I have heard the idea that the concept of tsnius, or modesty, for women is equivalent to the command of Torah study for men. Once, I overheard this in a conversation between two men, one of whom I recall mentioning a source.

What is the source for this idea? How is it understood?

  • I have heard this idea expressed by Rabbi Yossi Mizrachi in his lectures on Shidduchim (in terms of what to look for in a man v. woman). But I guess you're looking for an earlier source (if not I can provide a link). – yydl Mar 23 '14 at 0:51
  • @yydl any source will do! I also recall this not being what we'd think of as a chazalic idea. I'm also editing question to ask for a bit of explanation. – Baby Seal Mar 23 '14 at 0:53
  • Tzniut sounds a lot more like Tzitzit to me. Constant mitzvot of clothing. – Double AA Mar 23 '14 at 1:26

Rabbi Yehuda Herzl Henkin, shlita, mentions that quotation on page 37 of his essay "Contemporary Tseni'ut" (Tradition Fall 2003), disagreeing with it quite sharply. He says it's found in Rabbi Falk's Oz VeHadar Levusha page 40, but I don't know if Rabbi Falk cites anyone on it. So that's a first step.

(I can't help but mention that the family's biography of Rav Moshe Feinstein prefacing Igros Moshe vol. 8 describes his wife Sima. Today if you described how a rebbetzin dressed, the only word you could use would be "tznius." Instead, it says she "was always dressed meticulously and with excellent taste.")

  • Thanks and +1! Would you object to editing in the explanation of the concept, which is as I understand it that tznius and torah study are lifelong pursuits for men and women, respectively? That would fully answer the question, in which I did ask for an understanding of the statement. – Baby Seal Mar 23 '14 at 15:25

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