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MODERN ORTHODOXY-----tznius vs. loshon horah

Q: Please explain to me why the Yeshiva system reject us Modern Orthodox as goyim because our girls wear pants and skirts shorter than they do, but they do not care all that much about the dirt in their own back yard - such as adultery, financial scandals, and yes, loshon horah.

We're talking pick and choose about which Mitzvot you like, and that's not Judaism. Short skirts are no worse than what goes on in the Yeshiva community.

A: The communities that are rejected (as unacceptable, not as unJewish, by the way) because of their short skirts or mixed swimming pools are not rejected because of the sins themselves, but because they officially believe in such behavior.

If you speak Loshon Horah you violate the Torah. But if you say "I see nothing wrong with short skirts", you're disagreeing with the Torah.

It's like 2 people who are caught speeding. the first comes to court and says "Yes I was speeding, and I did it because I wanted to get home early". He's guilty, no question.

But the other says to the judge "I think there's nothing wrong with speeding". He's not only speeding, he's revolting against the authority of the court.

When someone speaks Loshon Horah he is violating the Torah. When someone says "I don't see anything wrong with mixed swimming" he is rebelling against its authority.

When someone does a sin because he "doesn't think there's anything wrong with it" it becomes a different sin. A very severe one. If an entire community does it, the Rambam calls it "Ir Hanidachas".

That's why, he says, Yehoshua wanted to annihilate the tribes of Dan, Reuven, and 1/2 of Menashe for bringing sacrifices outside of Shiloh. The sacrifices weren't a capital crime. But a community getting together deciding "We don't think there's anything wrong with bringing sacrifices outside of Shiloh" is. It's Ir Hanidachas.

Another example: The Akeidas Yitzchok tells of a problem his community was having (about 500 years ago). There were many who were involved in adulterous relationships. Some rabbis suggested a solution: They should institutionalize Pilagshim. Even though they are prohibited, they are better than adultery.

But the idea was quickly abandoned - because even though adultery is worse than concubines, when the community officially allows concubines, the sin is magnified a thousand fold, as the institutionalization of sin takes on a life of its own, becoming a sin in itself.

So two people can do the same act but be guilty of different sins. The one who sins because he wants money or pleasure is guilty of whatever sin he did. But the one who sins because he "doesn't see anything wrong" with it is disagreeing with G-d: And that is a different sin altogether: Kefirah (denying the Torah).

That is what distinguishes one sin from the next.

Moderator: what I always saw as the difference between "modern" and "frum" is whether or not the person is interested in Torah growth. Does that fit in with what you were saying? Because I see it that once they resign themselves to doing an aveira saying that it's okay, they are stunting their own personal growth in Torah, am I right?

In my opinion before a girl starts worrying about the length of her skirt she should worry about what's on the inside. Does she act tzniut?

I know plenty of bais yaakov girls who wear skirts down to their ankles but talk to guys about ervah. On the other hand I know plenty of bnei akiva girls to whom the length of their skirt doesn't matter so much as to what's inside. They act in a derech of tzniut.

It says in yeshyahu that god does not care so much about the korban as he does about the feelings behind it. same with tzniut. god does not care so much about skirt lengths of slits as he does about the feelings behind it


The idea is not so much a willingness to grow or not to grow. If someone wants to grow, but disagrees with a Torah principle or a Halachah, like he says "I want to grow a lot, in many areas, but I will not accept the prohibition against mixed swimming" then that is apikorsus. But someone who accepts the Torah's rules is not.

Even if this person, too, would go mixed swimming, which of course is prohibited, he will not say "I don't believe in this prohibition". Rather, he will say "I am doing a sin. I have a Yetzer Horah and it bested me. Life is a struggle, and I pray that next time I will win against the Yeter Horah". Even if he is not really interested in growing, he still accepts the Torah's standards. He and his community does not consider the sin acceptable. It's not an excuse, but his sin is far different than the person who disagrees with the Torah.

It depends on your philosophy more than your acts. The Mishna Brurah rules (almost word for word out of the Sefer Hachinuch, although he does not quote it by name) that any idea which is against the Torah's thinking (Daas Torah) is apikursos.


There is no question that long skirts are not ALL there is to Tznius, but nobody will justify ervah talk by saying "it's what's inside that counts". It's your disagreeing with the Torah, by justifying an aveirah that is a bigger problem than the aveirah itself. Long skirts are a clear Halachic requirement. To say that it doesn't matter because it's not on the inside is declaring against the Halachah, which says it does matter.

You are correct that it is necessary to act Tniusdik as well as dress Tzniusdik, but to use that as an excuse not to dress Tzniusdik is kefirah against the Torah. And if an entire community decides that it is not important, they are creating an organized rebellion against the Torah, an Ir HaNidachas.

Your comparison to Karbonos is an error. It is true that a personal kavanah is vital to the acceptance of a korban, but that rule is only l'chumrah, meaning that it adds an extra requirement of kavanah to the korban. It does not apply l'kulah. It does not negate the Halachos of the physical korbon itself. If someone brings a Korbon of trash with the best intentions it is still not a korbon.

So, too, acting Tzniusdik is vital but it is an additional requirement to proper dress; it does not replace it.

But besides all that, I would question your assumption to begin with. What makes you say that because clothing is worn on the outside, that the halachos that rule over it are any less important than what you would call "inside" Halachos?

Would you say the same thing about Tefillin? Isn't Tefillin worn only on the outside? Would you say that it doesn't matter so much what a person wears during davening, as long as his davening is with Kavannah? Or the begadim of the Kohen Gadol? For a woman, Tzniusdik clothing is her Tefillin, her Bigdei Kehunah. They have not been given intrinsic holiness like Tefillin, but the wearer does become holy upon wearing them. Kedushas Yisroel in the Torah refers most directly to Tznius.

But you are correct in that it is not enough to wear proper clothes, you must act properly as well. But if there is a discrepancy between the clothing and the behavior, the solution is not to do away with the clothing; it is to correct the behavior.

But the real question is would g-d really accept a hippo as a korban just because the feelings behind it were genuine? or maybe someone with genuine feelings would not bring a hippo as a korban?

The question isn't weather he would accept a hippo but weather we would accept a korban with a mum. From the story of kamtza and bar kamtza we see that there were rabbis that said yes he would accept it.


G-d does not accept a korbon with a mum, nor a hippo. R. Zachariah ben Avkilus (in the kamtza-b.k. story) should have sacrificed the animal anyway because of pikuach nefesh.

moderator ... I disagree with what u said before about if someone decides they want to grow in torah but not listen to the rule about mixed swimming.... everyone is on different levels and u have to start somewhere and also if someone starts one something they will probably decide to grow more and eventually will say for ex that "mixed swimming" is wrong. I don’t think that a person is an apicores for saying that its ok. you shouldn’t judge ppl like that.


I think you misunderstand what I said. It's true that everyone has to start from somewhere -- so if someone says "I know mixed swimming is wrong but I have to start from somewhere since I'm not on that level yet" that's one thing. But if they say there is nothing wrong with mixed swimming, that's another story altogether. Changing the Halachah to say mixed swimming is OK is kefirah.

yeah I agree, I mean I'm not talking about disagreeing with an halacha and saying its allowed but everyone judges people by the way they dress. its like the most important thing. u can be really good, don’t talk to boys, davven and everything but if u dressy 'prust' then ur considered bad. I mean tznius is important but the inside DOES count more then the outside. I mean they both count but the inside is definitely more important.


Tzniusis NOT "outside" any more than putting on Tefillin is "outside" for a man. It is a Mitzvah like any other mitzvah and affects your neshomah, which is "inside", as much as any other sin. A woman's dress code of tznius is the same as the man's dress code of Tefillin in the morning, which nobody would say is less important since Tefillin is worn on the outside. It is an error to look at Tznius as "on the outside".

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