Chana Coughlan, Denver, Colorado
I was asked to give a Dvar Torah on tzniut. I know that tzniut is a hard thing, so I wanted to give you my perspective on it. As a young woman who is trying to take on tzniut herself, I find that the general understanding of the word “tzniut” is wrong. It creates an automatic reaction of negativity and resentment not only from society, but also from ourselves. So, I want to redefine the meaning of tzniut. Tzniut means the following:
And a definition of self that is not predicted upon others approval.
It is an honest evaluation and realization of one’s self worth and mission in life. Tzniut demands that we fortify ourselves with a dignified innerness in a world that scream cheap externalism. It’s a challenge and a gift that was given to us, the Jewish Women. Tzniut creates an environment where we are really able to feel as if we are apart of something bigger than ourselves. If you think about it like that, tzniut is a really beautiful thing. It still allows for individuality and self-expression, but in a modest and unifying way. It is said that kedusha, holiness, thrives in hiddenness. Being Banot Yisrael, we are holy. It’s our job to protect and be in control of our individual holiness. By being tzniut and not looking to others for approval, we are, in turn, allowing for our kedusha to thrive. So, with that, I want to give you all a bracha to take your new definition and understanding of tzniut and use it to continue your journey tzniut, in life, and in Judaism.