'll grant you that. (which is actualy the reason why I'm trying to wear something other than black and white while I'm at college these days, because the black and white is way to distinctive and memorable, so I'm switching to the more tznius and therefore jewishly proper khaki pants and blue shirts, or something like that, because it just doesn't attract the same attention in secular society.

but at the same time, a black skirt in a sea of denim and khaki (and every color except black) skirts is also the hight of pritzus and thank g-d that tends to be more the pattern here than the reverse :-)

(oh, and just for the record, I agree with tobie and miri) Actualy I think that the variety of jewish practice is one of judaism's strongest points, in and of that it allows people from a wide variety of temprements and characters to find a judaism which will help them build the best relationship with hashem they can and do the most good possible in this world. If we would just be more accepting of other hashkafa's and just be happy that our children are orthodox jews, then I really think that the at-risk problem would basicaly go down the drain as the kids experiment with different orthodox hashkafos and figure out which one fits them best (and ultimately in the end come right back home 9 times out or 10) and the one who didn't would still be frum and everyone in the world would be happy.

see? ahavas yisroel really does make things fit.

8:45 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

I think you're oversimlifying a bit. Kids have been rebellious since cain and abel; they'll find something to be rebellious about. but it would make the Jewish community happier, stronger, and more harmonious.

I also think you exaggerate aboutthe noticablity of a black skirt; plenty of people wear them, in the non-Jewish world too. this one summer I worked with non-Jews, in the "real world" and I wore skirts and long sleeves everyday; and I got one comment the entire summer, which was prompted by my friend watching me bench after lunch and I was explaining that. Really? I didn't look different enough for anyone to care. Jews know what to look for, but to everyone else, we kind of just blend into the background.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

well wearing black and white is WAY different than wearing long sleeves and long skirts, trust me.

There is a certain connotation between black and white and being really really religious, and therefore special and its actualy regarded as a bit of an aggressive combination in this country to be honest. In my time around non-jews plenty of people have commented on my black and white dress, (as well as just assumed I was amish) and certainly Its very plain that anything bad I do would be made as worse and be a worse chillul hashem just because I wear black and white.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

Black and white is not uncommon in the business world. I think it's very handsome actually. Just depends how you do it.

Also, Yoni, I think it's that we become so sensitive to it because of the "religious" connotations that we assume that it's so noticeable. We become afraid to look like just another Jew and more like the rest of society. I have news for you though, once you have yarmulke, tzitzis and especially a beard, it doesn't really matter if you're wearing distressed jeans or a Bekesheh... you're going to stick out!

You may convince yourself that you fit in by trying to dress like everyone else, but to them it's all the same. The only difference is whether the people inquiring about your dress will ask you about why you wear a kippah and beard, or why you wear a kippah, beard AND a white shirt {or hat for that matter}. The latter question latches onto our sensitivities just a bit more because we've convinced ourself that we'll look "normal" by shedding the non-essential grab. Also, it's more comforable wearing a kippah when we picture ourselves not looking totally out of the ordinary. In reality, the rest of society either looks at us as eccentrics or will one way or another look at us like freaks.

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why the need to dress like whores???

2:08 PM  

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