Askmoses-A Jews Resource
Why do we fast on the Third of Tishrei (Tzom Gedaliah)?
Browse our archives

The Scholar is ready to answer your question. Click the button below to chat now.

Scholar Online:

Type in your question here:

Click the button below to either CHAT LIVE with an AskMoses Scholar now - or - leave a message if no Scholar is currently online.


Why do Jewish woman have strict dress codes?


Library » Women & Judaism » Modesty | Subscribe | What is RSS?


Mrs. Shaffer: can I help you?:)

Dina: I have some questions on the role of women in judiasm..

Mrs. Shaffer: ok

Dina: it seems like women are often segregated and viewed as sex objects in orthodoxy

Dina: for instance, the dress code..

Dina: (and I don't mean this to be offensive)

Mrs. Shaffer: don't worry :)

Mrs. Shaffer: what is your question?

Dina: it seems like women have to be covered from head to toe as not to provoke men's desire

Dina: but it doesn't work the other way around

Mrs. Shaffer: lol

Mrs. Shaffer: you've got to be kidding!

Mrs. Shaffer: you're saying the dress code for Jewish women....i.e. being dressed....defines them as sex opposed to our society's view of women?

Mrs. Shaffer: as seen on billboards???

Mrs. Shaffer: and all kinds of ads????

Mrs. Shaffer: c'mon...!

Mrs. Shaffer: western society uses women's bodies to sell everything from cars to cigarettes to sleaze and more

Mrs. Shaffer: and you're using the Halachic dress code to say women are viewed as sex objects???

Mrs. Shaffer: as for it not working the other way around...that's right

Mrs. Shaffer: it doesn't

Mrs. Shaffer: have you not noticed?...women and men are different

Dina: I suppose that was a poor choice of words, and I''m not saying that's how the orthodox see it today, maybe it's just a tradition, but originally...

Mrs. Shaffer: originally women were never, ever objects

Mrs. Shaffer: of any kind

Mrs. Shaffer: not objects of men's desires

Mrs. Shaffer: or objects of men's convenience

Mrs. Shaffer: there are strict rules and laws in Jewish life regarding t his

Dina: I'm not saying it's becoming for a women to walk in the streets in a mini skirt and sleezy top, but jeans and a shortsleeve shirt?

Dina: I've seen hassidic women in the middle of the summer in long dresses, long sleeves and stockings

Mrs. Shaffer: yes

Mrs. Shaffer: have yous een the Queen of England in the middle of the summer?

Mrs. Shaffer: :)

Mrs. Shaffer: I doubt anyone's ever seen her in tank top and jeans

Mrs. Shaffer: :)

Dina: can't say that i have:)

Mrs. Shaffer: you understand that there's a concept of 'becoming' or 'unbecoming' for a woman

Dina: and I'm not asking about fashion

Mrs. Shaffer: you'd just like to reformulate the defintion :)

Dina: princess diana for instance was a fashionable dresser though

Mrs. Shaffer: yes...she was

Mrs. Shaffer: and do you recall a huge scandal when she appeared at a ball in Europe?

Mrs. Shaffer: front page news on all the major newspapers of the world....

Mrs. Shaffer: with a picture of her in a gown that was just a wee bit decollote...

Mrs. Shaffer: although much more 'modest' than many gowns in that ballroom that night

Mrs. Shaffer: remember that??

Mrs. Shaffer: :)

Dina: yes

Mrs. Shaffer: she wasn't exactly sleazy

Mrs. Shaffer: and yet the palace was terribly embarassed

Mrs. Shaffer: and in fact the whole world thought it shocking

Mrs. Shaffer: :)

Mrs. Shaffer: so, the thing is this

Mrs. Shaffer: as a Jewish woman....I cover my body...most of my body...even during heat waves

Mrs. Shaffer: I wear clothes with a top, bottom, front and back

Mrs. Shaffer: as for fashion, personal comfort, personal taste....that's my own

Mrs. Shaffer: I can dress in a burkah if I like or in Indian cotton shirts and linen skirts

Mrs. Shaffer: but...regardless of weather or culture my body is not for public exposure

Mrs. Shaffer: in addition...there is a certain obligation as a Jewish woman to look dignified

Mrs. Shaffer: for the same reason that Diana often created raised eyebrows...not because what she wore or did was inherently shocking...but she was a princess...and therefore held to a higher standard

Dina: good point

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.


Please email me when new comments are posted (you must be  logged in).


Daily Life » Clothing » Modesty

Pertaining to Jewish Law.