I just received this disturbing letter. Before reading it please read the following gemorah.
Bava Metzia(59a): Better it is for man to cohabit with a doubtful married woman rather than that he should publicly shame his neighbour. Whence do we know this? — From what Raba expounded, viz., What is meant by the verse, But in mine adversity they rejoiced and gathered themselves together... they did tear me, and ceased not?David exclaimed before the Holy One, blessed be He, ‘Sovereign of the Universe! Thou knowest full well that had they torn my flesh, my blood would not have poured forth to the earth. Moreover, when they are engaged in studying "Leprosies" and "Tents" they jeer at me, saying, "David! what is the death penalty of him who seduces a married woman?" I reply to them, "He is executed by strangulation, yet has he a portion in the world to come. But he who publicly puts his neighbour to shame has no portion in the world to come."’
To whom it may concern-
First of all, let me begin by saying that my husband always reads your blog. He enjoys what you have to say, and we are happy that someone out there is speaking about the degradation that is going on in our Jewish society.
A incident happened that was so shocking and so heartbreaking this past week, that it must be posted somewhere. Incidents keep happening against women on the issue of tznius throughout the world, and it needs to stop.
Mrs. X , called me in shock on Friday after 5 o'clock. She is a mother of four, a busy student, and she had to go pick up some items for Shabbos . She is waiting to check out at this busy grocery store when a frum man, wearing the traditional white shirt, black pants and jacket, pull his cart up behind her. In a soft but slicing tone, he begins to blast her on her appearance in front of oh, 50+ people that include every type of yid, non-religious customers, as well as non- Jewish cashiers. He goes on and on in front of all these people saying such things "Don't you know the negative impact your untznius dress has on your children?" "Don't you feel embarrassed that you dress like this in public?"
The humiliation went on and on, and she just stood there, frozen. She couldn't say anything. This was a complete stranger wearing the yeshivish dress who was humiliating her in front of so many people because she had a lower neckline and she was wearing short sleeves. What is wrong with this man's hashgafa? Doesn't he know that embarrassing someone is like killing another person?
To make matters worst, the second these 50+ spectators heard these hurtful things he was saying to her, not one person came immediately to defend her. Everyone just stood there and watched. I feel he should of just dumped bleach on her clothes. That would have been less embarrassing for her. There was even a women there who was covering her hair yet wearing pants, and even she didn't say anything or do anything to come to her defense! This man was committing every type of sinas chinam, and no one said anything.
Finally, after only a few minutes that felt like hours, a women who was wearing the ideal dress that this man was saying she should conform to, came up to her and told her "Don't say anything to him. You don't have to defend yourself". She then turned to this man, and firmly and somewhat harshly, put him in is place. She said to him "You are wearing the same type of dress that my husband wears, and this is what you are doing to a fellow Jew? You don't know her. You don't know what background she comes from. You don't know who her Rav is. This is what you do, embarrass and humiliate a women in front of many to push your agenda? This is how you are going to get people to become more tznius, by embarrassing them publicly? Who do YOU think YOU are?!?" She kept going off on him as my friend hurriedly checked out. She could still hear the woman firmly telling him off for his horrific behavior as she pushed her cart through the automatic doors.
She still cannot believe that this happened to her. She is thankful that her daughters who attend Bais Yakkov were not with her. I am sure this man sends his daughter there too.
As you are well aware, its seems that Judaism is falling down around us. It is only due to people like that woman in the store who are keeping true Torah alive.
Tznius has its laws, but it is each defined and internalized by each woman who chooses for herself to observe the modesty laws. In fact, a close friend of mine chose to stop wearing her shaitel because she said she feels naked in it. I, on the other hand, need to have hair, so I just re-cut my inexpensive wig for Pesach to better suit me.
We each internalize our level of modesty differently. However, this man and many more people with the misconstrued and misinterpreted message of Jewish values will (G-d forbid) kill any women desires to want observes tznius. What if my friend had just become frum, and this is what this man had said? If I was had just become frum, and this happened to me, my first thought would be to tear of my tichel and give up! However, when she told me about what this true Eishes Chayil did for her, I realized that Judaism is not lost entirely.
I am still in shock that the Jewish people right now are quickly finishing their preparations for Pesach, a time where Jews around the world remember what occurred centuries ago. Our ancestors fought against Egyptian oppression to wear Jewish proper dress, and the Jewish nation merit for redemption was due partly because they kept their religious code of dress. However, thousands of years later, a man preparing for in a few nights to discuss with his children what atrocities women faced at the hand of the Egyptians had the audacity to say something like this to another human being.
I just hope that this story leaves a message for people that while that man thought he was doing the right thing and addressing my friend's "inappropriate attire", what he did what 1,000, 000 times worse.
Thank you for your time.