Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Guide for Avreichim to the Halachos of Tznius Based on a shiur by Hagaon Rav Gershon Meltzer shlita

 Update: Added interview with Rav Eliashiv which doesn't fit exactly in what is being claimed in his name.

Someone recently showed me a pamphlet on tznius with the haskoma of Rav Berkowitz (below) and others including Rav Chaim Kanievsky and Rav Ganz. The organization claims that they have the same authority as Chazal in their psakim dealing with tznius and that they must be accepted as authoritative (I assume that means in Israel by the yeshiva community). When I get a copy I hope to publish the whole thing.

שאלה שנשאלה על ידי למרן ר' חיים קנייבסקי שליט"א בכ"ז ניסן תשע"ה

וזה לשון השאלה: תקנות ב"ד משמר התורה שהוקם ע"י הגרי"ש אלישיב והגר"ש ווזנר לפסוק הלכות ולתקן תקנות בדיני צניעות ולבוש הנשים והגרי"ש אמר שזה בתוקף דת יהודית האם זה מחייב כמנהג המקום גם את בני חו"ל הגרים או נמצאים 
בארץ ישראל  

תשובת מרן: כן, מחייב

From the pamphlet:

Examples of Das Yehudis. -------------------------------------------------------------

There are three types of halachos that are included in the category of Das Yehudis: 

I. Prohibitions Enacted by Chazal, such as the prohibition for a woman to uncover theier arms above the elbow. 

2. Local Custom: The accepted rulmg of all Poskim is that a person is halachically bound to follow the strmgencies of the place where he lives.7 Hence, it is considered a violation of Das Yehudis for a woman to dress in a fashion that is considered immodest in her locale, even if she comes from a place where the prevailing standards of tznius were more lax. For example, if a woman grew up in a community in America where certain forms of dress were acceptable, and she now lives in Yerushalayim, she must abide by the more stringent minhagim of Yerushalayim. 

3. Halachos Enacted by a Beis Din or Local Leaders: The Chochmas Adam[1] rules that the shivah tuvei ha'ir in any community have the power of a beis din, even if they are simply ordinary people dedicated to benefiting the public, and not great Torah scholars, and they may enact binding halachic guidelines for the benefit of society. Just as the directives of the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah and other Torah sages throughout the generations have the status of halachah, every individual must follow the dictates of the community in which he lives, unless a rule is enacted that the majority of the public cannot handle.[2] In Eretz Yisrael, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and Rav Shmuel Wosner, zichronam livrachah, created the Mishmar HaTorah, a group of rabbanim who are responsible for formulating guidelines on matters of tznius, and the decisions of this entity have this binding status.[emphasis added] Baruch Hashem the Mishmar HaTorah’s guidelines have become increasingly accepted by the public. In light of the above, it should be clear that every garment or sheitel must fit into all the guidelines associated with Das Yehudis in order for it to be worn.

[1] Chochmas Adam (Klaal 102 Sif 1)

[2] The rulings of such leaders on issues of tznius therefore have the same force as the rulings of Chazal and must be followed.

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