Dec 9, 2009

Promoting Shabbos and Tznius

Rabbi Matisyahu Salomon makes an interesting observation.  He says that nowadays, whenever some calamity happens, people are quick to lay the blame on deficiencies in shemiras ha'lashon (I would add the related sin of lack of Ahavas Yisrael and machlokes), but if you look into the collected letters of the Chofetz Chaim where he refers to many disasters (pogroms, fires, poverty, communism) he never connects them to shemiras ha'lashon! Usually, he lays the blame on the lack of Shabbos observance and tznius.  Occasionally, he also mentions bittul Torah and poor tefilla, but never shemiras ha'lashon.

The problem as I see it is, shemiras ha'lashon is something that applies equally to men and women, so when we are urged to improve in this area, nobody feels uncomfortable.  The same would also apply to Shabbos observance.  But if people try to promote tznius and point out failings in tznius, the response is often negative since women don't want to be made to feel that the problems we face are their fault.  You can't help but elicit a defensive reaction when you point a finger at a sub-group.

So what's the solution? Well, for one thing, to promote greater Shabbos observance.  There are certainly plenty of books available in so many different formats on the subject of Shabbos.  Some favorites of mine are: Baruch Chait's terrific book on the 39 Melachos: 

"Shabbos Secrets" for inspiration:

and there's "Shemiras Shabbos K'Hilchasa" for practical guidance in Shabbos observance:

As for promoting greater tznius, that's a tough one because it seems that those who are already doing well in this area are the ones who show up for the Kinusim on the subject.  Maybe an avenue that should be pushed more is lecturing men on the subject of tznius with a particular emphasis on urging them to encourage their wives and daughters to dress according to halacha and in an aidel manner.  Too many husbands either tacitly allow or actively urge their wives to dress inappropriately.  And who is paying for their daughters' clothing? Parents should be encouraged to put their foot down and not allow purchases of inappropriate clothing.

Other suggestions? Post your comment! :)

1 comment:

  1. We recently bought a newly published sefer from Israel press of Lakewood called Medical Emergencies in Halacha that deal mainly with p'kuach nefesh and Shabbos. To me it is interesting because things do happen on Shabbos and we want to do the right thing. This book goes symptom by symptom about when Shabbos can be put aside or something can be done differently. P'kuach nefesh always comes first.