Monday, 26 April 2010

Is This Also Really Tznius?

Originally published 4/26/10, 1:58 pm.
Many, if not most, people assume that the Muslim directives concerning female modesty are inherently similar to the Torah directives of tzniut in regard to female dress. There are, of course, Muslims that are more stringent and those who are less so -- but this spectrum of disagreement is also mirrored in the Jewish world as well. The perception is that the basic concept is the same.
Looking at the following article, this understanding, I believe, may be challenged.
This "suggestion" is, in my opinion, not just an indication of a more stringent view -- that happens not to be found within the world of Torah but theoretically could be as the basic underlying concept is the same -- but, rather, points to a fundamental difference between Muslim modesty and the concept of tzniut. The fact that people can think that both are really one and the same concept, to me, shows a lack of understanding of what tzniut really is.
For those who may be interested in my view of tzniut, I have a series of shiurim on the topic at

Rabbi Ben Hecht


Garnel Ironheart said...

On the other hand, I would propose that many of the new chumros in tznius in the Jewish community in the last 10 years come from the Chareidim discovering that the Taliban are "frummer" than they are and trying to play "catch up"

Rabbi Ben Hecht said...

To further my point, I should mention that I once wrote an article for the Nishma Introspection entitled "Gracefulness" which is the word I try to use when I need a translation for tznius. This should give some indication of how I understand this Torah concept.

Unfortunately, this article is not available on line but if someone wishes a copy, just contact the Nishma office through our website,

ubu-roi said...

The ultra-fundamentalist Irani regime never obliged women to cover their faces.

However, women in pro-US saudi arabia or formerly communist yemen do cover their faces...