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Monday, November 20, 2006

The End of the Hot Chanies?

Does this herald the end of the Hot Chanies? Only time will tell...

But in all seriousness, I can understand the reason behind this gathering:
The heavyweights of the haredi Lithuanian yeshiva world gathered Saturday night in Jerusalem to warn an audience of thousands of male, married yeshiva students that haredi women's dresses are too short, their wigs are too long, and their sweaters, shirts and blouses are too tight.
One could say that the problem here, especially when it comes to the extremely form-fitting clothing under discussion, is an issue with the spirit, rather than the letter, of Jewish Law. I mean, when I learned the laws of Tzniut, nothing was outright mentioned about clothing not being too tight. I'm sure a lot of the reason for that was the fact that the painted-on clothing look was far from in fashion when I was a teenager. But another reason is that prohibiting certain styles of clothing just isn't as easily definable in terms of limits as the covering of knees or elbows. That being said, tight-fitting and/or attention grabbing dress has as much to do with modesty as the actual coverage of various body parts. I once had a teacher in high school who put it this way: "clothing should be attractive - but not attracting".

(hat tip: mdmom)


Anonymous Anonymous said...


David Bogner already discussed this at length. See:


9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These fanatics are destroying yiddishkeit.it is time to get rid of them.
Don't give a dime to their mosdos.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, there are some poskim who write explicitly that clothing that is form fitting is considered to not be there at all. The woman is considered from a halachik perspective as being totally nude. Several practical halachik ramifications come out of such a conceptualization particularly in terms of saying brachos etc. in the presence of such a woman. I'm not saying I agree with that approach, just that it is on the books.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Shmilda said...

To quote the principal in the article:
"In the past, most of the clothing came from Europe, where designers tended to have more puritanical sensibilities. But today China and Third World countries are manufacturing cheaper merchandise which is also immodest."

European fashion is known for tznius clothing? That which is produced in China isn't designed elsewhere? I am truly confused.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Orthonomics said...

I highly doubt that this heralds the end of the Hot Chanie.

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As David Bogner pointed out on his blog, see earlier link, This issue here is that womne were taken out of the equation. Women in that culture are so looked down upon that they are no longer able to decide on their own what is tzinut and what is not. (mind you they are good enough for niddah, kashrut and child rearing, jsut not dressing. They need men to make that decision for them. A true said state of affairs.

12:12 PM  
Blogger OrthoMonkey said...

The problem with tzinuit is just a symptom of a larger problem within Orthodoxy. Since there is such a focus on the rules of observance people end up losing track of the concepts behind the rules. In effect they use the formal definition of the rules as a bench mark for behaviour. Tzinut can never be summarized as a list of "laws" because unless we institute Burkas it will always be possible for someone to make themselves look attractive and eye catching while still following all the rules.

For issues such as this (and derech eretz and many others) the only way to teach it is to focus on the concepts behind the practice and teach people the importance of them. Anything else is doomed to failure.

Please note that I am not saying that rules and observance of them is pointless as without the Halacha there is no Judaism. I am just saying that there are issues which simple yes/no Halacha is not sufficient for.

12:28 PM  
Blogger and so it shall be... said...

Funny how none of the rabbonim ever ask themselves what THEY'RE doing wrong when so many frum women, who since pre-school have been learning the merits of tznius, choose to dress in so-called provacative clothing.

If so many women, despite being married to such ehliche yungerleit, choose to dress as such then what is the real source of the problem?

Is it because frum women are given no outlet of creative expression past making centerpieces for engagement parties?

Is it because they're taught to be entirely subservient to men and therefore dress provacatively to assert at least power-albeit passively?

Or is it because their husbands spend hours-on-end away from home and the small bit of attention these women get when they dress provatively somehow compensates for the lack of attention and appreciation they get from their absent spouses.

12:50 PM  
Blogger and so it shall be... said...

provacative = provocative
provacatively = provocatively

no typo there....just a bad spelling error. sorry.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Given that this meeting was organised by the Israeli-Chareidi leadership, I don't think it will have much impact on the "Hot Chanies" in Brooklyn.

An Israeli acquaintance of mine had some pretty scathing things to say about the meeting (not least the fact that women were excluded from it!)

1:07 PM  
Blogger Tzipporah said...

I have to agree that the major problem here is that the directives were issued at the men, rather than directly to the women in question. Not only does this imply that the men are resonsible for their wives' actions, and not the women themseleves, but it also clearly shows that they can envision this only as a directive, and not a conversation. What might these women have said in response, or asked?

2:02 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

To be fair, this point is hammered home to women in the Charedi world all the time in lectures, articles, and pashkevils. Apparently, Charedi leadership feels that this is what is called for when the situation has gotten out of hand. Still, I don't argue the point that it's truly demeaning to call in the husbands to "deal with" the problem. Women are ostensibly trustworthy when it comes to the family's kashrut and niddah status.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Shoshana (SweetRose) has a good post on this as well. (I also posted on it.) You've pretty much already covered this in the comments, but the main problem many people have with this gathering was that women/singles were excluded, and the line that men should be "vigilantly ensuring" their wives/daughters dress tzniusly.

The only decent reason I've heard people give for not having the women there - which I don't think was the reason in this case - was that it would be embarrassing for them, particularly if someone was there and looked like... well, a Hot Chanie. It's not a bad reason, but again, I don't think that's why it was done this way.

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or is it because their husbands spend hours-on-end away from home and the small bit of attention these women get when they dress provatively somehow compensates for the lack of attention and appreciation they get from their absent spouses.

Right On Target. Someone once called hubby Shlumpie Shlomie

4:23 PM  
Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

The article I read claimed that women were coming under pressure from their husbands to dress in untzniut fashions. If that is true, then focusing the mussar on the husbands makes perfect sense.

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orthomom -

Good article. Although I'm far from being the "Bnei Brak" tznius that they recommend, I agree that tight clothing is worn by women with the intention to attract. Does anyone disagree that women are oblivious that they are choosing clothing that is sexually provocative? Good. We're not. It is intentional. The question is why we're doing it, but that's a whole other animal.

What bothered me about the article were two things:

1) "The Guardians of Holiness and Education already review literature sold in Bnei Brak and all social events that take place in the town and provide kosher authorization only to those books and events that meet rabbinic standards. "

Excuse me? These people scare me. All literature. All social events. Rabbinic standards. Whose standards? Who is appointed to this "Guardian" thing? This frightens me that the end will start justifying the means, and we'll end up with more of the rioting we've so far seen.

2) I'm paraphrasing, but something to the effect of "not since the cell phone crisis have rabbaim all galvanized into action".

I think that the bigger problem today, rather than tznius or cell phones is the tremendous problem of a lack of Loving your Neighbor As Yourself (which this conference LACKS), and this huge upsurge of men and women cheating in business and the government to keep up with a Jewish lifestyle. When I can go to a random shul and notice at least one person that is currently being investigated by police for some sort of activity, something is wrong.

There are huge problems to be faced today. Instead, Rabbaim continually nit pick at the superficial ones, and are too scared to address the important ones.

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Women are lectured on this stuff all the time by RAbbis and Rebbetzins alike, and in the print media and in books and magazines and in signs hanging in shul (even if Flatbush).

What is wrong with the men being lectured on it once? Why should the women have been invited - are the men invited to their events? Besides, someone has to stay home and babysit. BTW, there are many shiurim given to men on Niddah, and women aren't invited. The woman is in charge of niddah and she is trusted with it, but the man is encouraged to help her out and encourage her. Why should tznius be any different?

And if the men are the problem (urging their wives to outdo the Chani at the next table in shul) then of course it's understandable why the men were addressed and the women were excluded. So, tell me again, why are people getting all tz'hitzed?

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I was crusin your blog to see what the latest buzz on GG was and I found this. This way of thinking is alien to me. It is fundementalism all the way. What does it have to do with Judaism. Well at least they don't blow themselves up (yet0

5:47 PM  
Blogger and so it shall be... said...

"When I can go to a random shul and notice at least one person that is currently being investigated by police for some sort of activity, something is wrong."

I agree with your comments but, do you have investiga-dar? Are these people wearing striped suits....in shackles? Are they accompanied by policemen? Showing off their mug shots?

How do you have the remarkable extrasensory gift to be able to divine who is being investigated, regardless with rando shul you enter?

This ridiculous assertion undermines your position.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

"What is wrong with the men being lectured on it once? Why should the women have been invited - are the men invited to their events?"

If you want women to dress differently, you talk to the women. You don't tell their husbands to control what they're wearing, which is how it came across. In theory, I agree that there is a place to lecture men--some of these "Hot Chanies" undoubtedly dress that way because their husbands like it. But the impression I had is rather different.

6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, with all those gay guys marching through the streets of Jerusalem, maybe those Chareidi men should be a little more careful how the dress. I mean, those high knee-socks can be quite attractive.

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Bourkas aren't just on their way; they seem to be in delivery mode. You have to wonder about the disturbed minds of the people not satisfied by letter-of-the-law long skirts and sheitels. There are some sick dudes out there ready to offer total horrible oppression to Bnos Yisrael. Enough!

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lecture happened. It is a fact. What do you mean the way 'it came across' was different, and that they can lecture the men but your impression of this lecture 'was different'? It seems disengious to me.

Let's face it, the point of the lecture was to raise awareness on the other side of the mechitzah and to encourage the men to speak to their wives and daughters about the issue. Brooms were not handed out at the event for the men to beat their wives with (I hope you can agree with that statement at least).

Also, maybe the Rabbis felt that some women were immune to the idea b/c they heard it so many times from their teachers and lecturers. The Rabbis thought that if they heard it from their husbands, then it would show that it's 'real halacha' that pertains to their family, and that their husbands care - and women (like men) like to please their spouse.

Also, most of these attractive women are not the middle-aged ones. They are the young ones - pre-baby. It is likely (I will not guess percentages even though this whole line of thought is specualtion) that the RAbbis were hoping for the clueless men to take a more active role in approving their daughter's wardrobe. Although, that is probably more the mother's department, there is nothing wrong with the father having the knowledge and awareness to back up the mother and face down the daughter. If that is the case, then it is not any different from what happens each day in countless households across America.

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The linked comment above (sorry for not using the right tags) explains why this is an issue for men - not that women themselves shouldn't be responsible - but it is about men providing the necessary emotional support to their wives so that they don't have the need to engage in this type of behavior. While I would imagine that this wasn't the tone of the conference, a more subtle approach may be the right one from the husband's perspective.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no tradition of Puritanism is Judaism. And so what if a Charedi guy gets a boner. Most of them wouldn't know what to do anyway.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the real truth. Hot Chanie's don't come to Tznius lectures. Often, you'll find the ultra-tznius there brushing up on their skills and clucking about the women who are violating tznius laws. Its the same with Lashon Harah gatherings. At least when you invite men to a gathering about Tznius, you might get a few who will try to persuade their wives to change a bit (no pun intended).

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