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Book on modesty


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http://books.google.ca/books/about/%CA% ... edir_esc=y

Since there are some modesty-related threads today, I've posted the link to this book online. There are some Hebrew/Yiddish terms that I'd be happy to translate, but you can understand most of without them.

I'm posting this because:

1. It's way more comprehensive than any mere article, covering all aspects from technical details to attitudes

2. While it was written by a rabbi from a more hardline community, I've noticed this book being recommended on online forums for Jewish women and its influence it growing.

3. At the same time, there is also a growing backlash upon Orthodox Jewish women to this book, because the tone is so offensive and because the author in some places simply makes up new rules.

4. It's the easiest way to show, using a first-hand source, the problems that I have with the growing modesty trend, even though I'm an Orthodox Jewish woman who chooses to dress fairly modestly.

5. It's a prime illustration of the issue from the mind of a fundamentalist who is quick to blame women for the sexual issues of men and be hostile toward those who don't tow the line.

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I am a pretty modestly-dressing (by 'contemporary' standards) non-Orthodox Jew. I do think modesty is an important concept, both inside and outside. I also think that modesty is a very relative concept, one that is difficult to capture in hard and fast rules.

I know that book. It's pretty... hardcore. And he makes up many new chumrot. It's a big hit in the Chareidi community.

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"Hardcore" is putting it nicely.

Here are some WTF excerpts:

p. 38 - "the greatest spiritual height a woman can reach, is in matters of tznius (modesty)" Think about that - he's saying that no other good deeds will come before hiding yourself.

p. 63 - "dressing with tzniut ensures a woman's safety" since "the secular news is replete with tragedies caused by women not taking due care". In case you miss the subtlety of blaming the rape victim, in the chapter on upper arms he explicitly says on p. 292 that in Genesis, Dina was raped because her upper arms were exposed.

p. 55 - it doesn't matter if the Bible clearly states that Rebecca wore a nose ring, it's still disgusting for someone to wear one today

p. 112 A wife should dress to please her husband, so he doesn't go lusting after other women.

p. 126 Merely seeing something immodest is a form of contact that can contaminate a person

p. 130 Newspapers and public libraries with children's books are highly dangerous

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Ah yes, Rabbi Falk!! Thought it might be when I opened the link.

One of the trends I find interesting is the idea that in addition to the actual rules (and even a bunch of concretely written down chumras) there's the idea that if something is fashionable, or flattering at all, or possibly in style somewhere, it's forbidden for being "modern." So your skirt can't be too short, but wait! can't be too long either because that stands out, etc. You wear a wig, but wait! Can't be too long.

It's interesting to read the threads where people discuss old prewar photographs, where extremely religious women (and men, for that matter) are wearing things they would NEVER be permitted to wear now. In that way, it's another one of these "we say it's traditional, but really our version of culture is a newly created thing" things.

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I think this is the one that states that pregnant women should attire themselves in a mumu because the bump may be "immodest" . FEH!

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OK, so by 'pretty hardcore' I meant 'damn crazy'. But I was trying to be nice :)

This is also the book that forbids people from wearing denim.

Sad to see the great overlap in fundamentalist themes transcending cultural and religious boundaries.

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