Tea Time With Dovid: A Tznius Proposal
My thanks to S. C., the Curator of The Complete Archives of Yehonasan Swifs, who generously and graciously supplied for me this document for reproduction in this present edition of The Commentator.
It is a melancholy object to those, who walk through this great yeshiva, or travel on her campus, when they see the classrooms, the library and hallways crowded with students of the female sex, registered for three, four or six courses, each and all in accordance with the dress code, each and all importuning a rabbi for an Uptown Shabbaton.
Importuning is an action at once dreary and draining, and so, it seems beyond reproach and above controversy to recommend that importuning should be done away with. Tznius (modesty), like any -ism, is first and foremost an ideology. As such, tznius suffers not from any authority or personage who can claim what it is and what it is not. No! Tznius is as we do; tznius is as we make it; tznius is like a bird of paradise, whose beauty is diminished and dimmed by its cultivation, its capture and its subjugation to that base alloy of instruction.
I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection. The most straightforward way to go about getting around to the undoing of the importuning is to remove every rabbi from his (or her) station. This is at once the expeditious and the tznius thing to do.
Perhaps there is one minor problem — not so much an objection, but a problem. If we fire all of the rabbis in employ of the yeshiva, they will be out of work. Surely, firing the rabbis in the employ of the yeshiva is justified — for the sake of tznius, we would justify even more than this! — but we, a Modern Orthodox institution, hold this truth to be self-evident, sacred and undeniable: we must embrace everyone, no matter their views, even if they be rabbis.
I thus propose a minor addition to my previous plan: we hire the rabbis as waiters. Perhaps some of my modest readership will object: Why should we need more waiters? I modestly rebut that we will need more waiters for the upcoming Uptown Shabbaton.
I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavouring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good of my yeshiva, by elevating our tznius, providing for students, relieving the poor and giving some pleasure to the rich.
Photo Caption: A cup of tea
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons