I understand that the way women dress in ballet dances would certainly be considered indecent exposure, or not tznius, but if the context is not meant to evoke lust but beauty, is the exposure of extra skin still ossur?

  • 2
    Reminds me of the "photography clubs" of the fifties, when one certain subject of this art was far more popular than all the others. Jun 24, 2021 at 17:03
  • Lichorah this is assur because of al tismach yisrael el gil be'amim. I.e. sure you could taanah it is culture, not prosstkeit, but the culture itself is assur.
    – pcoz
    Jun 25, 2021 at 0:26
  • Thank you! Toda rabbah. Jun 25, 2021 at 2:16

1 Answer 1


The Talmud (Avoda Zara 20a) prohibits intentionally gazing at any woman; even if the gazing is only in order to appreciate her beauty.

This is codified in the Ramabam (Issurei Bi'ah 21:2):

והמסתכל אפילו באצבע קטנה של אשה ונתכוון להנות כמי שנסתכל במקום התורף

Someone who gazes at even a woman's small finger, and intends to derive pleasure from it, is considered as if he had gazed at her genital area.

The same language is also codified in the Shulchan Aruch (EH 21:1).

  • 1
    Notably though the prohibition doesn't apply to most people
    – Double AA
    Jun 25, 2021 at 0:25
  • @DoubleAA "The prohibition doesn't apply to most people"??? What are you talking about? Jun 25, 2021 at 0:46
  • 3
    Is "appreciate her beauty" the same thing as "intends to derive pleasure"?
    – Alex
    Jun 25, 2021 at 0:51
  • 2
    IsraelReader @DoubleAA is referring to the slight majority of the population which is female.
    – Isaac Moses
    Jun 25, 2021 at 2:22
  • 1
    See also in Berakhot 24a Jun 25, 2021 at 5:52

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