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Feb 18, 2009

Email of the Day (eotd)

I sometimes like to post emails that get sent out to the local community email list that I get a kick out of... This one was sent yesterday to the local list... and I get a kick out of it...

To the Ladies of RBS from Shmiras Einayim
Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:36 pm (PST)

During these weeks of Shovavim over one hundred men have committed to
knowing more aboutthe Halachas of keeping Kosher Eyes and improving our
habits by enrolling in the Shmiras Einayim Program and going to shiurim.

Obviously none of us were born in RBS and all have been in many other
neighborhoods to compare. We realize that women of RBS have chosen a
higher standard of modesty than other communities and have made RBS far
superior than virtually every other community we have lived in with
this regard

We all express sincere gratitude for women in RBS being extra careful
in dressing and acting in a modest way. Each of us express greater
pride and appreciation for our own wife.
Thanks so much for each women in the communty taking extra effort to
make RBS grow to even greater heights in Ruchniyus. Yasher Koach
What do you think about it?

The following email response was just sent to the list. I have no idea if it is sarcastic or honest. I think it sounds like the author is being honest, but maybe I am wrong.

I would like to say a public Kol Hakavod to the writers and supporters of this post. Such a positive, appreciative, acknowledging, respectful and grateful letter written to half of the public of RBS.

Clearly the authors of this post acknowledge the efforts and individual choice made each morning by women to dress in a certain way and instead of derision, choose appreciation as their mode to encourage such choices. I personally applaud your efforts and your acknowledgement of others.

This morning I asked my husband why he thought Hashem was sending the rains- what have we done differently to deserve them all of a sudden? I am sure that attitudes of ahavat yisroel such as these are the reasons for the Gishmai Bracha we have been receiving.


  1. i saw it. I cant say i liked it. It bothers me in some ways.
    im not sure why.

  2. I must say that an interesting point is being brought up.

    On one hand women should not look "shlumpy", particularly at home or with their husbands. On the other hand women shouldn't be "turning heads". Expensive sheitels, tight fitting skirts,high heels and kilo of makeup just isn't right.
    I think that the way that the Chardal women dress addresses both issues.

    They dress in a dignified manner without causing every man to look at them.

  3. anonymous - i must say those are pretty generalized statements. It sounds to me like you are saying that chareidi women turn heads with their tight skirts and too much makeup, while chardal women dress more modestly.

    You really think you are going for the majority here?? I hardly agree with you in any way. Yes, there are women in the chareidi sector who dress that way. But you are foolish to believe that women in chardal dont as well. And not only that, i could argue with you the other way, that the chardal women put much less effort into themselves, thereby disrespecting themselves and their husbands in the process.

    Its important for each person to find their own balance that fits well for themselves and their spouses as well as the community,

  4. Not Rafi G.

    Sick obsessive people. They need to get a life and stop fantasizing about random women that they see in the street. These are the same people who relish in the separate hours at Superbus and project their personal problems onto the whole community instead of sorting themselves out.

  5. That is a very judgemental thing to say.

    "AL tadun es chaviercha..."

    You have no idea what kind of yetzer "these" people have.

    BTW, Freud, anyone?

    And Chazal also state many times that the sexual drive is very strong and no one is ommune to it until he is a comeplete anav who completely understands his true place in creation.

    Why is it 'assur' to look at a women? (If she is married, even if she is ugly?)

    I would say most men when they see women at some level - entertain the thought of - 'how good looking is she, etc. v'hamavin yovin? Yay or Nay or beinoni. each to his own taste' This is not a condemnation of sick men. Just the way things are. How the One Above created us. This does not mean you cannot control yourself and wil go and do something crazy, but these thoughts are there nevethless and are a) simply inapropriate for one who is trying on whatever level to become more godly and less earthly b) annoying to say the least. and therefor it is best to avoid seeing, (reading, thinking but seeing is the biggest and most omnicient stimulus) things which provoke them. And men are halokhically required to do so. in Halocho women likewise are required to act in a way that does not stimulate these thoguhts. The halochic term is 'pritzusa d'gavrei'.

    Now it is true that from a woman's point of view this would seem technical an unfair w/o giving a 'positive' side of why she should dress modestly and those are out there for sure, as the TOrah is the blueprint of creation it's statutes are in fact our self-fulfillment which we sometimes realize, sometimes not. But that said, clearly not being a stumbling block for men is part of the picture and that in and of itself somehow is part and parcel of the 'positive' reasons for women's modesty. vAKM"L more than I already have.

  6. hold on. the person who sent the email to the list is not, as far as I know, imposing anythign on anybody. He is not saying these are the standards we all have to adhere to.

    he is simply commenting on a situation he sees - he sees the women of RBS dressing more modestly than othe rplaces.

    Truth is, I see other frum neighborhoods, and I see the women in those places dressed just as modestly as in RBS. I don't see a difference. There might be some places where the women dress more provocatively, but in most frum neighborhoods I am familiar with, most women are dressed pretty modestly..

    As well, even in the "best" (using the term to mean even in the most modest neighborhoods) of neighborhoods, there are always some women who dress more provocatively.
    We don't know where they are coming from, what their background is, how much they have improved themselves, etc. To demand they work on themselves instead of me working on myself, is impertinent, I think.

    There is something condescending about the tone of the email, I think. Yes, tzniyus is great, and people should work on themselves to improve their personal tzniyus and how they relate to other people and external imagery.

    But I think the email has a tone of expectation of other people needing to improve themselves, so i can avoid my temptation. yes, there is an issue of lifnei iver, but each person should work on himself or herself, and not be so concerned about the other person.

    In other words, I have to work on myself to not look, not have thoughts, not cause other people to stumble because of me. It is wrong of me, I think, to be concerned about you not causing me to stumble, your style of dress, your level of observance (not including giving proper tochacha).

  7. I can certianly understand where the author is coming from and appreciate it but I think the forum and way of expression are iffy.

    Certainly, positive things need to be pointed out. We have a tendency to only the bad in things and ignore the good and this tends to stunt our spiritual growth so surely there is a need to stress all postive things.

    I do not know however if a man ( it sounded like a man ) should be talking about tznius issues in public. While I am very much 'pro-tznius' and am very against sheitels personally, kol sheken other things, I would not take it upon myself to ever confront a woman other than my wife or daughters in any way of my own initiative on the issue.

    A Rov might have the authority to do so but even a Rov IMHO needs to exercise discretion and would be best off having the Rebbitzen do such things. "and Soro taught the women"

    Even if this a lady, I can see many people feeling the email is pedantic ( I think that is the word) I guess there might be some who get chizuk from this message, but many wil simply ignore it as a just another wierd thing they today.

    "Kavonosecha Ritzuyin, Maasecha ein retzuyin"

    Surely s smarter for giving chizuk to modest women than a clarion call on an impersonal email list exists.

    ("thanks and praise to the Oh great workers of Stalin, who are good soldeirsa carrying out his brilliant will i.e. true appreciation of the person's commitment etc. and not the Gimmeldik: 'yes, we got another one is on our side' is more the way to aim for me)

  8. why is there such an overwhelmng focus these days on womens' tzniut??? admittedly this is one of the few public statements i've seen praising women (usually it is an outraged statement that men should cover up their wives and daughters...)so it's not too bad. but it still is reinforcing the concept that women areto be solely judged by tzniut. have you seen the ads that the 3 boys in japan are surviving on the zchuyot of increased practice of tzniut by women? huh???? what is that?

  9. There's modesty, and there's dressing appropriately (in this case, according to some generally agreed-upon practice of tzniut). I think the guy was referring to the latter, since by saying that "we're the best," he's out of the running when it comes to modesty.

  10. It's patronizing and infantalizing of both men and women. Chazal did not intend for tzniut to reach the craziness that it has today.

  11. Anonymous,

    I am being judgemental because that is my considered opinion.

    You say I "have no idea what kind of yetzer "these" people have". We are talking about people who are presumably spending their every waking hour in avodat hashem. Are you assuming that these people have a bigger yetzer arayot than other people?

    The current obsession in the Dati community with the way people dress is not healthy. People who have a problem with the thoughts they get when they see women in the street need to do teshuva and not try to push the problem off onto other people by saying "it's her fault, she caused me to think this way about her". Women are not "stumbling blocks for men". Tzniut in dress is like tzniut in derech eretz. It has intrinsic value. Reducing it to the level that it is to prevent the woman from being a stumbling block is really to remove from it all value. As I said, it is the men who need to do teshuva.

    May we all be matzniay lechet im elo-henu.

  12. During these weeks of Shovavim over one hundred men have committed to
    knowing more aboutthe Halachas of keeping Kosher Eyes and improving our
    habits by enrolling in the Shmiras Einayim Program and going to shiurim.
    how many shiurim? content?

    Interesting high priority given to this issue vs. other possible topics.
    Joel Rich

  13. This reminds me of an old debate we used to have in the ol' yeshiva dorm.

    Who make a better wife a Modern Heredi woman who is all dolled up with a $5,000 sheitel who wants to live in either RBS/HarNof/RamatEsqhkol for a few years then move to Flatbush or stay in those neighborhoods OR a Chardal girl who wears no make-up, hates arabs, is super simple, wants a guy that will raise sheep, and loves Eretz Yisrael.

  14. MbD - why is one better and one worse? Each person has his or her own tastes and needs, and preferences, and each will look for the type of wife or husband that is "matim" for him/her. The world is made up of all sorts of people, and we can each find our spouse. Maybe we each just need to know which of the two groups you mentioned (plus others) is the group you/I should be looking in...

  15. i am sick and tired of having my freedoms curtailed by your issues. If you men can't control yourselves then put blinders on your eyes. The length of my sock or type of skirt I wear is none of your business.
    p.s. you should all read Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She goes into detail explaining the Muslim restrictions on women's dresscode and why it is so ridiculous. I have to say it definetily came close to describing Chareidi Judaism's obsession with tzniut.

  16. Ah HECK. This is all rubbish. We are thanking women for dressing tzniusly!? WHY the HECK are you looking so closely at all the women to see who is dressed tzniusly or not. Who are YOU to judge what is tznius. When a women dresses tzniuisly but screams at the cashiers in the supermarket or cuts people off in a car or almost runs over kids is that called a mitzva. This is 100% shtuyot! What about tznius women waiting for tremps and getting into cars with strange men so as not to have to pay for a cab - is that tznius. Walking around in your pajamas robe is that called tznius? when you can spend thousands of $ on a sheitel while your neighbors starve all in the name of tznius - is that OK?
    Let's dwell on the important things like ahavas chinom- i.e. don't judge a person just by the way they dress - remember the outer garmets are all a costume they say nothing about the person underneath. I know women who don't cover their hair, etc who are more makpid in their ahavas chinam and making brachot than women who dress "tzniusly".

    So stop the shtuyot and maybe thank everyone for taking it upon themselves to say hello to at least 3 people that they don't know everyday and we'll see how fast this neighborhood turns into alot nicer place.

  17. So I'm understanding the email like this. He went to a shiur on "keeping kosher eyes" and grew to "even greater heights in Ruchniyus" He walked out of shul after the shiur all psyched and ready to implement what he learnt. With his eyes covered like my kids say shema yisrael (one eye peeping) he stepped onto the street and realized that there is no need for manual shmirat einayim in RBS because the ladies do it automatically for us.

  18. if you are right, then as long as he stays in RBS he can walk with his eyes open. He is in trouble only if he leaves the neighborhood!

  19. I'm wondering if there is any connection to this email and curves closing down 2 months ago? ;-)

  20. I find it interesting that these men noticed the "more modest" dress. they stared long enough to differentiate. how did they decide? did they look at a woman and say - "oh, no impure thoughts about her, she must be tznius"? should do wonders for the womens self-esteem......

  21. The whole concept of placing the burden of Tsnius on women, in my opinion, is ridiculous and totally ineffective.

    From a male perspective, Men will be attracted to women no matter what they wear. In fact the act of covering certain parts of the body is what becomes the attraction.

    Obviously all those who push for Tsnius have some mental issues and psychoses, and are obsessed with sexual issues. Normal men do not think about these things all day. (they are too busy actually working for a living.)

  22. I wrote about this as well.
    I don't think it's a big jump from the letter writer's attitude to the Bruria Keren face-covering and layers phenomenon.

  23. Why is everyone so scared of sex and sexuality?

    Tzipi Livin comments that she couldn't have deep meaningfull relationships while in the army and this blog author translates that as, "she slept around alot."
    As if thats what she said.

    and there is the implication that there is a judgment for people to make about that.

    And apparantly religious men believe that men are barely controllable beasts. And yet women walk around all day dressed in all sorts of clothing and only a minor percentage are raped. And most of those non-raping men don't have the truth of the torah to guide them.
    Perhaps the tribal history of our people will never be overcome, especially with the christian and muslim influences on today's judaism. But perhaps the hangups that the religious have about sex and sexuality is unhealthy. Perhaps if women and men were both respectful and understanding of sexuality everybody would be less stressed...or at least they'd have better cardio.

  24. dan - it wasnt the lack of deep meaningful relationships quote, but the one where she said she had a lot of short term relationships.

    Aside form that I pretty much agree with you.

  25. Dealing with the rains currently..

    This reminds me of when Ariel Sharon z"l(? is he dead or what) went down with his whatever he had and my friend started saying it's cause he was responsible for the Gush Katiff fiasco. I answered him "I don't know, maybe the fact that he's 80 years old 316 lbs+ at 5'7 and already has heart trouble has something to do with it". I got looked at with a stare of confusion...Come on fellas, common sense with Torah

  26. "Walking around in your pajamas robe is that called tznius?"

    Why is a garment that can be removed with one zip considered Tznius? And what is up with walking around in glorified pajamas?

    Boggles the mind

  27. This morning I asked my husband why he thought Hashem was sending the rains- what have we done differently to deserve them all of a sudden? I am sure that attitudes of ahavat yisroel such as these are the reasons for the Gishmai Bracha we have been receiving.

    Maybe the rain comes so that women will dress with tznius, and men will be less shovavim.

  28. no way was that response serious.

    sarcastic in a very slight, discreet way

  29. bohr,

    I dont know. Maybe the fact that WE ARE IN WINTER and this is the rainy season might explain why rains are falling?

    Just a thought.

  30. TO the other anonymous,

    You ask why should you be considerate of other people.

    You should be able to whatever you feel like doing regardless of how it affects other poeple.

    I could think of so many ways to demostrate how this thinking is wrong I do not know where to begin so I will just leave it to the reader to understand this for his/her self.

    And this of besides the fact that Halokha does impose tzniyus for just that reason - to minimize the natural male reaction to women (pritzuta d'gavrei). And no it is not referring to rape as someone 'brilliantly' assumed, there are 2 lavim.

    One is 'lo taturu' the other is 'v'nishmartem'.

    Both refer to looking at women for the natuarl and 'unobtrusive' pleasure such looking gives men.

    It boggles the mind to see the elitist attitude that looks down on anyone who sruggles with looking at woman who are dressed to kill. One is tempted to draw the conclusion that such people either a) have no temptation to look at them (a contention that flies in the face of basic common sense, and if that is not enough try Freud. Or How does Madison avenue sell anything? Or Holywood get people to see movies? No the millions of men who drool over SI have no issues with wanting to look at women in a sexual way)

    b) Have basocally decided that it is easier to deal with the tempatation by simply giving in all the time and just not worrying about it. IOW, pschologically I will be healthier if instead of fretting over my natural lusts I will be better off just indulging them and sneer at anyone who tries to say there is something wrong with that as a prude. This attitude I believe falls under the category of mumar l'tayovon

    Last word: if you comment on this please take account that the issue is 'looking at women' for pleasure and thinking about them that way even if momentarily. For all this falls under the category of the 2 biblical prohibitions mentioned above.

    Not rape. or spending a whole day fantacizing. ( of course some men do have problems with this too, there is a reason why the porn industry is one of the biggest industries in the US today. apparently alota lotta men have issues with thinking about women. To be doing so is not 'crazy' and rather is very very natural)

    there were some other comments made that were distortions that need to be reponded to but maybe a diffretn time when Rafi posts another tznius blog as he most likely will since this has generated a high volume of action. ;-)

  31. anon of 5:42 - your ramblings, while quite entertaining, make no sense at all.

    EVERYONE knows that someone can be covered from HEAD to TOE and still be dressed in a very provocative manner..at the same time, someone else can be dressed in a manner which you deride as not tznius, yet in all practically is very modest and demure. For example, women's dress slacks are extremely tznius and quite elegant. A long denim skirt with short socks is NO BIG DEAL, yet according to the tznius restrictions in place, is totally unacceptable.

    Dressing in a classy manner has absolutely nothing to do with the tznius restrictions that apparently you find acceptable.

    And guess what? the majority of the world's men (who live in free societies) do not go into hysterics when seeing an exposed leg (gasp) or some other benign body part. It seems that YOU have been conditioned to view that as a grave sin. In fact, the majority of the world's men don't even pay attention to these things unless a woman goes out of her way to make herself stand out.

    Why don't you ask yourselves why the majority of the civilized world is able to function properly and engage in civil discourse without these endless restrictions on their women?

    What you are saying is tantamount to 'she deserved it for dressing that way'. These are not the words of a responsible adult.

    Please grow up.

    one more thing, for all you male joggers out there. It is really unfair for you to be parading through the streets in your short shorts. Some woman might be unable to contain herself.

  32. anon - it seems we pretty much always relate to women as not having the same problem controlling themselves as men do...

  33. Rafi, doesn't that bother you? Aren't you insulted by the notion that you are not enough of a responsible civilized human being to restrain yourself from lunging at every woman?

    Talk about treating pple like little children....

  34. Much of the obsession and very public discussions about tznius are, in my humble opinion, "lo-tzanua". Men meeting, talking, and writing publicly about how women dress, what they're wearing, or anything of the sort is just a flimsy excuse for some to indulge in discussions regarding things they can't "legitimately" discuss. I have been in situations where kollel people have commented to me about tznius issues in a way that frankly made my me blush. But it's all "kosher" because it's fighting the good fight for tznius. The yetzer horah never had it so good!

  35. The ultimate...I bought Cheerios at Shefa Shuk.

    The mother in the family picture on the back has been covered with a sticker...HELP US!!!!

  36. it doesnt bother me because I know I dont feel the need or urge to lunge at every woman I see in the street. I feel bad for them though that they do have that urge...

  37. Cereal Stalker said...

    The ultimate...I bought Cheerios at Shefa Shuk.

    The mother in the family picture on the back has been covered with a sticker...HELP US!!!!


  38. It seems to me that tzniut is the new avodah zarah, sacrifices and all.

  39. could be. all our problems are blamed on tzniyut, and all our successes are credited to tzniyut....


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