What is the most efficient way of teaching tznius?ֿ
Now this gentleman I can tell you is not asking for himself because he has a very frum home; he’s asking because he wants to teach people in general.
The best way to teach tznius if you’re talking to intelligent people – of course if you’re talking to non-intelligent people there are other approaches – but to intellectual people tznius is a sign of superiority. And I’ll explain that.
Once upon a time when our forefathers were in Europe it was common sense that a woman did not expose her body; at least not more than a man does! Which man exposed his chest? Today you find men who do it but no men did it then. The women surely didn’t! Which men exposed their arms? Jews didn’t expose their arms. Women surely didn’t!
So how did it happen that today it’s considered decent and even formal dress? You know that today formal dress for a woman means almost naked. A man in formal dress is like a knight in a coat of armor; he sometimes has a wing collar with a neck tie and he has a tight tuxedo and a white shirt. They used to wear starched shirts; maybe they still do. And of course he wears pants. He’s dressed from head to foot. But his lady companion, it’s terrible! It looks like she’s about to take a bath.
Not only formal dress. Why is it that you see in the street, here’s a man who’s not a tzaddik, he’s in fact not even a Jew; he’s walking down the avenue and he’s fully dressed; but his girlfriend or his wife is fully – I won’t say dressed; she’s fully or almost fully undressed. Almost undressed! What’s the reason? There must be something to it.
You’ll say that the body temperature of women is different from that of men? Maybe, but that’s not enough of a reason to account for it.
How did this silliness happen?
The answer is it’s the result of an adverse education, an adverse training. It’s a training that has been instilled in the minds of American women and to some extent West European women; but American women more. It’s been instilled in their minds that it’s a nice thing, it’s a proper thing, to expose the female body. That’s what’s been taught to them; that the exposing of the female body is a nice thing. And so because people have no brains they allow themselves to be indoctrinated by wicked propaganda and they think it’s nice.
And therefore it’s important for every intelligent person to realize that the more a woman reveals her body, the more she resembles a horse. A horse is the ideal picture of revealing the body. And so a woman who goes out like that, she’s imitating the horse. And on the other hand, the more the body is covered, the closer you are to humanity. The more you cover up, the more superior you are.
Now, even if you’re not interested in the answer for the more intelligent people, it’s common sense anyhow. It just can’t be helped because human nature is human nature and women who are dressed immodestly are causing harm. A woman who is not dressed modestly, it’s actually a wickedness, a form of a nuisance. A woman should feel that she is a public nuisance if she isn’t properly dressed. I’m not talking about the many sins that she commits by appearing like that in the presence of men; she’s simply a nuisance. And therefore Jews consider it very bad manners, extremely bad manners, for a woman to expose part of her body.
And so a woman can serve Hakodosh Boruch Hu by means of tznius. Not only is she demonstrating her superiority but when she covers up, she is actually serving Hakodosh Boruch Hu. And she is going to be rewarded with a great many good things in life as a reward.
TAPE # 91 (September 1975)