Mishlei (Proverbs) 31:22,24

כב מַרְבַדִּים עָשְׂתָה-לָּהּ שֵׁשׁ וְאַרְגָּמָן לְבוּשָׁהּ
כד סָדִין עָשְׂתָה וַתִּמְכֹּר
She made for herself pleasant-looking bed covers; she also made herself white (linen) and purple garments to wear
She manufactured robes and sold them

Immodest Shell Update

Regarding my older post asking the question, "Is Layering Shell Kosher or even Modest?", I am happy to hear that others are of the same opinion.

I would like you to read this open letter posted here.

Here's a snippet of what's written:

The wearing of elastic, tightly fitted, and thin shells as outer garments by women in the Orthodox Jewish community is becoming widespread. In the view of numerous rabbanim with whom I have sought guidance, the shells worn as such often violate laws of tzniusas well as those prohibiting following in the ohudv ,ueuj. I am writing to you to direct your attention to the issue.

Shells originally entered the Orthodox Jewish world as a mechanism for countering mild transparency in women’s garments. Worn as an undergarment for blouses and dresses that were borderline modest, the shells added bulk to the materials to render them opaque. While not the pinnacle of modesty, this approach did help to achieve a basic modesty for women that struggled to find intrinsically modest garments in stores. It is important to note that the shells purchased for this purpose were sized to be tight-fitting so that they would fit under the outer garment. They were constructed of light and elastic material for the same purpose.

In recent months however, many women have taken to wearing the same tight-fitting shells with garments that are not themselves modest in any sense of the term. I refer to tank tops, vests, halter-tops, spaghetti string tops, short sleeve shirts, and sleeveless dresses. The idea seems to be that pairing a patently immodest garment with another patently immodest garment will somehow yield a modest one. However, the wearing of tight-fitting shells as an outer garment on the shoulders, back, arms, and, chest is immodest.
May the wise women of Klal Yisrael take notice and improve their ways in order to help bring Moshiach speedily in our days, by dressing modestly everyday.

Let me remind you, my precious readers, now that we know not all shells are modest, ModestAnytime.com has shells that are not only modest but kosher for sale, either as sewing patterns or ready-made or custom made.  Ladies, don't delay. Jump at the chance to be more modest!


PMEM said...

Feel free to forward the Open Letter to whomever you want.

Shells are leotards. When I walk into a room full of frum women wearing shells I am reminded of the cast of Cats or Chicago. It is such an utterly immodest garment.

Daughter of Israel said...

I agree, completely!

PMEM said...

I saw this Shavuous a woman with a skin tight flesh colored shell and a spaghetti string low cut top. Is this an Orthodox Jew. One has the right to ask.

Daughter of Israel said...

Shavuo Tov.

I too witness many women and girls over Shavuos who are wearing the shells. I think the saddest part of it all is that even Bais Yaakov teachers , students and their mothers wear this after-school hours. Kollel wives and Rebbetzins go out in these things. Our eyes are starting to adjust to accept to this reality.

What would Sarah Schenirer, zt"l, say if she were alive today?

There has been Lakewood Tznius Asifas before, but I don't know if their messages have been effective.
Perhaps we need another one?

PMEM said...

The tznius gatherings never want to say anything specific. It's all encouragement. Everyone is scared to blast the women the way they do to the men. They'll never stand up and say shells are immodest. If they did, half the women in the room would turn white, white as their shells.

The irony is, you have all these people running around saying women are more spiritual than men (this is a fallacy by the way). But if they were more spiritual wouldn't you be able to give them musar? Doesn't the holier person want the musar, want to do what's right?

PMEM said...

You don't know me but I am one of the world's foremost experts on tznius. I know particulars of tznius that the greatest scholars in the world do not know. I refer not just to the scholars of today but to those of a generation ago. I surpass them.

How can this be? How can a man whose name you have never heard, who is unknown in his home town, even to neighbors on his street, surpass the world's greatest scholars in matters of halacha?

It can be precisely because I am not a great scholar. Rather, I am an average man. A significant portion of the purpose and rules of tznius are designed to protect the average man from sin. So if you want a guide for tznius, go to the average man and ask, "Does this attract your attention?" "Does it put inappropriate thoughts in your head?"

So I am here to tell you that shells and their accessories are a major problem. They put thoughts in the head. The idea behind the shell is to take an immodest garment like a "Pins And Needles Daisy Lace Peplum Tank Top" and pair it with an elastic, clingy, shiny, and tight fitting shell in the wild hope that somehow the product will be modest. One is reminded of the expression that two wrongs don't make a right. If you prefer mathematical equations: immodest plus immodest does not equal modest.

Shells are essentially leotards. Dancers wear them precisely because they show off the body and free the body for unrestricted movement. Shells are bathing suits. Bathers wear them because they show off the body and free the body for unrestricted movement. Is a Jewish man permitted to visit the beach? Can he go to Broadway to watch Cats or Chicago? Then why can he go to a chasunah, to a shul on Shabbos, to the streets of a frum community, or to anywhere that Jewish women prance about in their shells, their leotards, their bathing suits?

Shall we all move to Lakewood. No, because they wear shells in Lakewood. They wear shells everywhere. The Satan slipped this insanity called shells into every community that I have visited other than Monroe. Shall I become Satmar? Is that what I must do to be in a place where the average frum woman (there are proper individual women in every community) dresses like a bas Yisrael and doesn't fall to this folly they call the shell?

A decade ago, maintaining modesty was difficult. Now it's easy. Buy any kind of garment you want, mix it with a shell, and you are kosher. This sudden switch from challenging to easy should give us pause.

Consider an analogy. Keeping kosher can be highly challenging for people who work outside of Midtown Manhattan or Jewish Brooklyn. Even in NY metro areas such as Jersey City, there's no kosher food to be had and a person has to be careful to pack lunch or suffer. And what happens if you pack lunch but find that you have to work late? Potato chips for dinner?

What if I proposed to you a simple solution? Buy any food you want and wrap it in a kosher pita? Don't worry about the kashrus of the food. Just stick it in a pita. Suddenly, what was once difficult is now a breeze.

This obviously facetious suggestion is equivalent to the faulty logic behind shells as the panacea for modesty in women's clothing. Buy whatever you want as long as you pair it with a bathing suit. That essentially is what's going on today. Let's make it as easy as possible on the ladies as if easy creates kedushah and gets you into heaven. Are you really doing anyone any favors with such an approach?

Meanwhile, the men and the boys go from the goyish environments to the Jewish and still can't get a break, still can't open their eyes as they cross the intersections. We hear much about the dangers of the Internet. It's time for an asifa on shells even if it upsets some of the wives and daughters. It's not so hard to challenge and attack the goyish inventions. Can we challenge our own?

Daughter of Israel said...

Thank you for sharing with the world your thoughts, from the perspective of a holy man.

Here's a link from a very old Lakewood Asifa, addressed by Reb. Halberstadt, that mentions the tight clothing made of Lycra/Spandex.


You are right on many counts, including kosher food, and may I also add "kosher" vacations, etc.

As far women being spiritually greater than men, it means that they don't need as many mitzvos as Jewish men in order to connect with Hashem. That's all. They have the kedusha within ready to flow out,but it is trapped inside this thing called "the shell." They have to dress modestly in order to access this kedusha. They have to make the first step, in order to receive Hashem's berachos.

I pray that Hashem will help those like us, in spreading the word out there to bring our nashim back to kedusha.

Thank you, thank you for your comments.

PMEM said...

The Maharal says that men have more kiddushah (Tiferes Yisrael 28) so the logic doesn't work. Rambam says the same thing. (Mishan Horios 3:7) Rav Hirsch says women don't need the extra comments to do 'their job' but that's not the same as saying that women with their mitzvos connect to Hashem in the same way or to the same level men do with theirs. There's really no source to say that women are spiritual 'greater'. It's a complete fallacy.


Daughter of Israel said...

My mistake with the misuse of the word "spiritually greater".

I think Rebbetzin Leah Kohn in this article describes it best, than I ever could.

"The reality is that Hashem did in fact give men a greater number of mitzvot. Our sages tell us that men enter the world less spiritually complete than women and, for this reason, they have been given quantitatively more commandments with which to grow. Women come into the world spiritually more complete than men. They have less to accomplish in this regard and, therefore, they have fewer mitzvot. Being that we aspire to have as many opportunities as possible to serve God, a woman might pray for a son who would come into the world with the longest possible list of commandments with which to serve his Creator."

Source: http://www.torah.org/learning/women/class16.html

Let's promote the same goals, instead of clashing due to technical terms. B'shalom!

PMEM said...

With no disrespect to Mrs. Cohen, what exactly is her source? The Sages do not to my knowledge (and I researched this) say men are less spiritually complete. You may not want a clash but her words start a competition and a clash. It's like saying to someone "I'm better than you" and then when they complain you say, hey can't we all get along?

The Magen Avraham says women have a smaller yetzer tov. The Maharal says men are at a higher level. Maybe this is why men have extra mitzvos to engage their extra spirituality. Why make mitzvos a negative thing? You need them because you are so low. If that were the case, why would Cohanim have more?

Daughter of Israel said...

Nobody is saying that women are better than men or vice-versa. Maybe, the feminists are trying to say that.

Women and men have different roles in the eyes of Judaism.

Perhaps this article might elucidate the point better, and if you have questions, please ask them. They welcome inquiries.

"According to traditional Judaism, women are endowed with a greater degree of "binah" (intuition, understanding, intelligence) than men. The rabbis inferred this from the idea that woman was "built" (Genesis 2,22) rather than "formed" (Genesis 2,7), and the Hebrew root of "build" has the same consonants as the word "binah". It has been said that the matriarchs (Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah) were superior to the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) in prophecy. It has also been said that women did not participate in the idolatry regarding the golden calf. Some traditional sources suggest that women are closer to God's ideal than men."

Further discussions like this will be closed as they are not related to this post about immodest shells. Thank you for your participation, PMEM.


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Training Girls in Dressmaking

In our times, it is highly commendable to train girls in the art of dressmaking and general sewing. Lessons should be given on this subject in schools, and if necessary, also in seminaries.

If the girl becomes really expert, she will even be able to make garments for herself, and later on, when married also for her daughters. Also, she could take up dressmaking as a profession.

Source: Modesty, an Adornment for Life, Rabbi Pesach Eliyahu Falk