An open response to the letter posted on TLS last week regarding Tznius.
I want you to know that your letter sparked many a conversation over the course of this past week.
While I am sure that there are many who agree with your opinion, and to be honest when I was younger I was much more vocal about the downgrade in the Tznius level in our community; I do believe that your request from the Morah is unjustified.
First, on a practical level, do you take your child shopping anywhere in Lakewood? Do you take them anywhere Chol Hamoed other than the Bais Medrash? And what about what you’re exposed to when you go to these same places? I am not saying that the standards of Tznius don’t need improvement, what I am saying is that the Morah isn’t the policeman on how parents of 3 year olds dress. If you want a playgroup where the wives dress properly, do your due diligence and find a playgroup that caters to your level of Tznius.
See, its people who are likeminded that in many respects have caused tremendous Sinas Chinum right here in Lakewood.
Twenty years ago the Lakewood Cheder stopped taking in parents who wear colored shirts.
Where’s the Issur in colored shirts? And it is a known fact that parents are calling schools demanding that they don’t accept families who don’t meet their standards. Who do they think they are? I cannot tell you how many beautiful families we have in Klal Yisroel that you would consider “non conforming” and therefore not worthy of sharing the same classroom as your child.
We as a society need to be inclusive of other Yiddin, not exclusive. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have standards. That’s why there are school uniforms and codes of conduct at schools. Of course we all want our schools to have a beautiful parent body made up of people who live on our standard of Yidishkeit, and the way to get there is to be inclusive.
There was a question posed to Rabbi Greenwald of Meohr as to why girls are taught about technology and it’s challenges, and not the boys.
The answer notwithstanding, he made a point that 50 years ago all the Yeshivos had one mission, take in every Jewish child and give them a Geshmack and understanding in Yidishkeit, so they will want to lead a life as an Ehrlich yid.
Today we expect everyone to know what is right on their own and all we teach are rules. Don’t do this and don’t do that. If we don’t educate and inculcate in our children the beauty of being the chosen nation, and for that reason alone we must act and dress modestly, no level of finger pointing is going to change it.
Many of the last generation of Rosh Yeshivos started out in public schools, and even my generation, Pirchei would take us to ball games We actually had non Jewish friends, and many of the kids I grew up with were not Shomer Shabbos. As a matter of fact, Camp Kol Torah which was a pipeline for Telshe yeshiva took the boys to the ballpark.
I know that times were different and the street today is much worse, but we are so fortunate that our kids have so many kosher outlet. The yeshiva boys in New York today still take public transportation, and for those that don’t, they’re still exposed to the ads on the streets they travel. And despite this, we have so many choshuve talmidei chachomim and yirei shomayim who grew up in that environment.
I will end with a famous story about the Satmar Rov Zt”l and R’ Leib Maalin ZT’L.
R’ Leib once went to visit the Satmar Rov and he gave him tremendous Kovod. His chasidim asked him after; but he doesn’t have a beard so why did you show him so much kovod? The Satmar Rov answered, that when R’ Leib comes up to shamayim they will ask him, Yid Yid Vu is dayn burd? But when you come up they will ask, Burd burd vu is dayn Yid?
Enough is enough, we must live be’achdus with our fellow Yiddin even if they aren’t on our level. You can lead by example and show how a Yid should dress and behave, but please stop pointing the finger at everyone else.
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