Sunday, May 21, 2017

Some Particulars on Chassidic Tznius

Different groups have different strengths. In my view, the Chassidim are the leaders in tznius. It isn't just the women for the men are tznius too in the long black coats and hats, even outdoors in the summer. But obviously with women putting together tznius outfits is more complicated. Heaven forgive me but I investigated the topic, speaking to some people, and here's what I have concluced regarding Chassidic women and tznius at least as we see it in Israel.

1. Elegance. They look classy and well put together. There's nothing frumpy about Chassidic dress.
2. The secret is in the skirt. I think everything builds from there. The skirts are always well below the knee. There's no near knee incidents, no need to tug at the skirt nervously to get it to reach the knee. The skirts are not made from clingy material. No lycra type stuff. It's thick cotton or wool and synthetic with a backing material. They are never tight. Usually the color is dark, maybe brown, maybe black.
3. Once the skirt is simple, they have more leeway with the tops, which generally are quite colorful and full of designs like paisley, but always neck to wrists and never tight. Sometimes you get a simple shirt and then the skirt might have a pattern on it.
4. To attain elegance they double up on the tops. They won't just wear a t-shirt. They'll wear a dress shirt with a sweater. Or a pullover with a necklace. Or a blouse with a vest.
5. Hair is either fully covered or a short sheitel with a hat of some kind. The scarves can be quite colorful. With unmarried women the hair is always tied and never too long.
6. No high heels.
7. That's the clothing part. Then there's the conduct which is dignified just as it is with the men. They don't block sidewalks, don't shout down the block, don't raise their voices. Generally, they mind their own business. One gets the sense of inner worlds, more going on inside because there is less noise outside.

The result is something amazing, something holy, and something beautiful. We all can learn from Chassidim.

Now one does not have to be a Chassid to dress this way. One time I was in a park and saw what I figured could only be Chassidic women and then when I saw the father realized they were Charedi yeshivish people. And I'm not saying that Chassidish style is the only way to be tznius. The women in the burkas are even more tznius but their style is not Chassidish. (I know some say that they are not tznius because they draw attention to themselves, but I really don't agree with that. The first time you see it it draws your attention. After a time or two, you don't notice really, and in times of great sin one is permitted to go entirely the other way. And there is precedent for it. See the Mishnah in Shabbos about the quantity of eye makeup that constitutes carrying.) Anyway, the point is that we can all learn something from the Chassidim on this matter and many others.


  1. The above is rank generalization, which does not necessarily accord with reality.

    When will we see a post on what Chasidim can learn from non Chasidim on a Hasidic website? Or even in general. Or is this a one way street?

    1. Everybody has already learned from Hirsch, that is everybody with a beis yaakov.