Modesty for the price of blood?
Photo: Anar Green
What should a girl do if she wishes to dress modestly but her parents won't let her? According to Rabbi Yitzchok Zilberstein she can injure herself in order to use it as an excuse for dressing modestly.
Three weeks ago, Rabbi Zilberstein, the the son-in-law of prominent Rabbi Yosef Elyashiv, received an inquiry from a women's religious seminary (Midrasha) about a student who is growing increasingly religious. The student said she wanted to dress modestly but her parents were preventing her from doing so, because they were not religious.
"The young woman is facing a difficult challenges from her family members, who forbid her to dress modestly," the coordinator of a women's religious seminary wrote in the inquiry.
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"The young woman thought that if she inflicted wounds on her legs she could tell her parents that she is wearing a long skirt to cover the wounds," the letter said.
Rabbi Zilberstein's reply came shortly after, with an unequivocal answer: "She is allowed to inflict wounds on her legs in order to dress modestly and evade sin."
In his reply, the rabbi commended the student's initiative, saying "the blood from the self-inflicted wound will atone for the people of Israel," adding that the coordinator should allow the student to commit the act.
Last February, Rabbi Zilberstein was asked whether a man that hangs a sign reading "Beware, dog in the yard," although he is not the dog owner, is lying to his neighbors.
The rabbi replied that it is not false pretence, but recommended to drop the word "yard" in order for the warning to remain ambiguous.
In his explanation, the rabbi wrote, "The yard owner isn’t trying to gain benefits from anyone, but is only trying to prevent thieves from entering his property."
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