Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The great tights debate

I am a legs-coverer. That is, I never wear my skin bare below the knee - I always cover with knee socks, tights, a long skirt, etc. This means a few things: 1. I never wear sandals. 2. I am ALWAYS hot in the summer. Always. It's not so bad to wear a long skirt with knee socks, but short skirts always equal tights, and tights are deadly. Who encases themselves in nylon that prevents air flow, anyway?

Now, I know that I don't technically *have* to cover the skin below the knee. But that is how I grew up, that was the custom at the schools I attended, and for me to deviate from that would be just weird. I'm not used to it, and it would be odd for me to dress in a way that is totally different than how I have been dressing for the past fifteen-odd years.

Also, I feel that it's important to dress at a certain standard of tznius. This especially rings true for me while I'm here in Yerushalayim. I'm in a holy place, and I think it's not unreasonable to go slightly above and beyond the bare minimum of what is required. The only thing is . . . it is RIDICULOUSLY hot here. I mean, seriously. I walked to the Kotel with my mother this morning from our apartment (it's about a 45 minute walk each way) and we returned before 9:30 in the morning. And even by then, the sun was out in full force, reflecting off the pale Jerusalem stone. Wearing tights was a noble idea, but so uncomfortable.

I don't want to give up that standard for myself, but I also want to be able to walk during the day without an extra layer on and and to wear short skirts now and then (plus, a long skirt is incredibly hot - it's like wearing a blanket, even though it is cooler than wearing a short skirt with tights). On the other hand, I'm in Yerushalayim . . . I don't want to give in while I'm here, especially. But I'm so uncomfortable, and I don't want to spend the entire time inside because it's too hot to be outside in tights.

Sigh.

22 comments:

the apple said...

I'm sooooo weird.

Diana said...

Wear a wet suit.

Gavi said...

See Mishnah Berurah on Orach Chaim 75:2 - up to and including the knee has to be covered by a skirt at all times - has to do with the halachic definition of "shok" as being until the knee. Wearing socks/tights/etc. to cover the lower half of the leg is clearly a minhag, not required by halacha...

I can't tell you what to do, but I would be hard-pressed to say that you absolutely need to wear them. Depends on your minhag, and the minhag of your kahal...

That being said, my wife doesn't wear tights in the summer (or in the winter, for that matter!). When we were last in Yerushalayim, she carried ankle socks in her bag to put on when we visited places where they have the minhag to always wear socks. Maybe you could do something like that...

You could also investigate buying thin knee-high or thigh-high tights - my wife tells me that they are not as hot as "full" tights.

[To be complete: the Chazon Ish al hamakom disagrees, citing the Tosfos in Yevamos, among other proofs, that shok is actually until the ankle. That is why Chazon-Ish-nikim only wear ankle-length skirts. However, this is not the normative psak.]

Daphne said...

It is up to you as to whether you want to keep up this minhag. If you decide to continue - I really recommend knee highs; they're much cooler than regular tights.

Frayda said...

deal with it
(what i mean is, if you really want to stick with it, do it without complaining. if i was you, i would scrap the leg covering while i was in Israel)

Anonymous said...

Looks like I will be going against the others here...o oh! I will not deny I have had the experience of wearing tights in the hot yerushalayim sun and yes it wasnt the most comfortable but for me I would not feel comfortable removing them...esp in such a place. I think that this is just your y''h talking, please dont give in, u will feel so much better afterwards.

I was once touring with some friends, they wore socks and long skirts and i tights and short skirts, due the heat they ended up with rashes on their thighs where their legs rubbed together, I didn't, I took it as a sign ....

the apple said...

Frayda - I don't think I would consider expressing my thoughts about something important to me on my personal blog to be complaining, but thanks for your thoughts.

Bad4 said...

Below the knee is minhag hamakom, and in Yerushalayim, the minhag of the makom is quite obviously to cover. At least you're not one of the BY girls there who wear long skirts and tights both...

the apple said...

To everyone:

Thanks for your comments. Truth be told, no one told me anything that I didn't already know - I'm quite familiar with the halacha. Now it's a bit more of the hashkafah angle for me, and obviously that's a personal choice that can't really be decided by following the advice of anonymous commenters, though I do appreciate the support/thoughts :).

Lvnsm27 said...

Apple, I know what you mean, but I draw the line at tights and wear knee highs in the summer.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

I think this is an important issue, but I feel I should say that from a guys perspective wearing a skirt that goes slightly below the knees and stockings is not only not modest but fancy and sexy. The people who promulgate wearing them are not in any way representative of what aught to be worn in accordance with Judaism. Stockings, first of all, obviously didn't exist when our ancestors lived in Israel, so I don't know if dressing "extra sexy" because you're in Yerushalaim makes too much sense...

If you're really worried about the modesty of your lower legs you'd be much better off in my opinion just wearing a longer skirt...

Ezzie said...

R Moshe on the subject.

Note that he says very carefully that for those who think it is important to wear below the knee - and as he notes, it isn't - sheer stockings are just the same as any other.

Below the knee is minhag hamakom, and in Yerushalayim, the minhag of the makom is quite obviously to cover. At least you're not one of the BY girls there who wear long skirts and tights both...

Where does everyone get this from!? I've never seen anyone quoted as saying that it is a "minhag HaMakom" issue of any sort! Rather, it is a matter of debate whether it is halacha or not*, and R' Moshe clearly held not.

* Note: A matter of debate over whether something is halacha or not does not make the stringent opinion a "chumra" or "hiddur", nor the less stringent one a "kula". It perhaps can be defined that those who do it to be yotzei all shittos are being "machmir"; but again, this does not make the other side "meikal".

Ezzie said...

Sorry, that should say "flesh-colored" not sheer.

Bad4 said...

Where does everyone get this from!? I've never seen anyone quoted as saying that it is a "minhag HaMakom" issue of any sort! Rather, it is a matter of debate whether it is halacha or not*, and R' Moshe clearly held not.

It's a lovely little book called Halichos Bas Yisroel, and it includes copious footnotes on the entire debate.

Basically, if you believe below the knee should be covered, you need a long skirt. And if don't, then it doesn't matter what you wear. But women over the ages have taken it upon themselves blahdeblah, and therefore one shouldn't stand out when in a community that does.

Erachet said...

I'm not sure you can make a general statement that in Yerushalaim it is minhag hamakom to wear stockings/long skirt/cover below the knee/whatever argument you want to make (this is aside from the issue of covering below the knee not really being minhag hamakom, although I guess it is nice to dress appropriately based on wherever you're going to be so that you don't make anyone uncomfortable). It depends where in Yerushalaim you are. In certain places, yes, most girls there will be wearing long skirts or stockings. But in many places in Yerushalaim, there will be plenty of girls wearing short skirts (below the knee) and naot (or other sandals).

Frayda said...

sorry, I didn't mean to sound harsh. What have you decided to do regarding this dilemma?

the apple said...

At the moment, I'm sticking with what I do (and mostly wearing long skirts to avoid the issue :)).

Ezzie said...

It's a lovely little book called Halichos Bas Yisroel, and it includes copious footnotes on the entire debate.

I'd love to see that. When you come over (COUGH COUGH :) ), bring it!

Bad4 said...

It would be my pleasure, but since I don't know when that is:
It's a sefer by a Rav Fuches - you can get it in Hebrew, or the English translation if you prefer.

My father actually looked up all the footnotes over a three week period and it's a very interesting debate.

aoc gold said...

fzA House Of Cards

(1)

A house of cards
Is neat and small;

Shake the table,
It must fall.

(2)

Find the court cards

One by one;

Raise it, roof it,

Now it's done;

Shake the table!

That's the fun.

-----by runescape money

Frum N' Flipping said...

Sorry this is a practical comment and not deeply insightful, but: have you tried long knee highs, that go to above the knee? They are called 'yarchonim' in Hebrew, and are perfect for short skirts, when you need your knees covered too.they are sold in religious clothing stores (like bazaar Strauss) It's the only way I survive summer in Israel.

the apple said...

I have. They don't stay up very well.