The Rebbe would address the topic of Tznius every year before the summer months. The following short thoughts of the Rebbe on tznius are a continuation of a weekly summer series and are compiled by Rabbi Michoel Seligson.
“The commentator Rashi explains that the verse, ‘Reuven (Yaakov’s oldest son) went to collect jasmine’ – is to give praise to the shevatim (tribes). This took place during the wheat harvest, and the shevatim only took unclaimed plants.
From the words of Rashi, we learn that no one else conducted themselves in this manner. The shevatim knew that their behavior needed to be different [Editor’s note: particular about not taking another’s property]. Every detail of their conduct had to be in accordance with Torah and holiness. This is how Yaakov set up his home, that it be different from all others.
One should not follow the ‘spirit of the time’. The way people conduct themselves needs to be so obvious, that children recognize that their father and mother are different from everyone else. While other women wear clothing that is tzniusdik but not b’hidur (not particularly so); their mother is dressed with utmost tznius.
This occurs even when the child is young and cannot absorb the meaning of Torah and holiness. He can already understand that his home is different than others – ‘vniflinu’- [we need to be distinguished, different than others]. As a result, a child will not follow those who are behaving incorrectly. He knows that such children are not appropriate friends.
From such conduct comes shevet Reuven and shevet Yissochor – Reuven and Yissochor became leaders of the Jewish courthouse in Jerusalem and pillars of rabbinical authority”. (Sichas Simchas Torah 5715/1954).
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The Rebbe addressed this letter to The N’shei U’Bnos Chabad convention in Israel, Elul 5728/1968:
“V’yehi rotzon, that the desire of the Almighty should bring success in their hands to be inspired for good activities in this direction, illuminated with Chassidic light and energy, in strengthening tznius and publicizing it in their close and distant environment – as one. This is the crown of beauty of the Jewish daughters, and every one of them is referred to as the daughter of Sara, Rivka, Rochel and Leah, Jewish daughters everywhere and surely in our holy land.”
The Rebbe concludes: “The explanation of our sages is well known that tznius is a sacred matter. It is a special mission given to the Jewish woman, who is referred to as the ‘Akeres Habayis’ (the foundation of the home), akeres of the Jewish home – individually and collectively. Equal to the responsibility and mission is their great reward, as stated in the Zohar, to draw down blessings in the home and family – blessings [converted] to wealth, children and grandchildren.
(Igros vol. 25 page 215)