Dec 8, 2010

What Is Appropriate Dress At A Wedding?

What is considered appropriate dress at a wedding, or any simcha? You know, when you get that invitation to a simcha with that request on it to come dressed "appropriately" or according to tzniyus standards.. So what is considered appropriate will really depend on whatever the person doing the inviting had in mind, as every person will have a different set of standards in mind.

MYNET is reporting on a wedding of a couple from Mea Shearim with an unusual wedding invitation. While it has become fairly common to see on wedding invitations a small announcement that guests should come dressed modestly, sometimes with details of what is appropriate, that small announcement is now being ramped up.

The next level is here. As it happens, when people move to the right and think of new chumras and demands, eventually it becomes mainstream. Now it is standard enough to request tzanua dress at a simcha, and the next level is to request (actually demand) that [female] guests come wearing "shals" (like a shawl, but a bit different. in Hebrew it is spelled שאל). Now it is just a small number of people, but if they keep it up, it will catch on more and more (many people will begin to feel inadequate and less frum, so they will follow suit), and may eventually become standard as well.

So the report goes that they printed on the invitation that guests should come dressed tzanua, and wear the shal. It also added that doing so will please the holy shechina, and in the merit of the righteous women we will be redeemed.

According to the guest who spoke to MYNET, this was put on the invitation despite the fact that all the invitees themselves are Haredim, so there is no issue of the women being dressed inappropriately, and the venue for the wedding is one where the men and women are in completely separate halls, plus they covered up all the windows in the womens hall, so no men would see the women anyway.

As an aside, MYNET notes another interesting Mea Shearim wedding coming up where the bride, the kallah, is 22 and the groom, the chosson, is 17. The reason it took so long for this alte maidel to find her zivug is because of her demand that after she marry she would insist on wearing a shal and a raala (a.k.a. a burqa).

Over the top.

19 comments:

  1. Is it really over the top? Look around at our wonderful community of people who feel that the Judaism that they were raised in just isn't good enough. More chumros and new Torahs.

    And yet...the Judaism of their "modern" parents produced a generation of fine ehrlicher yidden.

    And our generation of chumros and holier than thou?

    We are giving the world more drop outs,drug addicts, alcoholics and molestors than ever before.

    So no Rafi insisting on shals isn't over the top..it's a preview of upcoming attractions.

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  2. Why does it have to be mandatory? If one is dressed tzenua, covered and not tight, why should they become "religiously pressured" to adopt what others think? I don't know why we should become 'lemmings' and crawl under tents to counter promiscuity, and obnoxious behavior by some deranged men?

    I don't believe that promiscuously dressed women cause men to abuse men and children. It is written in a midrash that after Adam was separated from Chava, he indulged in an unseemly act (not elaborating more). So it was from withdrawing and not from connecting.

    These are serious issues that need discussion and clarity.

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  3. When people invite me to an event and tell me what to wear, I generally decline the invitation. That means that I don't attend "black tie" events or I attend in a suit and tie. And more recently I don't even wear a suit and tie (as all my suits and ties are 15+ years old), just nice pants and a long-sleeve white shirt.

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  4. Neshama it depends whether the majority who don't "do" shals, will feel like it's a courtesy to wear them at these events anyway or will ignore the request.

    Imagine picking your kids up from school and being the only one wearing normal clothing, all the other ladies in long fleece robes.

    (Although I have to admit that was my husband's example when explaining why he didn't want to be part of a parent body expected to wear black & while all week long, and I just didn't relate to the example at the time.....)

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  5. I agree. this will set the tone for the future, if it is allowed to continue. It will start small, but some people will feel less secure because they are made to feel lesss frum. They will slowly start doign this. Then there will be others that will give in to the peer pressure of the group, as they are somehow peripherally connected, maybe via the neighborhood they live in or schools that might have a few parents that do this, or other places.
    Then there will be those who succumb to other pressures, some more direct and some less so.

    Regardless of how it exactly happens, the way the frum community moves rightward shows that they will become more and more accepted and more and more mainstream unless the community stops them, or at least voice its opposition.

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  6. it is over the top, but why don't we look at our own communities or ourselves? Are there things that we do that are "over the top"?
    Are there areas where perhaps we are too lax?
    Perhaps people would like to write what they think could be fixed in their own communites.

    I will start with a few:

    Laxity:
    1. honesty
    2. treating spouses and children appropriately
    3. using time wisely. should be more time on learning, chesed, family responsibilities.
    4. being efficient at work
    5. respecting other's property.
    6.being too judgemental

    Overly stringent:
    1. Kashrus
    2. spending a fortune on arba minim
    3. staying in yeshiva when no longer appropriate
    4. too strict on what everyone else does,as opposed to focusing on our own behavior

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  7. spending a fortune on arba minim

    This year my husband went to a different arba minim sale than usual - something around 100 nis a set. The seller who was there said the next night he'd be at a more charedi location, and the same sets would be at least 200 nis because that's the anticipated price scale in those communities.

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  8. while it didnt work out for various reasons, I had been planning on selling lulavim and esrogim this past sukkos. The supplier I was going to be working with, while planning the details, told me that if I am selling ni the charedi market, what I need to do is have 3 levels of esrogim. the "best" at 300, then 2 levels down, maybe 200 and 100. Every time you sell a 300, you take one of the others and move it into the box of 300.

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  9. These arba minim stories give me such a warm and fuzzy feeling!

    I buy my set each year for far below 100 NIS and have taken it to "mumchim" who say it looks amazing.

    In most (agreed not all) you're not getting anything more for paying more.

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  10. Seems like my 4 minim comment generated some discussion. By the way it isn't just the money, but also the amount of time some people spend.
    Since nobody else added to my list, I think I'll add some more:

    Laxity:
    1. sincerity in prayer and berachos.
    2. tzenius! (including showing off that voluptuous esrog that you bought for 300 shekel even though it was really worth 100). [See also stringency list below.]
    3. Talking in shul. It just doesn't seem to go away!

    Overly Stringent:
    1. Tzenius! (Yes I know it is on both lists. Think about it. and by the way IMHO tzenius in dress is included among other things on both lists.
    2. Pesach cleaning.

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  11. I'm confused is a shaw like a shaw a bubby wears or is it like a burka ?

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  12. think of it like a burqa, but not covering the face. sometimes it has a head attachment where it goes over the head but leaves the face exposed, and sometimes it does not go over the head.

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  13. I am appalled by this recent turn of events. I am certainly not looking forward to having to wear such a thing while walking the streets of Meah Shearim or attending weddings, so if this becomes accepted I just won't go to those places anymore.

    I also don't think that dressing like an Arab is more tzanua and as a matter of fact it poses a security risk since it is easier to send an Arab woman hiding a bomb into Jewish neighborhoods that way.

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  14. Come on, guys. I'm normally very critical of this kind of behavior, but if the wedding is in Mea Shearim, then they can ask what they want. I've been to several Haredi weddings lately where some women were dressed so provocatively, that I was surprised that no one said anything. Sheitels down to their tushes, skin tight dresses and mega high heels. Not what I was taught in seminary. Made me want to grab a "shal".

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  15. So, lets get some facts in order.
    1. There are two types of "shawls"
    2. The one in the picture is a body shawl. That is designed to cover the womens silhouette from the shoulders down.
    3. Then there is a head shwal. Think of its as something you would see an old russian "babushka" wearing. It gets tied under the chin, but has enough length to cover the shoulders and basically overlap the body shawl. It is designed to hide the silhouette of the head/shoulders. It is similar in design to a Hijab, not a burqa (which is one piece from the top of the head down to at least the waist)
    4. I hate to disappoint everyone, but I have a copy of the wedding invitation in front of me. While most of the guest were the type of people that wear shawls nowhere does it say/hint/request/demand any dress code of any sort. THERE IS NO MENTION OF DRESS CODE ANYWHERE ON THE INVITATION
    5. there were plenty of guests that didn't wear shawls at all. There wasn't even a lack of wigs.
    6. The source of this story is likely a disgruntled employee, namely a female waitress that was told by management that should would not be able to work that night if she was wearing only pants

    Sorry to ruin the fun, but if you actually check out the facts you'll find that all the "sahwl people" are just plain people like you and I that prefer to be more machmir in a certain area. Is there something worng with that?

    O

    p.s. here is another disappointment: while most of their practices are stringencies, they are all well rooted in halacha. So while we may not have to follow them, there is nothing wrong with trying!

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  16. Orange: And you know it is the same wedding how?

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  17. Orange, how do you know the article refers to the wedding you went to?

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  18. Orange - anybody and everybody can do what they want. As long as they keep it to themselves. As soon as they start promoting their chumra and telling other people that they must keep it as well, that is when others have the right to protest. And the shawl and burqa people promote their chumra very strongly.

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  19. @Rafi G. If they tell other people what to do, then there is a problem. However, that problem would be with their outlook at life (in general) and their attitude towards other people - NOT in the actually wearing of a shawl (as many would like to believe).

    @mother in Israel - based on the dates, order of events, and comments from people (good point though). What I do know as a fact, is that the wedding I'm talking about was by the creme de le creme of shawl-ers, and that if someone would want to launch a personal attack, they would be the mostly likely targets

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