Monday, June 18, 2012


While an inyun that some might consider "controversial" or "political" I'd much rather stay away from here is something that I felt the need to comment on. Especially since we find poskim that had discussed. In recent time there have been some woman within the Charedi Community (I'd also like to avoid that phrase if possible!) Who have taken an extreme in tznius. For those that live in Eretz Yisrael (b'frat Yerushalayim and Beit Shemesh) have come across these woman from time to time and surely have seen the signs from the Eidah Charedis expressing that this is not the "derech" that woman in Klal Yisrael have went in in the previous generations (of course they have put out kuntresim supporting their dress and position.) However let's put this aside for a moment and look at the historical aspect. 

In a recent post on the Seforim Blog (of which I am an avid reader) Marc Shapiro discussed these woman. He cited many places where it was discussed a dress of woman as it once was that definitely seems similar to the way this group of women dress now a days. He wrote there,

"R. Joseph Messas (Mayim Hayyim, vol. 2, Orah Hayyim no. 140) points out that Shabbat 6:6 refers to Arabian Jewish women going out veiled, which means that their entire face was covered except for their eyes. He also points to Shabbat 8:3: כחול כדי לכחול עין אחת, which as explained in the Talmud refers to those women who were so modest that they were completely veiled, with only one eye showing in order for them to see (see Rashi, ad loc. See also Rashi to Isaiah 3:19.) Messas tells us that in his youth he personally saw Jewish women who dressed like this: וכן ראינו בימי נעורנו. R. Meir Mazuz’s mother testified that brides in Djerba would only show one eye, also for reasons of modesty."

The second point brought here from R' Messas that the woman would cover their entire face besides for one eye can be found in the Gemorah in Shabbos Daf 80a (See here.) Over there the Gemorah is speaking about the shiur that one would be chayiv if they took out "כחול" on Shabbos. The Gemorah explains that the shiur is "עין אחת" since the "tznu'os" would only reveal one eye from there face and  only one eye they would apply this sort of "make-up" (why are these tznius woman even putting make-up on one eye?!) In any case the Gemorah continues (now this seems to be where the Kuntresim stop) 

מיתיבי רבי שמעון בן אלעזר אומר כחול אם לרפואה כדי לכחול עין אחת 
אם לקשט בב' עינים 
תרגמא הילל בריה דר' שמואל בר נחמני כי תניא ההוא בעירניות

Rashi says, 
בעירניות. בנות כפרים אינן צריכות צניעות כל כך שאין שחוק וקלות ראש מצוי שם ועמה מועטין ואינן מכסין פניהם 
וכוחלות ב' עיניהם

The Gemorah had a kasha since we see from R' Shimon Ben Elezar that you are chayiv only when you take out enough for 2 eyes (when it's for make-up.) The Gemorah answers that that was in a certain place like Rashi explains where there wasn't a problem of sochok v'kalos rosh and therefore they didn't need so much tznius (at least not to the extent of the place where they covered their face.) Therefore we see that which people want to say the minhag was that the woman dressed so tznius-dik was in fact yes a minhag and people dressed this like. Although we see from the continuation of the Gemorah and Rashi that there were some places where they didn't dress like that because there was no need for it. Certainly one can't say that it's a halacha, or something that is a chiyuv to dress according some minhagim recorded in Gemorah, Rishonim, and Achronim. The situation we are in now a days I suppose one could argue both ways if there is a need for such "extremes" in Tznius. However that would be getting into a "political" discussion which as I stated I don't want to get into. Only to point out this interesting Gemorah.

No comments: