From the COLlive Inbox:
I want to preface this letter by saying I KNOW.
I know that we are in Galus, and that we are in the Ikvesa D’mashicha. I know that the Yetzer Hora is stronger than ever. I also know that many of you have been burned or scarred from your childhood experiences with “super frum” schools and parents.
And, I know that the fact that we still even recognize Hashem is a big miracle. I am only 16, but know this all because I have been put in this generation, which as everyone knows is dark and hard to navigate.
THEREFORE, because I know and am aware of this, I also know that it is because of all these things that we MUST reinforce ourselves with a Koach stronger than ever before. I would specifically like to address the topic of Tznius. I am a teenager, and we all know that just that alone can be a really hard phase. But, to add to it, I feel like tznius adds such a huge struggle and the only way to conquer it is through real guidance.
But, when I think about where to get that guidance from, I don’t find it. I only see two types of frum women: 1) The very frum Chassidishe or Yeshivish women who wear only black and make it their mission to have zero personality in their clothes. 2) The women/girls in Chabad who walk around totally not even attempting to cover their necks/collarbones/knees. Of course I am aware that there is a “middle of the road” with tznius and stylish people. But, sadly they are the minority. When I think about the majority of how frum women dress today, I am disappointed.
What about making your own decisions? It seems like people have taken the path of least resistance. Either they throw out tznius because it’s “just too hard,” and “I am not holding there yet.” Or those who dress like every day is a funeral in order to avoid any tznius issues at all. But, today’s generation NEEDS balance.
I don’t want to grow up with my friends and myself dressing like we do today. I want my husband to respect tznius and I want to respect it myself. Today I see a lot of Chabad men who look like good, Chassidishe, frum guys, but then I see their wives next to them looking like ..well…you know. I then think to myself-how does this happen? How can these couples keep the other aspects of frumkeit but just disregard tznius? I wonder, what are these couples thinking? Are they going to raise their children to be somewhat tznius? Will they even expect it from their children, or because it was shoved down their throats they don’t want to impose any “rules” on their kids? But then, what values are you giving them? The youth are not stupid, we pick up on the inconsistencies. I simply don’t understand. You have to practice what you preach, and that’s just the way the world works. You might think no one notices or cares about how you dress, but they do. And so does G-d.
I am writing this because I am so frustrated that older people than me are supposed to be my role models, but somehow I am only angry and disturbed that they don’t seem to take themselves seriously. I am aware that some of you might be thinking this girl thinks she is holier than us, and she doesn’t understand us. Or, “she probably is a nerdy Chassidishe freak.” Well, it’s not true. I wear color, jean and try my hardest to be that balance. I am NOT perfect, and struggle with tznius too, because everyone does. All I ask is that the next time you go shopping, THINK. Who are you trying to attract? Think about yourself, think about your husband, your children, your younger sisters or admirers, and the embarrassment it is to the non-Jews. And, if you’re at the place, think about Hashem.
While it’s a big honor, it is also extremely hard to have the responsibility we do as frum women. I am sure you are all aware of the phrase “. . . . תוינקדצ םישנ תוכזב” It’s true. We need to show Hashem that we know who and what we are. And if we don’t rise to the occasion, who will?
Also, as a side point, I would like to add that when Chabad dresses in the untznius way that some do, it completely discredits the entire Chabad group. The Yeshivish and non Chabad world does not take you seriously. I know many Yeshivish people, and it bothers them that Chabad seems to disregard Halacha. It makes them become even more Litvish and allergic to Kabbalah and Chassidishe concepts. Many of them view Chabad as taking Minhagim more seriously than Halacha. When I was once in a discussion with a Yeshivish rabbi on this topic, I had no defense for Chabad with this specific issue. This is because people can be sitting at their seder with everything “hanging loose,” but would never dream of eating their Matzah over their table for fear of Gebroks. It doesn’t make sense. And, it’s sad that because of it the Yeshivish world doesn’t see the real beauty and brilliance of what Chabad really is.
So, I hope when people read this they don’t feel guilty and criticized, but rather empowered that the younger generation wants to believe in you to create a better future for us. Please help us, and yourselves.
Also, I want to request that every married man who reads this will seriously contemplate communicating to his wife his desire for his wife to be tznius and reserve her body exclusively for him. She might change if you show her that deep down it bothers you when your friend is checking her out. If it doesn’t, it should.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, because that alone can bring awareness. I would just like to ask people to please not write annoying comments because:
They are immature
No one needs to hear the negativity
Because I am only writing this with sincerity, comments that mock it can diminish the purpose.
-A teen that needs role models.