Questions about the Jewish laws and customs of modesty

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23
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3answers
2k views

What are the sources for women to wear/ not wear pants?

I have heard that the argument is beged ish / kli gever, and I have heard people say that even if that was once a real reason for it it doesn't apply today for various reasons. I understand that the ...
22
votes
16answers
2k views

How to tactfully circumvent opposite-gender handshake

Say you're a man in a professional setting, and a woman who isn't used to dealing with observant Jews stretches out her hand to greet you -- but your practice is to avoid shaking hands even in ...
21
votes
4answers
541 views

Maintaining Tzniut in Uncomfortable Social Situations

How can a teenage girl, who recently started practicing the laws of tzniut as well as feasible, balance those laws with the prohibition against embarrassing her family members, who are embarrassed to ...
17
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4answers
2k views

Shaking hands with the opposite gender?

What's the story: Can a man shake hands with a woman (or vice versa) in a business setting?
17
votes
4answers
552 views

How does an outsider know how to dress for a particular Orthodox community?

Standards of dress (at least for women) aren't nearly as consistent within Orthodoxy as we might wish. Wearing exactly the same halachically-correct clothing I have been under-dressed in some places ...
16
votes
1answer
318 views

The new TSA airport scanners and tznius

Is it OK as per Halacha to go through the new TSA scanners where they see you as if you are naked?
15
votes
1answer
2k views

Mixed swimming in a pool?

What are the issues with mixed swimming, from a tzniut point of view? Does it make a difference if the swimmers are or aren't Jewish? For example, are there issues with me swimming with my wife and a ...
14
votes
3answers
988 views

The laws behind the separation of men and women

In Israel there is a hot debate because of instances on some communities where extra steps are taken to separate men and women in every day life. For example in some bus lines women seat in the back ...
14
votes
3answers
512 views

What's with Rus sleeping over with Boaz?

This question concerns Rus chapter 3, q.v. Why did Rus have to meet him in such an immodest fashion? Specifically: at night, alone, throwing herself at him (spread your cloak...) Why didn't Boaz ...
13
votes
4answers
424 views

Should a woman avoid singing in front of her husband while she is a niddah?

Should a woman avoid singing in front of her husband while she is a niddah? Is it strictly prohibited or just inadvisable? (Obviously I am not talking about deliberately seductive songs.)
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Can you see your wife unclothed?

I think someone in another question here (or on another site?) said he was told by his "chassan teacher" not to look at his wife unclothed. It seems like this is not the real halacha to me, or at ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do divorced or widowed women still need to cover their hair?

I was recently reading the latest edition of Halachically Speaking. It says: A woman who is a widow r”l or divorcee still has an obligation to cover her hair. But why is this so? Why should they ...
13
votes
2answers
516 views

Why is hair sometimes considered *erva* (nakedness) but sometimes not?

Why do people say that the hair of a married woman is considered as nakedness, but not the hair of a single woman? Isn't hair just hair? What if a man grew his hair long - would it also be ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

What are the halachic boundaries between a brother and sister?

Can they touch each other? Hug? Are they allowed to expose their legs, arms, etc., in front of each other? Can they swim together? Dance together?
13
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the original halachic source for a woman covering her collarbones out of modesty (tznius)?

Many contemporary instructions on women's modesty (tznius) say that necklines have to be high enough to cover the collarbones. I can certainly accept that if this is the communal standard, it should ...
13
votes
2answers
504 views

May a man become a gynecologist?

Is there any discussion among the halachic authorities as to whether or not a man can choose to pursue a medical career in gynaecology? The issue that I would presume exists is that unlike other parts ...
12
votes
1answer
378 views

Is it ok for spouses to touch in public?

Are spouses allowed to touch one another in public (when the wife is not a niddah) or is this a violation of tzniut? I am asking specifically regarding touch that is not in any way sexual or even ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

What are “universal minimum” standards of tznius for halachic purposes?

What are the minimum standards of tznius for halachic purposes? By "halachic purposes" I mean Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 75, which forbids praying in the presence of ervah. I am raising the question ...
12
votes
3answers
240 views

The practice of (not) printing pictures of women in magazines and newspapers under religious auspices

I was reading a My Encounter the other week (not available online) which had an interview with the editor of The Moshiach Times. In it he described how the practice of other religious magazines at the ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

Is a mechitza required for dancing at Jewish weddings? Why?

If the men and women aren't dancing together, is it strictly required that there also be a mechitza between them? If so, why? What guidelines would this mechitza have to meet? Or is it simply a smart ...
11
votes
2answers
529 views

What is the conceptual definition of tzniut?

When the concept of tzniut is discussed it is defined as 'modesty' and used overwhelmingly in regard to sexuality. However we know there are other uses for the term such as from the gemarah (Megillah ...
11
votes
6answers
375 views

tznius in the bathroom

It recently came up in a discussion with a friend about the halachos that say that you have to take care only to expose minimal parts of your body while going to the bathroom. Personally, I was ...
11
votes
4answers
670 views

Woman's hair covering in the home or in private

Trying to sort out my question, I came across this one, which is closely related, but it is not an exact duplicate. According to those who say a woman must cover her hair, not just her head (those ...
10
votes
5answers
538 views

How to tell someone about Shomer Negiah

As I'm sure that many of you have had to "break it" to a coworker or friend that you're Shomer Negiah, have you found a strategy or choice of words that seems most effective? As I wasn't raised frum ...
10
votes
4answers
471 views

What's an elegant way to avoid social contact with untzinius or attractive women?

There's times when women I'm attracted to visit our home or are friends of my wife and I don't feel comfortable completely ignoring them or telling my wife to not invite them. I'm not sure how my wife ...
10
votes
2answers
437 views

Halachic Considerations for Women in the IDF

For a religious girl going into the IDF very soon, there are a few questions that are often asked: Especially in active units, wearing a skirt while on base can be a problem: While crawling, ...
10
votes
1answer
303 views

Religiously sensitive guidance on when to tell your child about human reproduction

A boy in cheder who has no internet at home, no tv, etc, is not exposed to human reproduction in the way that others are. It's therefore up to the parents to explain to him how children are born. ...
10
votes
1answer
423 views

How were men allowed to watch an execution?

It says in Maseches Sota (8a) that that if a woman would be punished by stoning, she would be stoned virtually unclothed, and men would be allowed to attend. The Gemara says that there is no concern ...
10
votes
1answer
684 views

Male tzniut: Swimwear

Seeing as summer is coming, I thought I'd clear up a few questions about male tzniut with regards to swimwear. Namely, my real question is: what is required? I live in southern California, so outside ...
10
votes
0answers
64 views

How to determine common practice for halachos that are impacted by it

Certain halachic issues are informed or even determined by the social standards of the (non-Jewish) society in which one lives. Examples include what falls under the prohibition of cross-dressing (see ...
9
votes
7answers
3k views

why do jewish women wear so much black?

Usually, the color white is associated with purity (as indicated by the kittle). I don't know if the opposite color in the spectrum represents the opposite of purity (yes, I know it's not technically ...
9
votes
2answers
370 views

How can I determine if someone is Shomer Negiah?

I am not Shomer Negiah. However, I have been in mixed social situations where I was unsure if the person I was meeting was Shomer Negiah. I don't want to offend anyone, so I'm wondering if there is a ...
9
votes
3answers
389 views

Which authorities approve/disapprove of mixed events for singles?

Some weddings have mixed seating at the reception; some have separate seating. Some organizations and communities encourage or at least allow mixed events for singles; some discourage or forbid them. ...
9
votes
3answers
175 views

How do you explain tzniut to a little girl?

Some Jewish schools have attire guidelines starting in first grade. What is the best way to explain the concept of tzniut to a very young (say first grade) girl without explaining sexuality? Please ...
9
votes
1answer
349 views

Is modesty a positive or negative commandment?

Given that: There are two types of Mitzvoth (commandments), 'Aseh and Lo Ta'aseh (positive and negative; ie., "Thou Shalt" and "Thou Shalt Not"). a. Positive commandments, with some exceptions can ...
9
votes
1answer
499 views

Married woman covering hair

Is it strictly necessary for a married woman to keep her hair covered in the following situations? If not, how important is it? 1) When alone in the house 2) When alone (or with husband) in the ...
9
votes
1answer
142 views

How is Rav Feinstein's psak regarding subway travel and the sexes distinguished today by those wanting to sit separately on buses and planes?

Other questions have been asked about riding public transportation in close proximity with persons of the opposite sex. It was cited that Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt'l, permitted men to ride on crowded ...
8
votes
3answers
336 views

Standing up at the Chuppa when the Kallah passes by

Last night I was at a wedding, and when I stood up as the bride was passing by on the way to the Chuppa, a fellow in all seriousness told me "It is not proper and a lack of Tzniyus to stand up for the ...
8
votes
2answers
542 views

Is swimming unclothed ok?

Historically "bathing suits" are a relatively new phenomenon... all swimming / bathing in rivers / lakes / seas was unclothed. Culturally things have changed but does that affect halacha? There seem ...
8
votes
1answer
216 views

Minimal Body Covering to say Blessings

Can a man say a brachah with just boxer shorts on, or does he need to be fully dressed, for example with a "double covering" like pants, and/or wearing a shirt, when I wake up and want to wash netilat ...
8
votes
1answer
269 views

Neighbors inappropriate mail

If I see a neighbors inappropriate mail, am I allowed to throw it out?
8
votes
1answer
764 views

Can a mother undress in front of her daughter?

Can a married woman with children undress in front of her daughter to try on clothes assuming she would be in undergarments?
8
votes
1answer
391 views

Sheitels or no sheitels - where is the halacha?

With very well respected Rabbis such as Rav Ovadia Yossef clearly stating that wigs (sheitels) are simply assur (forbidden) according to most poskim, while some other very well respected rabbis such ...
8
votes
3answers
151 views

Drinking on the street

Recently it has become common to see ladies walking around the Haredi neighborhoods, specifically the shopping streets of Geula, sipping from an iced coffee in a paper cup. It certainly looks ...
8
votes
1answer
233 views

How do married women whose professions are physically demanding cover their hair?

I'm assuming that somewhere in the world there are observant married women who work as police officers, builders, and other physically demanding jobs where an ordinary scarf, hat, or wig may not stay ...
8
votes
1answer
151 views

Is it halachically acceptable to discuss Torah concerning sexual conduct in a forum like Mi Yodeya?

The Mishna in Chagiga 2:1 rules: אין דורשין בעריות בשלשה One may not expound the laws of forbidden sexual relations before three people The Gemara in Shabbat 33a writes: א"ר חנן בר רבא ...
8
votes
2answers
186 views

May one recite a bracha while in the presence of ervah?

May one recite a bracha while in the presence of ervah? According to Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 75, one may not pray or recite Torah while in the presence of body parts that should be covered. Does ...
7
votes
6answers
3k views

Is there a problem with women wearing red clothing?

I've heard that red clothing is forbidden for women to wear because it's immodest. Some recent psych research confirmed that men are more attracted to women in red. So that means it's prohibited, ...
7
votes
3answers
284 views

Can a Sheitel be made out of one's own hair?

Suppose a married woman is able to create a Sheitel that is entirely made up of her own hair (detached, of course). Does that satisfy the requirement for covering her hair?
7
votes
6answers
321 views

Saying words of prayer or Torah while an immodest photo or drawing is in your field of vision?

The halachah is clear (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 75) that one may not recite Shema, or any other words of Torah or prayer, while in the presence of parts of the human body that should be covered. ...