This was only one day after the news broke about Rabbi Elyakim Levanon's natatorial dictates, just in time for summer. In case you're wondering, fathers can bring their female toddlers to the pool, but swimsuits are OK only up to 36 months. After that, they must be fully dressed, and though they might be allowed in the water up to age 12,
Men feel uncomfortable swimming alongside young girls above the age of four or five, even though they are dressed with tzeniut.Conclusion: once your toddler reaches 36 months, you can buy another 12 months by putting her in "modest dress," but that's it.
Let's tackle these in reverse order. R. Kelemen speaks of "the mitzvah of tzenius", or, as one might have spelled it, the mitzva of tzeniut. Actually, one should never use that phrase, because while there is indeed a "mitzvah of taking challah," one of the famed 613, there is no mitzva of tzeniut. Sure, some count checking if locusts are kosher (Maimonides, Pos. 151) or settling the Land of Israel (Nachmanides, Pos. 4), but no one counts a mitzva of tzeniut. In fact, the root does not even appear in the Torah. We do find the root in the Prophets (Mic. 6:8) and Proverbs (11:2), but there it clearly is a synonym for humility, and R. Kelemen is not addressing the notion of enthusiastic humility.
But what of R. Levanon's halakhic analysis? Perhaps we need to look at the Mishnaic sources? We find tzenuim five times in the Mishna and five in the Tosefta, and in each case it refers to those who go above and beyond the letter of the law. How, then, can one define halakhic parameters for a concept which is metahalakhic? In fact, R. Levanon himself says that fully dressed girls should be allowed to swim with men up to age 12, but because men feel uncomfortable with preschoolers too, that somehow changes the halakha. We should count ourselves lucky that these men are not attracted to 2-year-olds.
In reward for the tzeniut displayed by Rachel, she was granted to number among her descendants Saul; and in reward for the tzeniut displayed by Saul, he was granted to number among his descendants Esther. What was the tzeniut displayed by Rachel... She said: "I have a sister older than I am, and [our father] will not let me marry before her." So [Jacob] gave her signs. When night came, she said to herself, "Now my sister will be put to shame." So she handed over the signs to [Leah]. So it is written, "And it came to pass in the morning that, behold, it was Leah"--are we to infer from this that up to now she was not Leah? What it means is that on account of the signs which Rachel gave to Leah, he did not know until then. Therefore she was rewarded by having Saul among her descendants. What tzeniut did Saul display? As it is written, "But concerning the matter of the kingship, of which Samuel spoke, he told him nothing." He was therefore rewarded by having Esther among his descendants.Tzeniut is modesty, but it is also compassion, humility and conscientiousness. The best translation would probably be "decency." It is not quantifiable or judicable; it is a matter of character, morality which cannot be codified. I leave it to the reader to judge who, in these case, is being indecent.