Tzniuts True Meaning

8 years ago Risa Mond 0

When the word tzniut is said, ones mind automatically directs to how someone should dress. However, one’s actions should accompany how she/he dresses, which is why tzniut means more than just appropriate dressing, it also means appropriate speech and actions.

To me, tzniut means dignity, self-respect, creating a definition for yourself that is not based upon others opinions.

One of the first places in the Torah where the law of tzniut is mentioned is in Parshat Tetzaveh. In fact, the parsha spends an entire chapter going into specific detail about the clothing that the Kohanim were to wear while working in the Mishkan. Why were the clothes of the Kohanim relevant to their work in the Mishkan? Perhaps the verse “You shall make holy garments for your brother Aaron, for honor and glory” will give us a better understanding. Why does the verse say for honor and glory? Our clothes say more about us than we think; they represent who we are. The way the Kohanim dressed represented their work, which was one of honor and glory.

Experts say you have five seconds to make a first impression on someone. That is five crucial seconds that could make, or break you. Before even saying anything, your image can scream a variety of things. By dressing modestly, men and women show that they do not define themselves by their body; rather, it is their nefesh, their soul and its character and qualities that make them special.

Clothing is a way to express ourselves without even opening our mouths. It is such a powerful tool, a tool we should use to the best of our advantages.

Nevertheless, tzniut doesn’t just affect ourselves, it affects those around us. When the Torah address modesty in Parshat Ki Teitzei it states “and your camps shall be holy.” From this we can understand that through our modest actions, words, and dress, we can infuse into our surroundings a sense of wholesome and purity.