Q & A: Tznius

Dear Inside Out,

I was just wondering what you think the right approach is in talking to girls who are frum girls, but can’t seem to find the beautiful meaning in tznius? How should one explain to them these important things?

-Yosef

Dear Yosef,

So good of you to write. Good question! Of course, both frum girls and not frum girls alike struggle with the mitvah of tznius (modesty). It is indeed a difficult mitzvah.

In my opinion the message is the same. If girls, whether frum or not, recognize that they are ultimately a soul and that the truest, deepest part of who they are is hidden within, then they should be aware of the need to emphasize the inside over the outside.

There is a very strong yetzer hara (evil inclination or non-mitzvah doing pull) against dressing tznius. With fashions being what they are and with a girls need to fit in and to express herself, it is very difficult to dress modestly and put ones looks to the side. I also love fashion and it can be hard for me at times too, with all the styles seen on the streets.  However there is something to be said about making tznius personal and that’s what I advise girls to do.

I would say to these girls to take one small step at a time. Not to become a long black skirt, turtleneck wearing Rebbetzin that they can’t relate to, but to take on one thing. If they could commit to just wearing a skirt instead of pants, maybe they would see that they still feel like themselves and fashionable in a skirt they like! Too many times girls think dressing tznius means dressing ugly, but it doesn’t have to. There are so many ways to make a “regular skirt” a tznius one and there are so many fashionable skirts and tops on the market that just happen to be tznius.

The last thing I would say is: this is what G-d wants from us. At the end if the day, we want a relationship with G-d. Just like we can’t have a good relationship with our spouse if we constantly ignore his request to keep our alarm clocks on vibrate or to take out the trash in the evenings, we can’t have a good relationship with G-d if we ignore his heed to cover our bodies and focus on our souls. Hashem does for us constantly and this is what he asks of us. The least we can do is try. Any steps we make towards tznius is a step we make closer to our ultimate goal of coming close to our Creator.

Let me know of anything else I can do to help! I’m happy to speak with or shop with any girls who would like!

From my soul to yours,

Ashley

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Our Everlasting Soul: Connecting with the Mikveh during the High Holidays

mikveh

Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are a time for refreshing. They mark the start of the new Jewish year and they give us an opportunity to wipe away our sins and reconnect to the Creator.

Similarly, the mikveh is a refreshing for our souls. When a woman goes to the mikveh each month, she has the opportunity to look within and analyze herself. She asks herself questions, such as, did I improve myself this month? Have I focused more on what is important to me this month? Have I worked on my marriage? On my relationship with my children? With G-d?

When a woman goes to the mikveh, it is a time to spiritually wipe away sins and hit the refresh button. She hits the refresh button on herself, on her marriage, and on her relationship with G-d. In this experience, she gets to start again. She gets to re-experience herself as a woman, as a Jew, and as a wife and mother. She gets to re-relate to herself and her essence. It is a day for inner revitalizing.

I am recently married and when I first learned of the mikveh experience I was a little hesitant. I would have to dip into a pool of natural waters each month completely naked?! It seemed unconscionable and contradictory to what it meant to be a Jewish woman. However, it is very much so in line with being a Jewish woman. A Jewish woman is primarily and constantly focused inward and on her soul. She recognizes she is a divine being with a divine mission in this world. She knows her body and her clothes are just externals and temporary- but her soul, her essence, is real and everlasting.

When I experience the mikveh, I remember this- my body is temporary, my soul is eternal. My first few experiences have been deeply spiritual and overall self-awakening. Each time at the mikveh I have a chance to introspect and connect. I take time just to myself, and remember who I am and what I am doing here. I am a soul.

On the High Holidays, we also have this chance. We reconnect and realign ourselves with who we are and what we’re doing here. We ask for a relationship with King of the World and we make sure we are worthy of one as well. It is in this time of the year, we remember: I am a soul. I have a mission in this world; a purpose. On these days, we concentrate on our actions and recognize a moment with a potential for spiritual change is upon us. We want to take advantage of these opportunities to enhance ourselves and our relationships. We want to make this special moment (the one of the High Holidays and the one of the mikveh day) everlasting.

May we use these opportunities to reconnect to ourselves, to our spouses, and to our Creator and may we remember, forever, we are a soul.