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Welcome to the Judaism community on Codidact!

Will you help us build our community of learners? Drop into our study hall, ask questions, help others with answers to their questions, share a d'var torah if you're so inclined, invite your friends, and join us in building this community together. Not an ask-the-rabbi service, just people at all levels learning together.

Comments on What should be our Modesty Policy?

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What should be our Modesty Policy?

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Judaism Codidact is founded on being a site where people can turn to learn more about Judaism. While our heritage has what to say on intimate themes, it also emphasizes the importance of modesty.

While the prophet declares that the world only exists for the sake of procreation (Isaiah 45:18 with Gittin 41b.1 et. al.), his contemporary holds up modesty as being one of the foundations of the Torah (Micah 6:8 with Makkos 24a.25-26). At the same time that Rav Kahana declares regarding matters of intimacy that "it is Torah and I need to learn" (Berachos 62a.3), Rav Chanan bar Rava states that "Everyone knows why a bride enters under the wedding canopy, but whoever defiles his mouth, even a decree for seventy years of good is reversed upon him for bad" (Shabbos 33a.9).

How do we balance the need for modesty with the desire to learn?

  1. Mi Yodeya's policy is to outright ban any questions dealing with intimate themes in the name of modesty.
  2. Another option might be to allow any explicit themes, but all such questions need to be marked as such (i.e. preface the question title with something like [NSFW]) and avoid any explicit language in the question titles.
  3. Allow these types of questions, but require euphemistic or clinical language (perhaps in combination with #2).
  4. Perhaps a different solution.

Whichever solution you propose, consider that:

  • As young as 13-year-olds are allowed to participate by the ToS, and especially in our culture may not have been exposed to this type of material before.

  • Last week I posted this feature request on the main Meta for an NSFW filter. If that is implemented it may allow some more leeway for how such questions would be handled here.

  • Some questions may themselves be innocent enough and can trivially be formulated to avoid any references to explicit themes; however they may also invite answers which deal with such themes more explicitly. So one thing you might want to address in your answer is whether such questions should be subject to whatever stringencies you propose (if any) to pre-empt any answers over the line.

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1 comment thread

General comments (6 comments)
General comments
Monica Cellio‭ wrote almost 4 years ago

(How) are these topics addressed in yeshivot when teaching teenagers? (I'm not saying that's what we should do, but it seems like that could inform what we do and I have no personal experience to draw on.)

Skipping 2 deleted comments.

Alaychem‭ wrote almost 4 years ago

I think that since Judaism has a lot to say about intimate matters, there is no way that a subject will be banned, however, a proper language should be kept

Alaychem‭ wrote almost 4 years ago

"may not have been exposed to this type of material before" - Do you take your kid out when reading parashat Kedoshim on shabbat?

DonielF‭ wrote almost 4 years ago

@Alaychem I'm not married yet, much less have kids old enough to be in shul. When I was little I couldn't understand the parsha, and when I was older I took "to uncover [his/her] nakedness" at its literal translation of undressing them. It wasn't until well into high school that I properly understood the intention of those pesukim. What was your experience as a child during those parshios, and if you have kids how do/did you handle the issue?

AA ‭ wrote almost 4 years ago

Another consideration is the pool of potential answerers on these questions would be significantly smaller and skewed away from Rabbi (on the ad hoc Rabbi-Troublemaker continuum). There's little reason to expect full or balanced answers to these questions in this format.

AA ‭ wrote almost 4 years ago · edited almost 4 years ago

On Mi Yodeya there was once a post that cited every lenient source on a sexuality-related question and only one obscure source for the restrictive position, even though there are way more strict sources that exist than lenient ones on that topic. Passers by wouldn't be able to tell that and the people who actually know all the sources are generally not interested in writing public essays in English about these issues. The result is bad Q&A.