Defining modesty

Defining modesty

Rachel Caplan is quoted in “Weinstein scandal’s ‘Big Bang’ in Orthodox community” (Oct. 19) as saying the messages she received about modesty were that “tzniut was always about stopping men from getting the things they want.”

It’s really unfortunate that there was a transmission error somewhere in the educational process and I wouldn’t want readers to think this was the correct definition of tzniut. In fact, it is a much broader concept which should affect both men and women in all areas of their lives. It is about maintaining a humble and modest lifestyle putting God at the center of our universe rather than ourselves. So it’s not just about dressing in a way that does not call attention to oneself, it’s about living a lifestyle that does not call attention to oneself. 

I believe Rabbi Joseph B: Soloveitchik, z”l, once said that the Jewish people seem to respond better to the challenge of poverty than to the challenge of wealth. I think he was referring specifically to the concept of tzniut. It’s a thought worthy of consideration.

Joel Rich
West Orange

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