Tuesday, July 22, 2008


“He has told you, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you: only to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly/modestly with your God.”

Did you know that this famous passage subscribed to in many religions was first spoken by the Jewish prophet Micah (6:8) in the mid-eighth century B.C.E.?

An open society tolerates and encourages the stretching of personal limitations in all matters of behavior. Some are in line with the advice of the prophet, while others are arguably or clearly not.

The rules of modesty apply equally to both women and men.

The ideal of modesty advocated by the prophet takes place on several different fronts, all aimed at helping humans rise above our animalistic tendencies and see the spiritual essence of every human being. Modesty in Judaism means not doing anything that draws unnecessary attention to oneself. Although teaching or making a business presentation certainly draws attention - this is not regarded to be immodest as it is a necessary component of an honorable profession.

On the behavior front, it means not being loud, obnoxious, a gossip, unhygienic, obscene or inappropriate. When it comes to dress, modesty requires us to present ourselves in such a manner so that our most prominent feature, which represents each person’s unique individuality and humanity, is our face.

While the laws of modesty apply to both men and women, the guidelines of modest dress for women are more detailed. To learn more, click here.

Copyright © 2008 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

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