Rosh Yeshiva Responds
Rabbi Linzer answers halakhic questions from rabbis and community members

15 08, 2016

Tzniut, Halakha, and the Male Gaze

August 15th, 2016|Tzeniut, Women|

This essay was written in the context of this op ed in the New York Times. This accompanying source sheet provides a closer look at the sources. 

Tova Hartman, in her chapter “Modesty and the Religious Male Gaze,” in Feminism Encounters Traditional Judaism, discusses the topic of the male gaze, and how the culture around tzniut reinforces this – accepts it as a given – and the status of women as sex objects. The only difference between this approach and that of Western culture is whether the response

10 08, 2016

Tzniut, Halakha and the Male Gaze: Lecture and Sources

August 10th, 2016|Tzeniut, Women|

This lecture was composed in the context of this op-ed in the New York Times. These sources also accompany the Season 2 Episode 7 episode of the Joy of Text podcast.


There is a general sense in the frum community that tzniut is a concept that applies almost exclusively to women and to how they dress.  In some more Haredi communities, young girls are taught that tzniut is there special mitzvah – that they must dress modestly at all times so that men will not look at them and

26 07, 2016

Public Displays of Affection

July 26th, 2016|Niddah, Sex, Tzeniut|


לגרסה העברית לחצו כאן /Read this teshuva in Hebrew

I am a kallah teacher and was asked if I have any halakhic or rabbinic sources about public displays of affection—from simply holding hands to hugging and kissing in public. The woman also considered that the guidelines might be different in front of intimate family rather than in a large public space, such as at a wedding, etc. The husband is leaning towards a more stringent approach, but she wants “to do the right thing, not just the stricter thing.” She wants real answers rooted in sources that

6 11, 2009

Tzniut: Whose Obligation?

November 6th, 2009|Berakhot, Tzeniut, Women|

The topics of hirhurim and tzniut, of illicit sexual thoughts and modesty, have deep implication. The Gemara (e.g., Avoda Zara 20b, Berakhot 24a) focuses on the man’s sexual thoughts as potentially resulting from seeing or looking lustfully at women, but does not address the issue of women’s sexual thoughts. To some degree this is consistent with the Gemara’s general androcentric approach, but in this case in particular it has the effect of objectifying women – of casting the man as a sexual being and the woman as a sex object to which he is responding. Interestingly, Rav Moshe Feinstein in