From the tznius craziness files this week:
Don't Sing So Well...
A young bride moves to Lakewood to be with her husband's family. Her sister-in-law, who is affiliated with a local tznius organization which was sending out a mass-mailing in the community. The mass-mailing was to include a CD with songs sung by women. (I would presume that the mailing was meant only for women.) The sister-in-law recruits the young bride (who apparently has had some voice training) to record a few tracks for the CD. Sister-in-law, who also sings (but not as well as the young bride) also recorded some songs for the track.
So, what happened?
my mother ending up slipping to me, that the tznius organization wasn’t going to be using any of the tracks that I sang on. They loved my voice, it’s beautiful, don’t get them wrong. However, in comparison to my sister-in-laws voice (which is quite nice) mine is much more trained, and since the purpose of the organization is to promote tznius, they didn’t think it was a good idea to have a voice like mine on their cd.
A trained singing voice is not tznius? Keep in mind, we're not talking about a woman singing in front of men, since were that the case, the women would not have recorded any tracks at all. We're talking about women singing in front of women -- and it's still not considered tznius! One wonders where this is headed next. Will women swimming together not be allowed to wear a standard bathing suit because it's not tznius?
(UPDATE 2/25 8:30AM: See below for explanation on this next item)
Your Blog Might Lead To Mixed Dancing
Next up on the hit parade, Altie, of MoVinG oN, a Chabad-Lubavitch female blogger, reports that she received an email from "The Committee for the Furtherance of Jewish Purity" (whomever they may be), telling her that she must close her comments to males and restrict what she writes to things that don't reflect badly on Chabad or Crown Heights. Ideally, of course, it would be better for a Bas Melech to not blog at all, as the idea of a woman expressing her thoughts violates the principle of kol k'vudah bas melech p'nima. As the letter states:
Kol kvuda bas melech pnima. A girl’s purpose is to be a mekabel. Not to overly express herself to the world around her. Al achas kama vkama to express herself in a way that is nontznius, and therefore is a drastic chillul Hashem and chillul shem Lubavtich.
and (emphasis added)
Obviously, to cease to express yourself through the derech of the internet, or bchlal in the world, as stated above: kol kvuda bas melech pnima, that would be the ideal. We hope that one day you will realize this remedy on your own. As for now, we are merely requesting the abovementioned guidelines to follow.
From the positive can be inferred the negative, and we hope that “a word to the wise is sufficient”. We would hope to not have to resort to any unpleasant measures, but of course we will do what must be done.
Interestingly enough, in their next email, they asked her to rat out her "blogging friends."
Incidentally, if you could share with us some information about a few of your 'blogging' friends (which as you know, the Rebbe would be very against having such friendships in the first place. It goes against everything the holy Torah dictates), then your help would show your sincere desire to not cause us to take necessary actions.
The committee would have made ol' Joe McCarthy proud.
The Pop Star Who Came To Lakewood
Moving right along, we have the letter from a store clerk in Lakewood who doctors products when the containers contain non-tznius images... and then catches flack when he or his staff misses one of the thousands of packages. He tells the story of one instance where a package contained an image of a female teen pop-star. The store clerks went to work marking up the containers but apparently missed at least one. A woman who bought a missed package came into the store and made a scene, screaming “What if a boy bought this and took it to another level?”
Took it to another level? What was he going to do? Call Miley Cyrus' agent to arrange a hook-up?
Eventually, the matter went to a local posek who ruled that as long as the images are covered, they can be sold.
The clerk, however, put the problem in focus:
There are so many problems. But no. A picture of a teen pop star was more important to wast the posek’s precious time. We have people dealing drugs to our kids, and this woman convinced the posek that our disposable package with a smiling girl will destroy our kids. I work in a store. I hear all. I know what is going on in this town. There are so many crazy problems. I never once heard someone say their child went off because of a fruit snacks package with a cd offer from M.C
Tznius Is In The Eyebrow Of The Beholder
And lastly, we have the case in Israel where an eyebrow shaping advertisement has drawn the wrath of local officials in Modiin Ilit (in Israel). It seems that the shape of an eyebrow is enough to cause the passions of men to erupt and, as such, the ads are not tznius. As Rafi (from Life In Israel) points out, this is likely to have an economic impact on the women of Modiin Ilit, as cosmotology is a very popular career among the wives of the community.
I always find it amazing how overboard we go with tznius. It's one thing to have rules and guidelines. There should be guidelines for acting and dress (for men AND women). I do believe that there is wisdom in a limited separation of the sexes. But the extremes to which some people carry it are just too much. I've often observed that the very first place we encounter tznius is when the prophet tells us to walk humbly with God. When he told us that, he wasn't advising us regarding skirt lengths, stockings and women singing in public. Do you think the women who caused a scene in the Lakewood grocery was adhering to the principle of Hatzneah Leches Im Hashem Elokecha? I don't think so - on the contrary, I'm convinced her actions were the direct opposite.
UPDATE 2/25 8:30am: Apparently the item on Altie's blog was a hoax. My apologies for posting it.