When Should Conduct In A Manner Of Tznius Begin

According to the Shulchan Aruch when a girl reaches the age of three years and a day she should already conduct herself in a manner of tznius. Surely so this applies to a girl 10 years and older....

But not to be oppressive about this ... and to speak in a pleasant manner.

Excerpt from a letter of the Rebbe,
Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XVIII, p. 448

Dress & Skirt Length

In response to the question that many have asked me about the proper length of dresses:

My opinion is known that the proper length that applies equally to all Jewish daughters and in all places is that the [length of the garment be such that the] knees be covered even while sitting.

As already stated, that which I mentioned above is the minimum amount that applies equally to all.

However, since there are places where this minimum amount is insufficient for with regard to matters of tznius and the like, in addition to the fact that there are observances of tznius in different places that are not to be changed, there are also details that depend on the custom of the place (i.e., they depend on the custom to be stringent, but not to be lenient) it is incumbent on the local Rav who provides Halachic decisions, to clarify and rule with regard to that particular place.

Additionally and this too is of primary importance the necessity to be stringent in accordance with the conditions of the location, does not necessarily mean that this is a mere stringency. For it is also possible that the conditions of the place cause it to be a Torah prohibition. And we find this to be so with regard to many matters.

Excerpt from a letter of the Rebbe, 13 Cheshvan , 5732

Celebration Of Bas Mitzvah

1. According to the Zohar Chadosh (Bereishis 15:4) the joy on the day one becomes Bar Mitzvah should be as great as one's joy on the day of his wedding. According to the reason provided there, it would seem that the same is true with regard to becoming Bas Mitzvah.

One should not celebrate a Bas Mitzvah in the style of those who are "modern," who celebrate it in the same manner of a Bar Mitzvah. Rather, to do something in a modest manner in school, similar to a birthday. And the parent's should buy her a nice present, etc.

To do it (i.e., celebrate the Bas Mitzvah) only as part of a Mesibas Shabbos or a Melaveh Malkah.

Excerpts from letters of the Rebbe,
printed in Sha'arei Halachah U'Minhag II, pp. 311-312

2. It is self-understood that I am not addressing here the general matter of celebrating a Bas Mitzvah, and it seems that this was also not your question. Merely that in light of the present condition of your community the question is solely about the time frame.

Although the following note is surely superfluous, still, as an added caution I wish to write the following, because of the indiscretions committed in many places regarding the ceremony of Bas Mitzvah. For in some places those who "scrupulously observe" the Bas Mitzvah ceremony burst into song, and unfortunately, in present times, this is done with the participation of women mainly the Bas Mitzvah and her friends. In this matter compromise is impossible, for the Shulchan Aruch explicitly forbids this.

Excerpt from Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVII, p. 238

Working Before Marriage

With regard to "wealth": It is self-understood and quite plain that if a Jewish daughter who has reached the age of a shidduch has wealth it is not a result of her own doing (she worked and saved enough money to become wealthy), rather it is because her family is wealthy.

During the last few generations, the difficulty of exile, etc., has given rise to a "new custom," that Jewish daughters go out before their wedding to work and earn money! Such a thing never occurred during those years when matters were in their proper order, at which time Jewish daughters conducted themselves in a manner of "The entire glory of a king's daughter is inward."

All types of "reasons" are presented to explain the benefits accrued by this new "custom," among them that when she will earn money then her husband will be able to study in Kollel after their marriage... And other similar reasons are given. But what is forgotten is that if the Jewish daughter were to conduct herself in a manner of "The entire glory of a king's daughter is inward," then this would assist the Torah study of her Choson and husband.

It is not worthwhile speaking about this at length, since this "custom" has spread to all segments of the Jewish population, including those who conduct themselves in a manner of "Mehadrin min HaMehadrin." So that speaking about negating this practice comes under the heading of "A decree the community will not be able to accept."

Excerpt from a Sicha of the Rebbe, 15 Av, 5743

Driving A Car

I do not know the customs of the community to which he belongs according to your letter. I do believe, however, according to that which I have heard, that they completely oppose the whole idea of a woman driving a car. Although other pious communities have a different view on this matter, nevertheless there is the well-known Torah principle that "In the place of Rav, one is to act according to the rulings of Rav; in the place of Shmuel, one is to act according to the rulings of Shmuel."

Excerpt from Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVI, p. 203

A Male Driver

It is worth calling to attention the matter of Jewish women and girls being careful about riding in a taxi or car driven by a male1 (where there may possibly be a concern of yichud , etc.), and as known the discussion about this matter in seforim.2 In such a situation, one should clarify the various laws and details concerning this matter by a Rav who provides Halachic decisions.

Excerpt from Sefer HaSichos 5751, Vol. I, p. 244

Seeking A Shidduch In A Manner Of Tznius

1. Concerning that which I wrote that your quest for a shidduch must be etc. my intent is simple:

Unfortunately, some circles have permitted themselves matters that are completely unacceptable, with the excuse that this is being done as part of finding a proper match. In actuality, in Eretz Yisrael many shidduchim are completed in a manner of proper tznius , and the couples are extremely happy both spiritually and physically.

Excerpt from Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIX, p. 103

2. In response to your letter of Rosh Chodesh Iyar in which you write about the sudden change in attitude toward you from your prospective match, this having taken place after having already met many times, and you wonder what caused this.

All particular matters that transpire with Jews have a Torah and inner spiritual reason as their root cause, i.e., [when something untoward happens] one's conduct was not in keeping with the dictates of our holy Torah. Since this matter has practical consequences, it is necessary to clearly state the facts in order to know how to rectify the situation: your meetings were unfortunately contrary to Torah dictates, and unfortunately not always in a manner of tznius.

It is difficult to write these words, particularly when every person is to be judged favorably and given the benefit of the doubt. However, as stated above, since such an important matter hangs in the balance, it is not at all useful not to state the facts. This becomes even clearer from the results of such behavior: distancing came about as a result of prohibited closeness.

Excerpt from Igros Kodesh, Vol. XV, p. 113

Tznius Regarding One's Place Of Dwelling

With regard to your asking my opinion about living after the wedding in a room that you have in the courtyard, where the kitchen is found outside and distant from your room, and your intended feels that this is not in a manner of tznius :

In matters such as these, and in light of the verse "The entire glory of a king's daughter is inward," it is important to consider her opinion and seek a fit dwelling. And He who provides all the other expenses will provide for this as well, since it is being done to fulfill His will in the matter of tznius , and surely as it applies to a daughter in Israel.

Excerpt from Igros Kodesh, Vol. IX, p. 184

Hair Length Of Married Women

1. It is related in the journal Yagdil Torah (New York) XXV , that when the Rebbe was asked about the hair length of married women, he responded: "Not to shave the hair; let it be half a tefach. " He demonstrated the length of half a tefach by displaying two of his holy fingers. When further asked whether it must be exactly the thickness of two fingers, he responded: "It does not have to be exact to the millimeter."

Sha'arei Halachah U'Minhag IV, p. 141

2. With regard to your writing about the conduct of previous generations concerning cutting of the hair of married women [whether they need to be entirely cut off]:

In general there are many manners of doing so and many customs among pious Jews themselves. Concerning this matter one may cite the saying of our Sages, "They are both completely righteous." In other words, I am referring to customs whose purpose is the ultimate in Yiras Shomayim. Therefore you should clarify in your circumstance what is best and act accordingly.

Excerpt from Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVI, p. 89

3. A great Halachic authority has written (and the debate is well known) that a women should not entirely cut off the hair of her head, and that doing so is prohibited because of nivul , disfigurement (note Nazir 28a [that a husband may say he does not desire a wife with a shaven head] but there it speaks only of shaving off the hair,) and in Shulchan Aruch , Yoreh Deah 182:5 [shaving off the hair is similarly prohibited] because "A woman should not adorn herself with male adornment."

However, in Zohar II, 268b and Mikdash Melech on Zohar III, 79a quoted by the Acharonim as law it states that even with scissors only a minority cut off all their hair.

Excerpt from a letter of the Rebbe, Sivan 5738

Women And Doctors

1. You write about your wife's state of mind, for which reason she wants to be examined by a doctor, while you do not care for it to be done so hastily.

While I agree with you that there is no need to be upset that she has yet to conceive, still, since your wife is upset you should explain to her your reasoning. If she accepts it in a good and glad manner then that is fine. If, however, for whatever reason she is still upset, you should comply with her desire to be examined by a doctor.

With regard to your hesitancy because the doctor is a male: I have yet to hear about being particular about this when it involves health matters. At most, you can investigate whether there is to be found a female doctor who specializes in this area.

Excerpt from Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 100

2. It is my opinion that with regard to the specialty of gynecology, it is worthwhile wherever possible that the physicians be women.

In addition to reasons of tznius , it leads to greater efficacy in choosing the most proper course of action. For it would seem that it is more natural for a woman rather than a man to more easily and completely understand and feel the nature and feelings of another woman (and conversely with a male patient).

Excerpt from a letter of the Rebbe, 23 Teves , 5748

Theatrical Performances

With regard to the plays that you put on from time to time: In general, this is most appropriate.

However, one must be careful to guard against those matters that some treat lightly although they involve Torah prohibitions, such as: the prohibition of women wearing men's clothing, [women or girls] singing in public, mingling of the sexes, etc.

Excerpt from Igros Kodesh, Vol. X, p. 100

Men Speaking To A Woman's Group

It is both proper and necessary for lectures to be delivered often to the women of N'shei U'Bnos Chabad (see Hilchos Talmud Torah of the Alter Rebbe, conclusion of ch. 1). If this is better accomplished and even if this is doubtful by a male, then a man should speak (Pischei Teshuvah on Shulchan Aruch , Yoreh Deah end of chapter 240).

Excerpt from a letter of the Rebbe