Friday, May 08, 2015


No We’re Not Dying Off Due To Lack of Modesty

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths


Life Expectancy in Israel is now among the highest in the world (Israel is #3).  Females born in 2013 are expected to live an average of 84 years, and males an average of 81 years.  (In the United States, stats for 2012 say females will live 81 years and males 76 years on average.)

I received the following by email, letting me know that we’re all dying at unprecidented rates due to the lack of modesty within the religious community.  While I’m all for modesty, I’m also for truth.  And while we should love and FEAR Hashem (G-d), if the fear is based on lies then when the truth comes out the religious foundation will fail.  Here’s the letter…

We are very near the end, the final berur (sifting out) is happening.  

(Every day may be our last, and Moshiach may come today, G-d willing!  But for how many days…months…years…decades can we use “the end is near!!!” as the motivator for proper religious behavior?)

Only the Kedoshim (holy ones) will remain to see the Moshiach and the Beit Hamikdash.

(First I’d love to see the source for this statement.  Then I’d like to see a mitzvah breakdown of what makes Kedoshim?  Is it one who helps others, ones dedicated to the community, ones who learn all the time, or ones who scream about modesty?)

With the summer approaching, the women have begun worshipping the 'sun gods' again by taking off their clothing and revealing themselves in public. Unfortunately, many good Jewish women have fallen captive into the influences of the 70 Nations and are also copying their way of dress and immodest behavior.

(Or perhaps people don’t like to be extremely hot and sweaty, and want to wear clothing that lets them moderate their body heat?  Maybe instead of screaming about modesty you could work on creating a modest clothing line that incorporates extremely lightweight fabrics (the Indian Sari like idea)?)

All our True Tzaddikim and the Torah and our Prophets have been crying out to us that the way of Am Yisrael is to be holy. Holiness as defined by Chazal is only to be found where there are barriers to ervah (immodesty). Unfortunately, we have fallen very far away from this ideal. You can't even step foot out in the street in even the most religious neighborhoods without being hit in the face with a complete display of ervah (immodesty). The concept of covering the legs has almost completely disappeared and the tightness of the clothing reveals everything else! Hashem hates this! It is a disgrace to His holy nation.

(It’s yet another round of blame the women.  We are all responsible for our modesty and appropriate behavior, and if you personally have such a problem with your glance coming across a women, keep yourself inside!  Now I’m not recommending anyone hang out at a mixed gender beach, but the religious communities are generally pretty reasonable in their modesty.  If you want more, stay inside or put on a blindfold!  And when making a statement that Hashem Hates This, prove it – bring your sources.)

(While modesty statistics are impossible to come by, Marital Satisfaction statistics are available – and one would assume that if modesty was a major problem that people would be jumping out of marriages to “take advantage of it”.

- Percentage of Orthodox Jewish Marriages that are “Happy” – 73%
- Percentage of Orthodox Jewish Marriages that are “Unhappy” – 13%

- Comparison, Percentage of Non-Jewish Marriages that are “Happy” (US) – 50%
- Comparison, Percentage of Non-Jewish Marriages that are “Unhappy” (US) – 50%

- In the non-Jewish community, marriage rates have fallen below 50%, and divorce rates have risen to 50% (meaning half of eligible people never get married, and half of marriages end in divorce.)

- Orthodox Jewish marriage rates are above 80%
- Orthodox Jewish divorce rates are around 25%

…My analysis--- while Orthodox Jewish marriage rates have fallen slightly from the past and divorce rates have risen significantly, the numbers are so different from secular society that there is no indication people are jumping relationships --- it is doubtful that modesty is a driving issue.  And while it COULD become one, constantly screaming at people is not what’s going to stop it.)

At least if you want to be brazen and uncovered like an animal, do it in the privacy of your own home, but when you go outside like that, you are burning up souls. How can you expect to have a carefree life while you are wrecking other peoples lives and children who are almost forced to have to see your nakedness in the streets. Do not think that this world is a free for all. There is a G-d and there is reward and punishment!

Do you really think that short tight and stretchy clothing which reveals the shape of your body is modest!?  Do you really need some Posek or Rabbi to tell you this? Is it not obvious enough to anyone with a head or heart.

(Yes, if this is a problem in the community it IS exactly the rabbi I expect to hear speak about it!  Screaming zealots are not positively effective and generally only succeed in terrorizing the community.  Do you think THAT will be considered a mitzvah in Shamayim?)

Do you wonder why there are so many deaths, diseases and accidents in Am Yisrael (lo aleinu)?  Don't be shocked, to find out in the World of Truth that it was YOU who caused it all!! When there is ervat davar (lewdness), the Shechina runs away. Without the Shechina, there is no protection. In the world of truth, the immoral and immodest women will find out that they are the real terrorists and murderers of am Yisrael (see Isaiah end of ch. 3).

This is where he really jumps the shark.  Life expectancy is UP, disease rates are DOWN, and while (G-d have mercy) terrible things do happen, accidents, crashes, and yes people get terrible diseases, and even terrorism, WHEN PEOPLE ARE LIVING LONGER IT MEANS LESS TERRIBLE THINGS ARE HAPPENING!

In what generation did we have great rabbis living to over 100?  And our synagogue rabbis living into their 80’s?  And almost all of our children surviving birth and into adulthood? 

“So many deaths, diseases and accidents” are not “so many”, they are, THANK G-D and the efforts of modern medicine, car designers, road designers, etc, MANY LESS.  But of course not none, in the end everyone will encounter death.

Sometimes scaring people is appropriate, fearing G-d is part of our divine service.  But lets make sure it’s TRUE.

(Sources – OU marriage study, Israel central bureau of statistics, US census bureau, University of Chicago.)


  1. CDG, YerushalayimMay 08, 2015 4:35 PM

    Thank you, Rav Akiva, for the consistent use of your brain over the volatile issues of our day. I, for one, feel better that not all religious rabbis are blaming women for everything - especially those who strive to present ourselves properly to those around us when we must do so.

    Personally, I hate black in the summer and wear white and pastels as much as possible then. But in the winter I do the opposite. Black is my favorite winter color, along with other dark colors.

    Many, many blessings to you and your family! Shabbat Behar shalom umevorach.

  2. Thank you Rabbi,

    Enjoy how you view things so differently.
    What if these people who keep preaching about how women dress etc; is causing all the trouble in the world, what if it is just their thinking?
    Perhaps if their brains and eyes would not look to see women in a 'bad'way, it would be better for them.
    i once heard someone say, these words, who had said them before i do not know. this is how it went.
    'Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so"
    to a certain extent, i think its true. What do you think?
    Shabbat Shalom to you and yours.

  3. I agree that this person is being untruthful and extreme, but we also have to be truthful with realizing that immodesty is a big problem in the frum community. The author is right. Many frum women today dress inappropriately. I see it every day. Tight skirts and blouses, legs uncovered,hair uncovered and this is not being addressed by the rabbonim of most communities.

    Also I strongly feel the following statment is very unfair:
    (We are all responsible for our....If you want more, stay inside or put on a blindfold! And when making a statement that Hashem Hates This, prove it – bring your sources.)

    I would expect such a statement from a feminist not from a rabbi.

    It is the women's responsibility to dress according to halacha: 1) it prevents us from placing a stumbling block in front of men.
    2) It shows that we our pride to be Jewish women and follow the laws of Hashem.
    3) our modesty shows that we care for other Jews. Yes, Ahavas Yisroel

    Have a Gut Shabbos!

  4. Perhaps he was quoting R' Mizrachi:

  5. You need to distinguish between the messenger and the message.

    There is a problem of modesty in frum communities. And I say this as a religious woman myself.

  6. The rabbinical diktats regarding female modesty in dress obviously haven't worked whether abided to by women or not. The natural drives and instincts of heterosexual men will not cease merely because women cover up properly.

  7. This post appears in the  The בהר "Behar," On The Mountain Havel Havelim edition. Havel Havelim is the long-running weekly international Jewish (and Israeli) blog carnival which floats from blog to blog. Please visit, comment and share the carnival and the other blog posts included. Join our community which is organized on our facebook page.

    Shavua Tov! 

    Have a wonderful week.

  8. I don't suppose there's any chance that you can mind your own business?

  9. Comment on this quote:

    "Do you wonder why there are so many deaths, diseases and accidents in Am Yisrael (lo aleinu)? Don't be shocked, to find out in the World of Truth that it was YOU who caused it all!!"

    You sound EXACTLY like the Muslim crackpot here:

    'An Iranian cleric, Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, was quoted by Iranian media today connecting the frequency of earthquakes with the aggregate modesty of Iranian women’s garb. According to Sedighi, flirting with men, wearing a tight shirt or neglecting your head scarf is the principal cause behind tectonic shifts. "Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes."'

    Your reasoning is faulty. Your logic is absurd. How can you expect respect for Yiddishkeit when you think exactly like our enemies? You make Yiddishkeit look like crackpot Islam. Learn to think rationally.


  10. There has been a Sewing for Tznius Revolution by Jewish women and girls. Using modest sewing patterns, these Jewish women have sewn their own affordable wardrobe that meets halacha for themselves and families.

    In addition free sewing classes are available here:

    The issue with immodest clothing is that the clothing outlets in frum communities are not marketing truly modest clothing because they rely on their supplies from the immodest secular world. In addition, they themselves are not aware of the halachos of tznius, even though many halachos of tznius are common sense. The Satan got us good in blinding both the eyes of the frum Jewish suppliers and consumers.

    One sure way of combating the major issue of immodest clothing, is take up sewing and sew, sew, sew according to tznius.

    Non-Jews have been sewing modest clothing for generations. It's time that the Jewish frum world lead in this arena.


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