• Op-Ed: What’s the Length of Her Skirt? has received a letter from a distressed mother with a troubling story about Tznius, men and Shidduchim • Full Letter

    Dear Editor,

    Thank you for agreeing to publish this. I was deliberating for a long time whether to share this story with anyone, however, I feel that this is the right thing to do, so here it goes:

    Approximately three months ago, on a Tuesday evening after having put my kids to rest, I was sitting and unwinding after a long day when the phone rang. A man from … (location deleted) was on the phone inquiring about a Shidduch for his son.

    The girl he was inquiring about was the daughter of a close family friend and, therefore, I was in a position to provide accurate information about her.

    I immediately agreed – even though these conversation are never easy – but then ended absolutely regretting it.

    He started off with the usual questions: Where she had learned, who her friends are and what did she want to do in life. Fine, those are reasonable questions.

    Then the conversation started getting really strange as he asked me if she is Tznius – as if it is in the spirit of Tznius for a man to inquire about how a woman dresses. Hesitantly I replied that she is, and hoped that it would end at that.

    However, he then continued asking about the length of her sleeves, and then the final question that got my blood boiling: What is the length of her skirt, and does it cover her knees when she is standing and sitting. Whoa!

    Now, don’t get me wrong: these rules of Tznius are to be obeyed as stated in Shulchan Aruch. However, the same Shulchan Aruch also says that a man should not even glance at the finger of a woman, let alone probe into her wardrobe.

    Perhaps a rule should be made that fathers inquire about the Bochur and mothers about the girl?

    Once again, thank you for publishing this.



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    1. This woman is way off base! If she is offended by such important questions, then obviously men should not learn Hilchos Nidah and other “offensive” “sensitive” topics as well!
      In truth, it would be “nicer” if a woman asked these types of questions, however, it is really perfectly within the realms of tznius for a father to ask as well.

    2. The writer didn’t express herslef correctly. Her issue wasn’t with the question, it was with the person asking it. In her mind, a man should be asking such questions, it should be asked by the young man’s mother or female relative.

    3. In general i agree. However, often times – maybe even more so in our generation – a father has to take a more active role in discerning many vital details in a shidduch for his children. I recommend parents to see what the Rambam writes concerning a man supervising his wife and kids’ moral behavior about these very issues – Hilchos Sota perek 4 last paragraph (with Rambam Le’am)! Furthermore, Rabbi Falk writes in his book Modesty – an adornment for life (an encyclopedia on Tznius over 700 pages and definitely a must for every Chabad home) “although the role of the mother has been stressed, it would be wrong to give the impression that the father is exempt from the chinuch of his daughters concerning clothes and similar matters. In fact the father must always see to it, and if necessary demand, that all halachos and accepted standards of tznius are kept by his daughters.  Just as a father feels a great responsibility to find a good cheder or yeshiva for his sons and constantly keeps a close watch on their progress – so, and no less so, he must ensure that his daughters are given the very best chinuch available. (Excerpt from Oz V’Hadar Levusha by Rabbi Falk p. 92)

    4. True. But it is absolutely inappropiate for a man to be asking another woman these questions…thats his the point

    5. By a kinnus neshei chabad one year (I think 1970) the Rebbe was asked what the theme of the kinnus should be, to which the Rebbe responded Tznius – for the true test of yiras shomayim is uncompromised Tznius head to toe according to Shulchan Aruch. In another Yechidus with Harav Mordecai Shmuel Ashkenazi and his wife, in Tishreiof 5729, the Rebbe said: “אבן-הבוחן ליראת-שמים היא צניעות וטהרה” (The test that is indicative of [the level of one’s]yiras shomayim is tznius and taharah).
      (Printed in HaKfar Shel HaRebbe, Issue 3, Teives 5770)

    6. At least one man understands…most men are so insensitive. common sense!

    7. She is not offended by the questions which she says are legitimate, it is the fact that the man is asking them!

    8. You’re crazy that’s a completely normal proper question
      Her size and looks would be different

      bas chabad
    9. Normal question, just not the correct person. He is asking about Tznius in the most un-Tznius fashion. Hypocrisy at it’s best.

    10. Tznius is the mainstay of a home. A man should know all Halachos as they affect the future of his family. And it’s possible that in that family it’s easier for the father, rather than mother to do the research.

    11. Your comment is so irrelevant to the topic!

      Fed up woman
    12. I would like to commend this woman for speaking out. Men have just lost it…and she has comen and pulled the wool from between their eyes. You cannot care about Tznius and then go about it in the most immodest manner.

    13. THANK YOU THANK YOU! for speaking out.

      Bas melech
    14. I would have shut down the phone on him and said goodbye!

    15. Very easy of you to suggest that she should have shut down the phone, it’s like abuse, you just become silent and do not know what to say.

      reply to suggestion
    16. I think she has a point in that men should speak to men and women to women. That! is Tznius!

    *Only proper comments will be allowed
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