What is proper modesty for all Jewish women according to Rambam? You know, skirt length, age to cover hair, to cover the neck or not, etc.

  • 3
    You should be aware that the the tseniut requirements according to Rambam are much stricter than the standards according to most other authorities. He requires similar standards to what was traditional among the Arabs of his time. Very few people today follow his standards.
    – mevaqesh
    Jul 22, 2016 at 19:08
  • saniuth is based on local custom and therefore according to the rambom it is based on customs of today. in his time it was based on customs of back then Jul 22, 2016 at 20:22
  • −1 for "You know, skirt length, age to cover hair, to cover the neck or not, etc." because, no, I don't know. Modesty is just covering body parts? I doubt Rambam held that way and I know modern authorities don't.
    – msh210
    Jul 22, 2016 at 20:35
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    @msh210 That seems overly harsh. The OP asks about the certain rules of modesty. If you feel that the English word modesty covers a broader range of activities, fine. The question still stands.
    – mevaqesh
    Jul 22, 2016 at 20:42
  • @mevaqesh, good point. I was assuming that he was referring to tz'nius as that term is traditionally used within Judaism (in which case my comment stands). If instead he was referring to his own definition of the word "modesty", then we of course have no idea what that definition is so (a) "You know" is misplaced (how can we know?) and (b) he should define it for us really well (without the ellipsis inherent in "etc.").
    – msh210
    Jul 22, 2016 at 20:56

1 Answer 1


In Hil. Ishut (24:9), Rambam lists hair covering in public as dat Moshe.

In halakhot 11-12, he lists the requirements of dat Yehudit the behaviour that was customary for Jewish women:

ואיזו היא דת יהודית, הוא מנהג הצניעות שנהגו בנות ישראל; ואלו הן הדברים שאם עשת אחד מהן, עברה על דת יהודית: יוצאה לשוק או למבוי מפולש וראשה פרוע ואין עליה רדיד כשאר הנשים, אף על פי ששיערה מכוסה במטפחת; או שהייתה טווה בשוק, וורד וכיוצא בו כנגד פניה על פדחתה או על לחייה, כדרך שעושות הגויות הפרוצות; או שטווה בשוק, ומראה זרועותיה לבני אדם...

יב עזרא תיקן שתהיה האישה חוגרת בסינר תמיד בתוך ביתה, משום צניעות; ואם לא חגרה--אינה עוברת על דת, ולא הפסידה כתובתה. וכן אם יצתה בראשה פרוע, מחצר לחצר בתוך המבוי--הואיל ושיערה מכוסה במטפחת, אינה עוברת על דת.

That is, dat Yehudit includes wearing a rodheedh besides for a mere head covering, in public, and implies that her arms may not be uncovered in public. Lastly, he cites a requirement to wear a undergarment, even inside.

Additionally, in Hil. Issurei Biah (21:17) he writes:

לא יהלכו בנות ישראל פרועי ראש בשוק, אחת פנויה ואחת אשת איש

That is, neither single nor married women should go out in public with uncovered hair. It is noteworthy that here he does not state that this is an absolute obligation, or what sort of obligation it is, e.g. dat Moshe or dat Yehudit. Also noteworthy, is that he does not mention the rodheedh here.

Related: Hair Covering Before Marriage?

  • Note: unlike a contemporary halakha work, Rambam does not delineate every little detail. The above are the only guidelines he provides that I know of. If anyone knows of additional sources in his writings, please let me know.
    – mevaqesh
    Jul 24, 2016 at 23:25

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