Israel Forever

For the week ending 19 February 2005 / 10 Adar I 5765

Clothes Make the Man

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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In their advertising appeal to a socially-conscious consumer public, the manufacturers of high-priced suits are fond of stressing the old clich that "clothes make the man".

Most of this weeks Torah portion is dedicated to the clothes worn by the kohanim in the performance of their sacred service in the Sanctuary. The Torah points out that these sacred garments served the special purpose of investing those chosen to be the priests offering the sacrifices with the dignity their position deserved. Our Sages note that they also served as atonement for a wide range of the sins committed by the Jewish People. This was achieved in some mystical manner through the sacrifices offered while wearing those garments, and perhaps by the impact of those garments on the souls of the kohanim and through them to the entire nation.

The principal of a secular high school in Jerusalem to whom a yeshiva dean once complained about the immodest dress of her female pupils taking a shortcut through the yeshiva campus countered with the proud declaration that "we teach our pupils independence in everything, including independence in dress".

With such an attitude on the part of educators, is there any wonder why there is so much violence in Israels secular schools?

Clothes do indeed make the man and the woman. Imitating the immodest, irresponsible dress of the western world is a serious threat to the soul of Israel forever.

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