The event took place in the presence of the Lithuainia haredi public’s leading rabbis, including Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and Rabbi Aharon Liv Steinman. The conference was intended for yeshiva students only, meaning married men.
Rabbis Elyashiv and Steinman at conference (Photo: Haim Zach)
Although the commandment of modesty is mostly for women, the attendance of women was not allowed at the conference and even unmarried men were asked to leave the hall for the duration of the conference.
The first speaker at the conference, Head of the Hebron Yeshiva Rabbi David Cohen, quoted the Genius of Vilnius, Rabbi Eliyahu, in saying “The evil urge, it’s spice for people is the Torah, and for modest women. With the spice of the labor of Torah we deal with life systems, and for women and girls, their spice modesty.”
“It’s a feeling that is felt as long as we face the large world, and the issue gets harder. The influence of the world is extremely terrible, and we can’t say the world of Torah is immune from the street, which is deteriorating and its influence is seeping into our public,” he continued.
“There are those whose entire purpose and work is to manufacture clothing the opposite of modesty, and this reached yeshiva students’ wives and seminaries’ daughters. The foundation of all fashion is to search for the opposite of modesty and that’s why the matter is important to us,” the rabbi said.
'Men only' - Modesty conference (Photo: Haim Zach)
Tamar, a young woman, married for about a year and in the very late stages of pregnancy, waited for her husband on a bench outside the hall. She explained to Ynet, “Just as the Torah is most important to men, so is modesty for women.”
Then why don’t women participate in these types of conferences?
“Conferences on the issue are held for women too, but at schools and seminaries. The basis of Judaism is that the women abide by their husband’s will. Only today, now that I am married, I see that what I was taught until now in the seminary is nothing. They way a husband influences his wife is everything,” she continued.
In the meantime, a number of basic regulations were read in the conference with regards to modesty. “Shirts, skirts, sweaters and the like should be loose enough that the form of the body is not seen. The clothing should not be transparent, and a lining or additional shirt should be worn under any transparent fabric.”
“Shirts should be at least 10 centimeters longer than the edge of the waistline on the skirt, in such a way that they would cover the skin in any movement. The collar should be appropriately closed. Sleeves should cover the elbows at any movement. Any fabrics that cling to the body such as spandex, tricot, and the like are prohibited.”
“Skirts should began at the waist and end at the middle of the leg, and as mentioned, should be loose and not of clinging fabric. Wigs must not be too long or in models that have been prohibited.”
When all the regulations were heard, it was said that “women and girls should be instilled with pride in wearing modest clothing”.
Tamar appreciated that rabbis feel the importance of emphasizing the issue because “there was a time when there were less influences. The haredi world was much less opened. Today the world has evolved; many women are educated and work outside the home, and study in places they didn’t used to, like computers or interior design”.
“These are fields that require being in the modern age and seeing what’s out there. It’s important because women today work, see all sorts of people not of our own, and learn from them,” she concluded.