Reader-submitted: There’s just no Heter

opinionHonestly, I don’t care which town you moved in from, but to move into Lakewood and start flaunting things which are completely against Halacha, is just wrong.

I am referring to sights I recently witnessed at our local shops and grocery stores – sights that don’t belong seen in Lakewood. And that is the tremendous breach of Tznius by some of the women shoppers. And I’m not talking about Minhagim, I’m talking about absolute Halacha.

When I brought this topic up to an old-time Lakewood friend, his answer really bothered me. “This is the new Lakewood, nothing we can do about it” was his answer. I disagree.

I think the Rabbanim of each Shul need to bring this to the attention of their Mispallelim so we can stop the Michshal before it gets worse. There’s no reason men who go shopping need to be exposed to these types of Michshalim in Lakewood.

Thank you.

A concerned Lakewood businessman.

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  1. Cut it out blaming outsiders, the dress mode of the Lakewood natives is no different, or possibly even worse. Stop being self-absorbed to think our local chinuch is so perfect.

  2. I agree with you.

    The frumkeit in our Torah community is going down and getting worse by the day. Lakewood has gone from a Torah town to a business city of Brooklyn NJ removing the Kedusha of ruchnius from the community. Of the rabbonim don’t put their foot down now soon there will be no sign of Torah left and it will be time to move BMG to an out of town community for people devoted to Torah is it was in Lakewood until 10 years ago.

  3. I agree that the lack of tznius anywhere, Lakewood or any other town is a problem. And not just for men but for ladies too. Especially young ladies that are easily influenced by their peers. However passing judgement is also a problem. Not everyone was brought up religious. Some are clueless. Some are on the way up but not there yet. Asifas are nice and all but only effective if they actually come. I don’t have an answer. Just daven for them and daven for yourself.

  4. Look, what are you going to do, there are a lot of people moving here that are on a low level of Yiddishkeit at best. They probably don’t even have Rabbonim. My suggestion is as follows, instead of banning them, shunning them, making posters about them or kinusses, why don’t we instead reach out to them, create shuls where theyll feel comfortable, make sure their kids are getting a good chinuch will have an affect on the entire family, make aure they have chavrusas each day,many of these people are broken neshomos, some of them baalei teshuva and some who have come a long way and are very slowly returning, דרכה דרכי נועם
    I think that’s the better way to go ( but you’re right, I am also horrified at times)
    I firmly believe thatif thisnis happening , then its a sign we have to take a deeper look into ourselves.

  5. Are we talking about thins that are subjective (too tight, eye catching etc.) or areas that need to be covered al up Halacha according to ALL shittos? If the former unfortunately it’s an uphill battle to convince people that it’s not acceptable. If the latter then Rabbonim should strongly speak up and any stores selling such articles should be called out for it.

  6. It’s not our place to be busy with other people’s Tznius there are much bigger issues than that and the only.people we could change is ourselves.

    • so wrong. you can then say that about everything. what is “the thing” we need to discuss. stop sweeping everything under the rug with the “bigger problems” excuse

  7. @Moe, as someone who grew up here, I know the way the children are brought up. And we were brought up- each and every boy and girl- that tznius and torah are #1. There was no 2 ways about it. You dress tznius, and you set aside time for learning. Over the last 7 or so years, it has all changed. I see it with my own younger siblings. We are not passing judgement. The author of this letter is correct in saying what he did. Once Lakewood became the new melting pot (your all welcome here, just live here, instead of moving your hometown here) things changed.

  8. for all those that are bothered by people that may not be on the same level as themselves, fix yourselves(including myself) before you attempt to fix others

    • why is this not trying to fix himself?? why cant he go shopping for shabbos and yomtov without the nissyonos caused by the yidden around him??

  9. Maybe its the other way around. Maybe these people werent accepted and (moderated) and maybe dont want to be as stringent as a way of rebelling a bit. Whether thats right or wrong your lack of dan lkaf zchus is very telling!!

  10. The only people to blame are the husband’s if a wife knew that it bothered her husband she would never dress that way besides why would you want someone staring at your wife. The only logical reason someone would want his wife looking that way is lack of self confidence in his decision to marry her, so men man up and stand by your decision to marry the woman who you thought was perfect for you!!

    • Rav Ephraim Wachsman told a maaseh that a yungerman went to Rav Shach and said that he really wants his wife to improve her tznius, but she is unwilling. Rav Shach replied, that a wife will inherently do the ratzon of her husband (the implication was that the yungerman did not “really” want the change). “The husband’s pride should be his wife’s tznius; the wife’s pride should be her husband’s Torah learning.”

  11. I am a BT and moved here from out of the NY area. I must say that I was shocked at the lack of tznius here. I did not imagine that such a thing could exist in Lakewood. I know that no community is totally immune to anything, but with almost all of us having some affiliation with BMG and virtually all at least being “black hat types”, I thought basic levels of tznius were implied. I have spoken with Roshei Yeshiva about it. How do I explain to my 6 year old daughter why little Chayala’s tatty has a beard and learns all day, but she and her mommy don’t dress tznius? There is no good answer.

  12. Yes I was also judgmental….oh of course I didn’t say anything but in my mind I didn’t think anything less….until my own children were not dressed yeshivish anymore and then I saw them for who they really were. The way people dress is a small part of them! Yes,it is an issue but look at the middos,don’t judge ppl by how they dress! There’s so much more you can see if you look a little better!
    Be friendly, be positive and when those same people will be your friends you will have a different opinion of them!

    • i try every time to stop what im doing and say a kapitul tihilim when i see a post asking the tzibur to do so. if even one lady stops and considers to dress a little more like the bas yisroel that she is, even one time before going out…..dayainu

  13. Like your Rabbi Friend told you – Nothing to do.

    Why would the newcomers listen to Rabbonim when you yourself turn
    around and say ” I disagree” in response to what a rabbi told you?

    Ah. The answer was not what you expected.

    Why would you think others would say “I agree” to a Rov when they don’t like his psak or hadracha?

    ‘Ki’de’amri Inshe’ look in the mirror.

  14. As I’m a long time Lakewood resident, I also miss the old Lakewood for many, many reasons. But Lakewood isn’t a concept anymore. Lakewood is a place. You can’t tell people to raise their level of tznius or frumkeit in general just because they live in Lakewood. Yes, this is the new Lakewood as your friend said. People can live wherever they want and they can live the way they want. If rabbonim want to speak up about it it should be because of Kovod Shamayim, not the Kovod of Lakewood. Do I wish things were better? You bet! I am also shocked at breaches of Tznius and halacha. But we want all Yidden, including ourselves, to improve (even bein adam lechaveiro) because that is what Hashem wants. Not because this is Lakewood and Lakewood is a better place. That’s just not the way Lakewood is anymore. Face it.

  15. For all the naysayrs comments. Rachmana litzlon your wrong.The tznius and kedusha in our machaneh has a real and most impactfull effect on each yochid and of course community and klall Yisroel. There isn’t much more of importance than this issue. Yes we are a litvish town with different approaches than the chasidim. But any pirtzas in a mokom Torah like ours cannot be tolerated. Its of great importance that every chareidi lidvar Hashem be moicheh and in that zchus Hshm will have rachmunus on us and wipe away the ruchos rois. For all those who think we have bigger broblems to be busy with as a community, you simply don’t understand how things work with our am hanivchar- our nation. When the Torah says vihaya machanecha kodosh…and we’ll be zocheh to all good things; it works just that way. Its not complicated or rocket science it just requires some mesiras nefesh. As a tziber were up to the task and bezras Hashem will be matzliach.

    As as a side note I respectfully ask of the lakewood scoop to consider another method of revenue than to display the accompanying ads that are generated by outside sources. These ads or images often times do not rise to our representive information venues standards, The choshuv lakewood scoop.

  16. We have had multiple tznius asifas in recent years and my feeling is that they come up short because to a large degree they are “preaching to the choir”- the people who are coming to listen already have an appreciation for the issue. It is also hard to convince people to change even when confronting them with the severity of the issue or telling them frightening stories. Over many decades I have seen that changes in tznius observance happens when people are inspired to grow in their ruchniyus. Only then do the Halachos of tznius find a receptive audience. I would suggest that the only way to address this problem is to have plenty of inspiring, growth oriented shiurim (and primarily NOT tznius shiurim) for the women in the community on a regular basis. That, and perhaps more of a focus on uplifting, inspirational, and meaningful messages about tznius in our schools are the only way we will have a meaningful impact in this area.

  17. Even if those need to implement change in their own homes it needs to be the tide of the community that is mechazaik for the inyan of kedusha. When the tide is going against its more difficult to implement change within our own homes. That’s why we need to speak up in a unified voice and be mispallel, very much for or own sake.

  18. While I won’t speak for the old Lakewood per say, I think we can speak for klall yisroel as a whole. BH over the past 100 years we have made tremendous strides in the area of tznuis. No longer do we fight for no mixed dancing or no short sleeves which use to be the norm. Noone would dare have mixed swimming nowdays either.Even 30/40 years ago many shiduchim were made via mingling not a shadchan.

    I am not coming to judge past generations who were greater and stronger than us in so many ways. But lets not ignore or belittle our generation by knocking its tznuis standards. We are the most tznuis despite the dirty streets. Lets build on those strides in a positive manner.

  19. MEN. If we work on ourselves and suggest to our spouses that perhaps what you’re wearing is a “bit inappropriate” our wives would listen. and chas v’shalom if we say opposite. THIS IS THE TRUTH AND WE ALL KNOW IT. STOP BLAMING THE WIVES. The MEN can stop it.

  20. The only way is to inspire people by being non judgmental and realize that not everybody is on the same level. You can’t change everyone else you can just change yourself by being an example.

  21. Eli is right on the money, the only way to control Tznius is to inspire people to have Yiras shomayim we are not nearly doing enough to outreach and inspire

  22. finally, someone saying something about this crazy issue, and I am a women! I’m embarrassed for these people whenever I see them. Lack of tznius is totally out of control in this town!!!

  23. What about an office where a male boss sits in the same office with a female employee. Not always is the conversation business related.

  24. I don’t think your being judgemental by asking a woman not to pull her snood back 4 inches, cover her knees or not to wear tight fitting clothing. Even if they did have a troubled childhood or life… Does not give them an excuse to dress that way!

  25. As the generation move on it only gets worse and worse you have to accept these nesyonos (tests) if you noticed NY has only got way worse in the past 10 years. And about 150 years ago women wouldn’t walk around in the streets. If they did they were fully covered… were all Jewish people no one can say who deserves to live here or not. If you have a problem with it. That means you have to learn more Torah because looking out to much.

  26. If you can’t control yourself, stay home. Men and women. Most places deliver even if you don’t have the internet, just make a call.

    • With all due respect, your response is plain immature. There is something called “the evil inclination” or “Yetzer Horah” This reality is very stong and not easy to win over. “Control Yourself!” is a great idea but not as simple as you put it.

      • Yes. But demanding that a store not have female cashiers at a general store or women not being allowed in a store after certain time is not called for either. There is a certain point where you are “expected to control yourself.”

  27. ‘change yourself and you have changed the world.’ There are all kinds of ppl out there of all different types and backgrounds.. you cannot possibly change them.

  28. To the editors at TLS: please stop publishing articles with no details as you are not properly explaining to the readers what’s going on. The same thing you did with the article about a “development” predator problem on Sunday. Vague write-ups leave the reader wondering and guessing what the issues are. Thanks

  29. As a old timer Lakewood (close to 20 years) Unfortunately nothing to do about this situation… Hurts me too but unfortunately this is it… Lakewood turned into NY, specially the new stores that are putting ONLY women as the registers… Who ever though Lakewood will come to this… the only solution is the hashgacha, Why is the local hashgacha giving a hechser on these stores? They should say; excuse me, this Lakewood​ not NY, switch to normal registers! I can only say it this way: I guess we lost the level of Lakewood​ forever.

  30. i do not understand this rush to run after non jewish styles, a person could dress tsnius and be very fashionable, it is how you put yourself together. a person could dress with below the knee and tsnius tops and be very posh.

  31. To A Lamdin,i dont know how to say this in a nicer way but if you have the need to hear more “details” on this story and what exactly the “predator in the development” did, then maybe its time to have your filter on your phone removed. That will be a much better way to fill that insatiable need to get more details on these topics. For the rest of us its more than enough details.

  32. Plain pain for Hashem and all of His children that have stooped so low – and lots of them that don’t even realize it. This includes myself. While I am a single person and not really in a capacity to do much – I can do something – and I do!
    I try to say a perek of Tehillim or just turn my eyes upwards towards Hashem as to say – I feel so bad and embarrassed that this is what’s going on….I was a very proud Lakewooder. Grew up here and watched things change faster than fast…..One semi comforting thought which in no way gives a right to anyone to do something neged Halacha whether on purpose or just an extraordinary powerful yetzer hara that can’t be controlled – and that is that Moshiach is going to be revealed very very soon. It just has to be. We have been taught that Moshiach is either going to come when all the people are righteous or the opposite…..
    Whatever pain those of us that are lucky enough to still understand that there is a deep breach in morality on every single level and have some sense of wrong and right – try to think for one second the pain that Hashem has. Yes, Hashem is in pain. The schechina is in pain. Turn the pain into a tefilla.
    May Hashem have mercy on us all. May he protect us all and help us all draw closer to Him.

  33. Perhaps it should bother us more were Yiddishkeit is holding not were “Lakewood of old” moved to. Perhaps placing handbooks encouraging a more refined dress, written in language that can be appreciated by those who view all this as Yeshivish rhetoric, would accomplish more than Machoah on TLS. Perhaps written by a Rav in Flatbush/ Five Towns.

  34. The honest truth is that most woman do not realize the impact they have on their surroundings. Everyone has a opinion , hence so many comments. The author is not referring to woman who don’t wear wigs made out of horsehair. For anyone that lifts their eyes on the street he is referring to serious breaches of tznius.long she sheitels is one thing ,but skirts way above the knee is another.and so is pulling back a snood and so is clothing that is so tight (moderated). The latest trend of uncovered elbows doesn’t either pass muster of a chumra. These are serious problems and I’m sure that most woman who doll it are 100 percent “chapless”.
    If they don’t know what tznius really is about other than to look like queen Elizabeth lol, than they won’t dress tznius. Simple.educate .

  35. There is no heter?
    As far as I know there is no consensus in the poskim as to what are the gedarim to tznius. There are shitos both extremes and everywhere in between. Many poskim say that it depends on the minhag hamokom. The halachos of tznius are obscure and vague. Your posek can say a diyuk in a rashi in sotah is psak halacha and another will say it isn’t.
    I personally, have never seen an obviously frum woman, that les man depallig is prutzah (Yes, I’ve never seen burkas in town).
    All in all, there are many dei’os in tznius and there’s very little ‘absolute halacha’. I feel very sorry that these things irk you, hey, there’s always Meah Shearim

  36. I live in Lakewood for over 20 years and adhere with the tznius protocols nicely, not because I’m better than anyone, it’s just because I don’t have a yetzer Hara to do otherwise. I am not from Broolyn and I enjoy what all newcomers have to offer. i work in the community and meet lots of people on a daily basis. I come home in awe every day at the wonderful actions of the people in our community. I feel very privileged to live in this growing community and happy to embrace and have newcomers join.

  37. Just putting a slightly different twist to this. My wife complained to a store owner about the styles here trying to match what is sold in NY. He laughed at her and told her that the styles in Lakewood are worse than NY. I think we need to stop blaming NY and others for our issues. This is a LAKEWOOD issue.

  38. I work in NY and the tznius in NY is at a way lower level than Lakewood.

    That said, I think that the vast majority of the women are keeping halacha, even if they can do a better job at “tznius”.

    And here goes an unpopular view:

    I am in awe of 99.5% of the women in town as they are all maintaining some level of tznius. Ashrecha!.

    Let’s see the men keep some tznius, e.g., not drive the fanciest cars, etc.

  39. How and just why will Mexico pay for the wall? I believe exactly what will happen is that the
    US will build and pay and Mexico will be sanctioned or have a trade embargo imposed
    until they pay

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