Tuesday, May 7, 2013

It's a Modest, Modest World

For this installment, we have two great questions about issues that fall under modesty or tzniut in Judaism. (Note: tzanua or anav is the adjective form, meaning modest.) We'll start out at the head and end up at the toe!

Hair covering - do you cover all the time? At home alone? What about at home with just the family? What if you were hanging out with just a bunch of women, with no chance of a man interrupting you?
I can count on one hand the number of times I've gone around my house alone without my head covered, and there are zero times countable that I've been at home with the family or in a group of women and not covered my hair. A good example of this is earlier this week at the Pre-Shavuot Sushi Night here in Neve Daniel -- not a dude in sight, and plenty of women were taking off their tichels to try on new scarves to buy, but not me. I'm the kind of gal who will try a tichel on on top of other scarves. It's just my way.

This is the tichel I purchased at sushi night!

Consistency allows me to feel completely comfortable when I am covering all the time, and the truth is I really do love covering. For me, the sentiment from Micah 6:8 to walk humbly with HaShem is something that I try to enact at all times, and it shows that it really isn't about the involvement of a man in my hair-covering experience.
Hi Chaviva. (Great blog btw.) I live in a charedi community in Eretz Yisrael where the custom is for us to wear stockings outside (in the 36 degree Celsius heat) all year round, and most of us also in the house also. I have seen that some communities do differ in this opinion - what is the stance of your community?  How do you find tznius and Eretz Yisrael in your time here so far?
This writer (thanks!) also included a link to an interesting piece from the Rav Kook perspective on stockings, which says the following,
... in regards to the part of the leg below the knee, the halacha depends on the custom of the place: if it is the custom to cover it, it must be covered. If not, it need not be covered. In practice, since the majority of ‘poskim’ are stringent, it is preferable to act in this way. A woman who chooses to be lenient is permitted, for she has reputable sources to rely on.

To be completely honest, the entire concept of stockings isn't something I've thought much on in the past, mostly because where I grew up (non-Jewishly), stockings were meant for two things: winter and dressy occasions. For some reason, my mental place for stockings and tights is still in that place. Where I lived in Teaneck, Denver, and now in Neve Daniel, the standard of the community seems to be stocking-less in the summer and various observances in the winter. Some people wear leggings and others wear tights. Until very recently, I couldn't find a comfortable pair of tights so would often wear leggings under a long skirt or leggings with heavy socks over it.

So far, there is definitely a much more clear community dividing line than places I've lived in the U.S. as far as what people wear. Looking around the room at the Sushi Night earlier this week, I realized how very similar everyone in Neve Daniel dresses. It's very flowy, simple casual but put together, and the hair-covering style is up my alley (tichels, tichels, tichels). Although there is a certain set of women who wear pants and short sleeve shirts, it doesn't seem to be the norm here.

What do you think about stockings in the dead of summer and covering all the time? Have a related question or something off the wall? Just ask!