To Donate Click Here

Watching Dancing Girls (Taanis 31)

Can you explain the apparent lack of tzniut of the gemara tannis 31 regarding the dancing maidens. The men would come to get a wife by watching the girls dance. This does not seem appropriate?


Several authorities mention this point, and write that this does not constitute a lack of tzenius, because only men who were not married went to see the dance, and they did so for the sake of picking out a fitting match. It is permitted to observe a girl for the purpose of marriage (see Rambam, Issurei Biah 21:3), and the enactment was made in this spirit, to enable unmarried girls to find a worthy husband.

The Mishnah is brought by Shut Binyamin Ze’ev (305) as proof of the fact that mixed dancing is not acceptable (the girls danced separately, and the men only watched), and it is mentioned by the Yam Shel Shlomo (Gittin Chap. 1, no. 18), who writes that unmarried men would stand from afar, and gaze at the girls leshem shamayim.

The Michtam (on Taanis) raises the question of how the enactment is suitable, and explains that it was made for girls who lack the financial means required to find a husband by conventional means (the problems in this realm didn’t start today…), and therefore it was a worthy enactment.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *