Ladies, to your closets!
Posted by lchaimlover on May 30, 2007
As we all well know, in our society, modesty is not a virtue. Skin, gossip, and sex are commodities that are highly valued among Western Society. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good love scene as much as the next gal (my personal fav is from Cold Mountain, whew) but upon perusing 1500 pages of tomes all with the subtitle, “How to be a Jew”, I learned that Jewish values stand out from Western values in more ways than just bar mitzvahs.
Bette Davis as Queen Jezebel. Jezebel means “Chaste” and “Modest”.
The Torah tells us that when Hashem came to get us in Egypt, the only thing that made us different from the Egyptians was our clothes and names. This tells us that Hashem not only values Schwartzes, but also how they dress. Jews dressed different, it’s as simple as that, and this way of dress is called tznius. Now as a girl, I find that this is a bit more troublesome for me, than for baal teshuvah Matisyahu. He, along with all of the other Jewish males get button downs, kippahs, tzistzis, and some dockers, while I had the impression that I was in for turtlenecks and ankle length skirts. I was never very provocative in my dress. I grew up as a country bumpkin who preferred T-shirts and jeans to daisy dukes and tube tops, but still I liked having the choice. And, everyone knows, a woman’s most important weapon is her wardrobe.
Then I entered the “real world” known as the world outside of college. I found you don’t really get so much choice. Jeans give way to “business appropriate attire”. Second, the more I learned more about the laws of tznuis. These weren’t put in place to keep women down, but to elevate them to a level in which they would be respected, not degraded. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been to one too many social events where my chest seemed much more interesting to men then anything I was saying, and I haven’t got anything particularly exciting in that department, I assure you. So, I decided to try it out a little at a time, first some skirts, then maybe some ¾ sleeve shirts, see how it went. I was pleasantly surprised at the response. Friends told me I looked great, much cuter than before (apparently I was plain back then). “Adults” seemed to take me more seriously. And I have never felt awkward in shul. So I “converted” to tznius.
Is this a secret ploy to make all of you Oy Bayettes frumsters? Not really. My personal philosophy is if you’re showing so much skin, you can’t really have anything to say or anything you want to be heard anyhow, but then again, Queen Esther’s motto was “if you’ve got it flaunt it”; then again this was Jezebel’s approach and she just went to the dogs didn’t she? But it appears, according to Newsweek, that people are getting sick of so much skin, and looking for ways to be cute without baring all. Your wardrobe choice is up to you, I just thought I’d share yet another chapter to my story of how I am “surviving” as an Orthodox Jew.