Monday, July 27, 2009

An unexpected question

See the comments.


Blogger Shira Salamone said...

See next comment.

Thu Aug 27, 01:26:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Please keep going.

Thu Aug 27, 01:27:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Just 2 more.

Thu Aug 27, 01:27:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Last one. Thanks for your patience.

Thu Aug 27, 01:29:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

This is one of my (in)famous "hidden posts," for which I hide the text in the comments where my co-workers can't see it without clicking, in the hopes of preserving what little is left of my anonymity as a blogger at the office.

The title of this post should really be "No b'rachah for the barefoot?

One of my Orthodox, yeshiva-educated co-workers asked *me*, of all people, whether it was permissible for her to pray in the presence of someone who was barefoot because "it isn't tznius (tzanuah, modest)." I pointed out that it wasn't possible that being barefoot wasn't modest, because, otherwise, why would G-d have ordered Moshe/Moses to take off his shoes on holy ground?

Thu Aug 27, 01:35:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

This post was actually written and published on Aug. 27, 2009.

Thu Aug 27, 04:34:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

In a nutshell, the breadth and depth of knowledge of Jewish law and/or other aspects of Jewish tradition exhibited by some of my yeshiva-educated Orthodox co-workers is quite impressive--and the ignorance exhibited by others is a source of complete and continuing astonishment to me.

Thu Aug 27, 05:02:00 PM 2009  
Anonymous jdub said...

Tolerance, dear Shira, tolerance. The answer to her question isn't as simple as you make it sound. That Moshe was barefoot before Hashem is largely irrelevant. Tzni'ut (in dress, at least) is very time and place dependent, with certain outer parameters. So, if this woman lives in a community where women always wear closed-toe shoes and stockings, a bare foot is, in fact, immodest.

This is not an ignorant question (albeit one I would't ask) and it is not easily solved by pointing to Biblical stories. By your answer, I could go marry myself a Midianite princess, but I'm fairly certain that would be against halacha (and my Jewish mother would kill me).

Fri Aug 28, 07:44:00 AM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Methinks I didn't represent our conversation quite accurately--my co-worker's objection was that going barefoot was assur (forbidden), and my answer was that it is not only not assur, it's required in synagogue in some parts of the world (Morocco?). Going barefoot may not be considered tzanuah/modest in accordance with minhag ha-makom (the local custom), but I don't think that makes it assur. I mean, it's not as if she's marrying a Midianite prince. :) I think my co-worker may be exaggerating the importance of this particular custom. I may be wrong, of course, but I think it's more important to pray than to refrain from praying because of how the people among whom you're praying are dressed, assuming that nothing seriously egregious is going on. (I wouldn't davven on a nudist beach :).) Just keep your eyes in your siddur/prayer book.

Fri Aug 28, 06:19:00 PM 2009  

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