Your wife shall flourish like a grapevine
MY DAUGHTER DO NOT GO TO GLEAN IN ANOTHER FIELD (Ruth 2, 8)
A PURE WAY OF LIFE FOR THE BAS ISRAEL
THE RESPONSIBILITY IS UP TO EVERYBODY – THE MISSION IS UP TO YOU
In the Gemara in Maseches Sota 22 / 1 Reb Yonason says: we have learned the fear of sin from a maiden. One time Reb Yonason heard a maiden praying and saying “Ribono shel Olam, You created Gan Eden and You created Gehinom. You created the righteous and You created the wicked. May it be Your will that no human being should stumble because of me”.
The Maharasha explains as follows: her prayer was that she should not make others stumble, causing them to be punished because of her.
Every woman who increases her attention to the ways of Tznius is praiseworthy. Many punishments in this world and in the next world are due to sins of immodesty.
May it be His will that in the merit of tznius, the Pasuk in Mishlei will be fulfilled, “and she will rejoice on the last day.”
THE PURPOSE OF THE BLOUSE:
To cover the body and its form completely in a way that no part of the body is recognizable.
It is important that the blouse is designed in a way that ensures that it does not cling in any way to any part of the person, and especially not in the front part, and that it does not resemble the color of the skin in any way. In addition, it is understandable that it should not be transparent at all. One is also obligated to be careful to wear only discrete colors, without any contrast or bright colors, which catch the eye.
A short sleeve over a long sleeve or a cut-out jacket over a tight t-shirt revealing the contour of the body is forbidden without any exception.
The blouse and its sleeves must be long enough to ensure that it covers the body in all positions, particularly when bending down and when raising one’s arms.
An additional refinement: It is an added merit to wear a wide and long upper garment above the clothes, which can either be a vest, a jacket, a cape-shall, a radid, or a sadine-a huge sheet or scarf that covers over the head covering and the shoulders and its length reaches down, preferably, as close to floor-length, as is possible. These should preferably be worn every time one leaves ones home and this merit surpasses all limits. Blessed is their part in this world and in the world to come. The above additional upper garments are in increasing order of modesty. It is self explanatory that these should be opaque and in dark or dull colors, nevertheless a
white sadine may be used, as it covers up everything, and therefore does not have a beautifying effect. Other additions may not be in white, as they probably do not cover one's self as totally as the sadine does and therefore they do have a beautifying and enhancing effect in whitish colors, and this definitely causes forbidden eye-attraction.
THE LETTER OF TESHUVA OF RABEINU YONA
A woman has to be modest and careful that no man except her own husband is looking at her, because if men look at her face or her hands they descend to Gehinom, and she will be punished for every single one of them because she made them sin and stumble over her.
THE PURPOSE OF THE SKIRT:
To cover the legs completely, and in a way that the movements of walking are not visible, and not even in an indistinct manner. One has to be extremely careful that the design of the skirt is sufficiently wide. Moreover, the skirt has to be made of a material which does not cling in any position: while walking or climbing steps or bending over to pick something off the floor. In addition, one should be careful that the material of the skirt is not transparent in the least, and if it is, one needs to wear another skirt or very thick slip under the skirt which is not transparent, not even in strong sunlight. White is a color that tends to be transparent and requires extra thickness and extra caution, at all times! Always check white colors in strong sunlight, for their transparency. A very long, wide and fully-gathered apron is helpful to hide the movements of walking and a Jewish woman should be prepared to wear this apron outdoors until all of her skirts are wide enough to hide the movements of walking completely.
In the days of old, the women of Yisrael wore dresses down to the ground. That is indeed the way of Tznius because the covering by stockings is not considered to be a covering betznius because stockings naturally cling, emphasizing the shape of the legs. Therefore, one must be careful that the skirt covers, minimally over the ankles and preferably covers everything, which is termed a floor-length skirt. The longer one's skirt, even if it trails behind us like a bridal gown, the more praiseworthy is the wearer. Great care must be taken to wear a thick and very stiff tulle bridal slip under the long skirts which pushes the skirt out in circular fashion away from the wearer, to prevent one from falling over the very long skirt. This slip also protects so that the movements of walking are not visible, not even in an indistinct manner. Wearing a thick and very stiff tulle bridal slip is certainly essential and even life saving for women, whenever they merit to wear floor-length skirts. To buy one, please check out bridal salons or wherever tulle (very stiff- netting) slips are sold.
An additional refinement: Women wearing an additional skirt under their skirt to make sure that the upper one does not cling in any position – their merit surpasses all limits and blessed is their part in this world and in the world to come.
A woman has to make sure that her shoes do not make noise, as this causes stumbling and sometimes it can be heard from far away. This is certainly an obstacle
and a lack of modesty. The Radak explains the prophecy of Yishayahu in the Pasuk “and with their feet they poisoned” stating that they had caused noise by walking.
This is one of the things for which the prophet rebukes the daughters of Yisrael. The version of the Mahari claims that the rebuke related to overly decorated footwear.
A woman has to keep away from all kinds of shoes which cause a provocation by making noise or by their form, decorations or color. Therefore, the best shoes are black, not shiny shoes with low flat heels and without various decorations. The shoes or sandles should not expose the toes in public. “To the wary and the cautious will be given peace like" the river's waters”.
The Purpose of Stockings:
The covering of the leg has to happen mainly by means of the skirt. Nevertheless it is an obligation to wear stockings because the shoes do not cover all the foot and also in the event Chalila, that the skirt is lifted by mistake, there won’t be any exposure of bare skin.
Therefore, women have to be very careful to ensure that their stockings are thick and completely opaque and colored in a tint which does not resemble the color of the skin. Also, it is very important to train the girls from an early age to wear stockings and not to be satisfied with (short) socks. This matter is a great protection for Tznius.
THE STRAIGHT WAYS OF THE GAON RAV CHAIM KANIEVSKY SHLITA
The more a woman wears garments of Tznius the more she will merit righteous children and Talmidei Chachamim and her husband will merit all the best as it is written in the holy Zohar: "and you will build up a house in splendor”.
MAKE UP AND EYE-MAKEUP
The contribution of makeup to the appearance of a woman is well-known and evident and in Maseches Yoma (Daf 9) our Rabbis say that one of the things which destroyed the Bais Hamikdash was the eye-makeup. Furthermore it is stated in the Gemara in Maseches Kesubos (Daf 72) that the color red in the face is פריצות (a Provocation) and עזות מצח (an Insolence).
In general, every endeavor of a women to increase her beauty in public areas is a very serious transgression, as it is explained in Maseches Avoda Zora (Daf 19), that the daughter of Rabbi Chanina ben Tardion was punished very severely for her beautified and embellished steps, when walking in public.
For this reason, it is extremely important that women totally refrain from all kinds of makeup, wherever it may be possible that strange men will be able to see them. They should not let themselves be influenced by the fact that other women
are not careful with this matter, as this only occurs from total ignorance of the serious, spiritual consequences.
MIDRASH RABBA PARASHAS BERESHIS
And over each limb He made for her, He told the woman: “be a Tznua, be a Tznua” a total of 504 commandments for her 252 limbs.
Perfume And Aromatic Fragrances:
Perfume is one of the most dangerous stumbling blocks because even if a man makes all possible efforts to protect himself, he cannot. He is forced to breathe and the fragrance reaches him.
The Gemara in Maseches Kidushin (81) relates about a great Tzadik that at an advanced age came to a situation of temptation because of a fragrance reaching him.
It is known that the Prophet Yeshaya rebuked the daughters of Yisrael saying that the fragrance of their spices was one of the things which caused the young men of Israel to stumble and which lead to the Churban- the destruction of the Holy Temple.
Before going outdoors, women have to refrain from using any kinds of perfumes, soaps and shampoos emanating an aromatic fragrance (please note that deodorant products, shampoos and soaps without distinct fragrance are available).
MIDRASH TANCHUMA – PARASHAS VAISHLACH
Rabbi Pinchas Hacohen bar Chama said: “When a woman is a Tznua, she is atoning for her house as the Mizbeach in the Holy Temple atoned for Klal Yisrael. “
CHOFETZ CHAIM – GEDER OLAM PEREK 7
If a woman walks in the ways of Tznius, in this merit, she gives birth to children who are Tzadikim and Talmidei Chachamim who enlighten the world with Torah and with their Righteousness, and thereby she will have a good life in this world and also afterwards, she will merit to sit in the upper world in the hall of Hashem with much strength and beauty… therefore, women should get into the habit of Tznius and as a result will acquire Olam Hazeh and Olam Haba.
THE PURPOSE OF JEWELRY:
Ezra ha Sofer decided that our nation requires peddlers who go around from town to town selling jewelry, make-up and perfumes to the women of Yisrael so that they will not be detestable to their husbands.
However, the holy Zohar states (in Shir Hashirim, 86) that a woman should be on guard not to make herself seen with her adornments except when she is
alone with her husband. And also it is written in the Midrash Tanchuma (Parashat Vaishlach) “that women should not be given jewelry except to adorn themselves with these exclusively inside their own home”. Women who are wearing their jewelry should stay away from places wherever men are present, because they attract the eyes and the heart, and as the author of Orchos Tzadikim wrote in the Sha’ar Hagaavah: If a woman wears adornments in front of men she inflames their hearts and she instills forbidden thoughts into their hearts and her punishment for this is immeasurable as she puts a stumbling block in front of many men.
A woman should be very, very careful not to cause other people to stumble. She should be on her guard not to go out adorned before men, as all the honor of the king’s daughter should be inside (Erech Machshava).
The daughter should be G-d-fearing, and she should not to be seen in front of young men and especially not when she is adorned, so that they will not stumble over her with sinful thoughts (Erech Bat).
CHOFETZ CHAIM – GEDER OLAM PEREK 4
And the Evil Inclination should not confuse her by telling her that she will be saved from the judgment, because she has to be adorned for her husband so that she won't be detestable to him. This refers only to her home and not to the market and not to any of the public places.
SHEVET MUSAR PEREK 17 / OT 6
A woman of Tznius, who bears fear of Hashem in her heart, should adorn herself appropriately in her home, but if she goes out adorned she commits a sin and makes other people sin. This woman causes a tremendous stumbling block for sin and iniquity.
KAF HACHAIM SIMAN 560 / OTE 20
“All the honor of the king’s daughter is inside-within her home and there she is honored by wearing golden squares in her dress”. The honor of the king’s daughter is to be inside her home, and there she can dress in squares of gold and wear garments of honor.
THE PURPOSE OF THE HEAD COVERING:
A married woman is obligated by the Torah to completely cover her head in the most modest way possible. It is self explanatory that the coverings themselves should be unquestionably modest and should enhance a woman’s tznius.
One must therefore ensure not to wear a head covering that is manufactured in a way that attracts the eye by means of jewelry or ornaments and surely not any kind of wig which, as is known has an external enhancing and beautifying effect.
Fancy head coverings and wigs leads to provocation and to the attraction of attention, and this is completely contrary to what the Torah aims for, in the Mitzva of covering the head. She should cover her head only and exclusively with modest, discrete coverings, which cover completely the beauty of her hair and keep away the eyes of strangers, without exception. The mitpachat (scarf) or snood should be arranged in a way that it covers the head entirely and no hair sticks out. From Kimchis we learn that she merited seven Kohanim Gedolim as children, because of her elevated level of Tznius. She did not diminish the Honor of Hashem even in her most private room.
Rabeinu Bechaye (Parashas Emor)
When a righteous and modest man with outstanding Midos is seen, this is clear
evidence of the Tznius of his mother. For this reason she merited to have a son like this, because a good branch testifies to the strength of the root.
The Rambam states (Halachos Ishut, Perek 13), that a husband has to prevent his wife from going out more often than once or twice a month and only if necessary. But in our days women go out to work in order to allow their husbands to sit and learn.
However, they have to be very careful not to forfeit their reward by working in all kinds of working places, where the fences of Tznius are not respected in the way that they must be. One should be very careful to only to work in places with an entire separation between men and women. There should not be any connection between the male and female employees, and it is of course absolutely forbidden to talk about irrelevant topics as family, sustenance, religion, politics, the weather etc. By many Rishonim this is already part of forbidden relationships.
It is obvious that one should flee from being the private secretary of a man as one flees from fire. Every proposal of work has to be pondered many times before accepting. Our Rabonim state in Maseches Pesachim (Daf 50): A man who focuses on the reward of his wife, in a work situation, that lacks Tznius will never see a sign of Brocha-Blessing.
GEMORA MASECHES MEGILA 10:
Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachmani said: every bride who is modest in the house of her father-in-law merits to give birth to decent children and Talmidei Chachamim, qualified to be kings or prophets.
Your wife shall flourish as a fruitful grapevine
In the chambers of your house,
As sprouts of the olive tree around your table:
When the wife is modest inside the home she merits children as righteous as the sprouts of the olive tree (Tanchuma Vayishlach ).
Excerpted from the excellent modesty booklet titled:
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