Is a Burqa Tzanua?
Walking through Meah Shearim today in search of a new Sofer table(do you have any idea how hard it is to obtain one of those?) dodging in and out of various back alleys. Typically the women, modestly dressed to the varying Chareidi standards simply blend into the background. You don’t notice them. You don’t notice the men either. It is just the way of it when everyone is more or less dressed the same. Acknowledgement of the presence of another human being consists simply of identifying obstacles in your path.
Anyway I found myself in a group of people as a lady in a black burqa rounded the corner. It was a sight to behold. There wasn’t even an eye-slit like the muslims have. Just head to toe Jawa in the latest fashionable black. As I said above, typically you don’t notice people. However, here everyone took notice. The street and crowd just came to a standstill to stare at this oddity walking through their midst. Heads turned to follow her, men’s as well as women’s. Everyone had their eyes locked on this lady, some even pointing.
Now you definitely could see no curves, or form. It was pretty shapeless aside from the point on the top of her head. However, I had this thought. Is this tzanua? I mean the point of tzniut is to not draw attention to yourself, whether male or female. Rav Shalom M. Heddayya ZTzUK”L, despite being the Rosh Yeshiva of the oldest Yeshiva in the world, wouldn’t don a frock and hamburg just for that reason. So my answer has to be no, this isn’t tzanua. Imean look hours later, I’m still thinking about this woman in the burqa. With the reaction, the stop and stare, I’m sure I’m not the only one still thinking about this woman in the burqa.
Far from fading into the background in appearance she stood out.