Letter: Tznius

Dear fellow readers,

The following is just my personal opinion, but I feel strongly it needs to be addressed.

For the past week now, I’m watching friends, coworkers and family posting about their midwinter vacations. Some were local trips, while others were full-blown vacations to exotic places.

I’m not here to tell people how to spend their money, but as Yid, I want to bring up the topic of Tznius, V’hatznea Leches.

I’m not referring to Tznius of dressing (that’s a whole different topic), but rather the Tznius in what we do and how we do it.

Yes, children need a break from school and a change of scenery, and I have no problem with people traveling to Florida or any other places for midwinter to give children that break. What I take issue with, is the flaunting it.

Did it ever occur to you that thousands of your friends who are seeing your pictures on social media can’t afford those trips and vacations? Did it ever occur to you that by showing it all off and telling your friends and neighbors all about your extravagant trips hurts others who are less fortunate?

If Hashem blessed you with beautiful families and wealth, that’s a Bracha. But the flaunting it for all to see, and hurting the less-fortunate in the process should be reconsidered.

A simple Lakewood mother.

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53 COMMENTS

  1. To Simple Mother,

    You raise a very interesting and true point regarding the sensitivity needed before posting certain pics on status.

    I recently heard someone bring this up and when I pointed this out to people that were making these posts they appreciated the feedback. Many people didn’t look at this perspective.

    I am sure this letter will be accepted with the intent that you made it.

  2. I disagree, totally.
    If they post it, you have to go click on it. You don’t wanna see it ? Other people get jealous ? Let them not click on it.
    No one sent it to you.
    Don’t go looking to see other peoples vacations.

    • I think its a lifnei eveir. It is very difficult not to click on something staring at you in the face. you are right, we are supposed to do it but is so difficult that it cannot be expected.

  3. Dont have anything to do with social media and posts and your life will obviously be so much simpler! like many thousands who are removed from it!

    • exactly!! the whole point of Instagram and whatsapp and social media is to put on your smile and make believe your life is picture perfect. how are you asking these families to not post these vacations on their statuses. i was walking into a resort and a woman was taking selfies and pictures of everything and the husband says “if its not on Instagram it didn’t happen”
      the biggest victims are the kids who even on these vacation that are so “necessary” and are labeled as “family get togethers” where the family finally has time to spend time together are spent with mom on her phone and demanding her poor children that they pose for this and that so she can feel better with her vain shallow world of social media where she lives. sad. waste.

  4. I totally agree, it’s getting to a point that it puts Pressure on those that can afford to go on vacation to push themselves to spend money they don’t have. Peoples see what other families Are doing from the constant gloating and social media. The pressure puts on people is awful making others put chips on credit cards that they can’t afford to pay off.

  5. The writer is 100% correct. Telling her not to look at social media isn’t a solution to the problem. The attitude of showing off and advertising your life is against our values. To the writer: Don’t be jealous, everyone has their own “peckel” even if it looks rosy on the outside…… hashem should continue to bentch everyone with ashirus, and give them siyata dishmaya to use their money wisely!

  6. No confident satisfied person posts anything unrelated to business or community on any social media . Period

    The only reason people post their personal lives on social media is for approval of others also known as no self-confidence
    If you are comfortable in your own skin you have no reason to post anything personal on social media Excluding business related items

  7. Writer is 100% correct. There’s no reason to post pictures of your trip. I don’t think anyone is really interested in seeing the beautiful pictures of your kids in those backgrounds. That being said to the people looking at these pictures I say cmon! You gotta see past such חיצוניות. I’m sure those trips aren’t making them happy.

  8. The point of the writer of this letter is – addressing the Issur Doryisa of Loag Larash, floating your wealth to those who are in the nissyon of parnassah. Very true point. The same way you shouldn’t run or walk fast in front of a amputatee as you may cause them pain…. you should be sensitive enough to know – poor people are unfortunately on social media – and as a Yid you should have a sensitivity towards those struggling in parnassa…
    Besides all the Issuim Doryisays involved being online in general, flaunting..
    Is Loag Lerash, Yiddin need to be careful about what they post.

  9. Obviously, every part of this letter is true and accurate. Unfortunately, many people who live extravagant lifestyle don’t think much about others (including those closest to them). I find it surprising how so many frum people don’t know some basic Hashkafa- excessive money isn’t always Hashem’s blessing, many people (frum looking people included) are actually “enjoying” their שכר in this world.

  10. I don’t have or follow social media. However, I believe the same is true in regular everyday conversations between neighbors,coworkers etc as well. There is no reason to flaunt where you went,what you bought or any other similar idea. You feel your family needs it? Good,enjoy it! No reason to make others jealous.
    Thank you to the letter writer for bringing this up.

  11. She is 100% right. I just had this discussion with my wife and wrote down the logic of the emotions of this statement.

    Let’s compare 3 scenarios. Someone with a bunch of kids, someone who went to Florida for vacation and someone who is childless.

    The question: Do I have to walk on eggshells because of people who may not have $ for vacations or people who don’t have kids?

    The answer:

    There are a couple of points.
    1) do you have to share your life on social media?

    2) does your society require you to have kids or go to Florida?

    3) how do you figure out if society requires you to do something?

    The answer continued: in statistics there is a term called the mean. This means the average. How do you know what the average is? You take a small portion of ppl and ask them a question. If most people answer one way, that means that is the average way of doing things.

    For example, if your neighborhood has 200 ppl and you ask all 200 if they have kids and most say yes, then the average person in society should have kids.

    For question 1) does the average person post on social media? Probably yes, so then it’s normal to post on social media.

    For question 2) do most people have kids? ProbablyYes. So it’s normal to post about having kids.

    Do most people go to Florida? Probably not. Then it’s not normal to post about going to Florida.

  12. I read your letter with interest and I hear your point! And although I did not go anywhere extraordinary, I look at it totally different! I was raised to be HAPPY for another person! You can’t afford it, or you can’t go for whatever reason, accept it! You don’t need it, it’s not intended for u! I hear that people may not be on that level and that’s why perhaps it’s so hurtful to see! So work on yourself! We are so nervous about kids feeling jealous! Right from the start, we try to control this feeling by having rules from the color of the shoes to the design tights, down to the sweater. and then continuing with Bas Mitzvah rules! When will children ever learn to overcome jealousy!? When their friend gets into the seminary of your choice!? When their neighbor builds a beautiful house!? When their classmate gets chosen for valedictorian?! Why are we not teaching children to be TRULY HAPPY FOR THEIR FRIEND! I feel that by empowering our children to truly accept their lot, teaching them to compliment others, and working on ourselves to look past the images and realize you wouldnt want to switch places, those pictures will do nothing to you! Hatzlacha!!!!

    • Totally agree with simple Mom.
      we made a Birthday party for my daughter in 1st grade. One mother called me to cancel the party because her daughter didn’t have a ride . Later she called the school and “told” that we made a party and her daughter was jealous. Children ( and parents) need to focus inward , we cant control what people post , or what vacations they go on . But we could try to be happy with OUR lot. If we master that then we may even be happy for others!!

      • I wish we can implement this somewhere. Sometimes I think Hashem makes people childless and special needs children and sickness, singles etc to force us to work on this midda. If wed been forced in kg we wldnt have such hard nisyonos!!

  13. Just so you know the other side of the story…. I went on vacation aswell all I spent money on was food and uber everything else was with points…..learn how to accumulate points and you will never be jealous again

    Ps the houses clothes and cars we have in town is a much bigger issue! As its in your face literally

  14. You are 100% correct. Not to mention that all too often the posts themselves are not tzniusdik as it’s photos of the wife/daughters in less than perfect attire, frolicking etc. Which are asur to post on status and other ס”מ.

    Truly happy ppy people don’t have a need to post stuff to pretend to the world that they’re happy. That’s a fact. Most, if not all, who flaunt their “fun life” are in fact the most depressed people out there.

    Nebach.

  15. I laugh at all these people.
    (I’m not on socal media but do get what’s app status updates that I sometimes look at)
    I’m happy for whomever can go away but why would you show the world what you’re doing every second of the day (and it is the world- it’s anyone who ever had your number as a contact!)
    Especially when you have a couple taking pictures. So inappropriate!!

  16. Regardless of the social media aspect, I think it’s important for our children to understand this as well. I went with my family to Florida on a magnificent vacation. It was clear to my children that we do not share this with our friends. If even one person gets jealous it’s better that we don’t go on vacation. If anyone asks, we went away on a family trip and that’s it! Unfortunately, in the world of social media our lives are always about sharing. There’s a boundary that we have lost about tznius. We don’t think twice about what another may think or feel and that gets passed on to our children.

  17. Well written and very valid point.

    However a POINT TO PONDER:
    Your viewpoint is that of “I can’t afford that so why do they need to stick it my face?”. However have you ever thought about feeling happy for others? Perhaps that’s equally as important.

    Just like when a sibling or close friend shares their vacay details/pics you are happy for them. That should be your attitude when seeing others enjoying as well!

  18. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. What would be so terrible if everyone would stay in their own lane in life and not worry about what everyone else is doing? Considerably fewer problems this way, I think. A mazeldig Hodesh Tov to all.

  19. To all those lecturing the writer; while it’s easy for an adult to accept that they can’t afford what others have, try explaining that to her children. I myself am guilty of taking my children across the country on vacation because they come home telling me that “all the kids are doing it”

  20. Waiting over a decade to go on vacation but for many reasons it’s not happening. Seeing couples/family’s
    Vacation pictures all over Instagram
    Or what’s app statuses is destroying
    My marriage. Even if you don’t have the internet you feel like a loser for being the only family never to go away. My daughter’s teacher asked if anyone in the class was NOT going on vacation and she was the only one to raise her hand. I guess some people are just not meant to enjoy the gashmius in this lifetime.

  21. Florida ? Bahamas ? Porto Rico?
    JEALOUS??
    I have social media and a couple of dollars
    and I think and I’m sure all of u feel the same that these places are just not a place for a frum person to be especially for ur children no matter how much u need to get away
    Period !
    Enjoy ur vacations but just remember to at least try to do what’s right

  22. Thank you for this letter. We teach our children “There will always be someone who has more than you and someone who has less than you. Just be happy and grateful for the blessings that Hashem has given you”. Point is well taken and I totally agree with you. However, the same time I work on remembering that I have exactly what I’m supposed to have and others the same. I’m learning to be happy for others who have “more” blessings than us. It’s hard but a better solution than jealousy.

  23. I just took my family on an expensive vacation. I spent about $50,000 on luxurious hotels, fine wine, the bests cuisines yacht rentals etc. I toured the most gorgeous sites. If only you all could have experienced what I experienced. It was worth every 100 dollar bill that I casually spit out. And yet, I would never flaunt all of this on social media. I am not a show off, nor do I want you all to envy my luxurious lifestyle. So I keep it these vacations to myself in the belief that staying humble, and not flaunting my incredible riches and lifestyle is the best practice. Just wanted to say my piece. I even took a break from studying the manual on my brand new Lamborghini to speak my mind on this topic…….
    Ughhhh. I don’t know about this car; it might not be for me; should have bought the Rolls Royce.

    • Finally! Someone who gets it! Your comment hit the jackpot.
      I pulled over on my Ford Windstar to write this. I hope it will start again

  24. On a different note about posting pics, a chashuva rav once told me on the topic of posting pics and somewhat more relevant about couples posting but can be for families too “the more they have on the outside, the less they have on the inside”… No explanation needed

  25. @wealthy humbleman,
    Ummm, you’re aware that you are boasting on here and this is a form of social media?

    Idk if your post is satire, but if it’s true, are you aware that many Lakewood families don’t have enough money for basic food for shabbos?

    Just wanted to put that out there as you casually waste your money on every indulgence you can get your hands on

  26. The letter writers point was not to air her personal gripes of jealousy It was a valid point
    Whatever is in excess is a indication of a malfunction for example unnecessarily pushing hard is a indication of a malfunction .
    The guilt and malfunction expressed in all the “good reasons “albeit not the “true ones “
    The sly condescending comments against the writers point
    The uppercase lettering in rage ,all point to the truthful point of the author

    Is there a further need to publicize a genuine contentfull moment one had ?
    Can such a type of shallowness enhance the genuine and contentful moment one had ?

  27. After returning from the Tropics yiddin have every right to show off and advertise the little vacation that they enjoyed
    Those that didn’t go should enjoy seeing pictures and videos of those places and not be jealous, 1 and 2 year olds get very jealous.
    Many yidden today are successful and are worth hundreds of millions, they build homes which cost more than most people earn during their entire life and I enjoy the beauty of them with zero jealousy.

  28. Lakewood issues. (or large Frum community issues.)

    Grew up in town to a simple home. Live currently out of town in a simple home.

    I have no issues of people posting pics etc of their nice vacations. In fact I enjoy it. I see what’s out their without the need for me to do the travelling and spending the money. Maybe that is why I like to watch travel vlogs on certain sites.

    If someone invites me to a fancy wedding I enjoy it immensely. I feel no pressure at all to do the same when it comes to my children to be married. It seems from I have read over the years in the Yated etc I am in the minority with my thinking.

    I was taught as a kid not to be jealous of others, and do not fall for peer pressure. My kids are the same. I understand this is easier said then done for some.

    You need to know who you are. Be yourselves. Don’t be something you are not to impress your friends. You will be much more content and happier.

  29. @wealthy humble man
    May you continue to enjoy your blessings in good health – was always curious about the people that live your lifestyle, what their final resting place looks like? Is there a special cemetery with luxurious graves? Maybe a larger size spot so it shouldn’t be so uncomfortable down there? The only luxury I’m aware of for rich people when they die is a private plane ride to get buried in eretz yisroel.

  30. The title of this letter is Tznius. For me, that’s the main complaint, not the jealousy aspect. I’m of a certain age and I don’t use social media. I do have What’s app for my family & friends and see their statuses. The jealousy is something the jealous person has to work on. It’s a nice madreiga to refrain from flaunting wealth or any other Brachos, but that’s not my main problem with flaunting. I just don’t understand why people want to publicize every move they make, the small things (your meal in a restaurant?!) as well as the big things. It’s kind of pathetic and cringeworthy. And also not tzniusdik, as mentioned in this letter.

  31. בסד
    U right it’s not צניעות
    Personality!!!! the first time I went to Florida was this year in the past I was home Lekwood and let me tell you And tell your kids it’s the first time and last time I’m going it’s a nightmare the flights the Wasting of time theyביטול תורה
    !!!!!!!!!!!! this נהנתנות It’s totally disgusting right we have nice pictures I didn’t publish them nowhere because I’m not proud that I took my kids to this vacation only did it because the pressure of the other kids stories all of those years .
    and to go back to school after this extreme vacation it’s also not so good for my kids so don’t make people jealous and there is nothing to be jealous the smart people staying in Lakewood and the real תורה people!!!!!not making ביטול תורה !!!!!!!

  32. I agree with this post,
    Not to show off so much and remember about being a tznius, humble Jew.
    I also agree with other comments how we need to learn how to be happy for other people and with our lot.

    But I think this problem stems from another issue.

    I think another major problem comes from the millions of advertisments.
    like enough how much clothing, shoes, cars, newest upgrades, new gorgeous homes, vacations do we NEEEED!?
    This is not the way of a Jew!
    The way we are living in Lakewood is such a big chillul Hashem and this is definitely causing more anti semitsm for us.

    I’m all for being happy for the other person and being happy with what you have,
    but to those ppl that do have the money
    (or don’t and pretend they do have $ to “fit in”)

    BE HAPPY WITH WHAT YOU HAVE!

    Enough! Lakewood has gone too far, it’s disgusting what’s going on with everyone needing the newest xyz and the chasing money and talking about it like that’s the most important goal and thing in life!

    I’m actually embarrassed what Lakewood has become, seriously enough with your flashing what you have!

    I think it’s time to move back to Israel where all this garbage isn’t their priorities.

    I know Lakewood has many beautiful things but the gashmius/materialism is taking over big time!

  33. Wow. Watch yourself.
    Lakewood is amazing!
    For every amazing thing they are in the world they have to be an equal amount of bad to it too. Watch your Loshon Horah.
    And yes Watch out, there are people looking at this that can make an Ayin Horah or/and cause even a greater Chillul Hashem.
    How can you course a place rooted with Chessed, with many Tzadikim, filled with hundreds learning round the clock.

    YOU CAN GO BACK TO ISRAEL, if you can’t focus on the positive of Yidden. Yes some do live lifes running after things but thats NOT WHAT LAKEWOOD EQUALS.

  34. Dear Mr H,
    I’m not cursing anyone, so please calm down.

    I’m pointing out that the materialism here has gotten wayy out of hand especially for a place full of so much good, We should live up to that standard.

    But you’re right, I should try to focus on the positives of Lakewood and that’s an interesting point
    “where there is good, comes equal bad”
    Unfortunately the gashmius is so bright and blinding that it’s everywhere I turn.
    but you are definitely right, I need to try to focus on the plenty of good here!

    Btw If I couldn’t see the good in Jews, I wouldn’t choose to live in Israel where the country is so full of Yidden and open positivity and love.
    I was comparing that over there there’s a lot less materialism (and plenty of greatness, so we have hope!????)

  35. I love Lakewood and am amazed constantly at the chesed and wonderful people that this town is filled with. However, for people that want to live a less gashmius life,
    Israel is definitely the place to be.
    If I could afford to live there I would go in a heartbeat.

  36. I understand that the original writer is frustrated that her lifestyle cannot match those pictures of little snapshots of other people’s lives. However, that is how media works. If you don’t like it, don’t go on there but it isn’t your responsibility to to be the modesty police. Social media only shows us what the poster wants us to see, perfect moments. Its ignorant to think that every moment of one’s life is what you see on Instagram. It doesn’t look good on you to be lecturing others, just giving another perspective.

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