In the beginning,
Dressed In White
“…and that every product of the thoughts of his heart was but evil constantly” (6:5)
When I was growing up in London, you could go to one of two shuls. A major difference between them was that at one people drove to shul and parked around the block, and at the other, they drove to shul and parked in the forecourt.
At one shul they knew what was right but they just didn’t want to do it. At the other, they had changed the definition of “right.”
There are two ways a person can do an aveira (transgression). He can do something that he knows is wrong and have sufficient embarrassment about it to try and conceal it, or he can come out of the closet and proclaim that there was no reason to be in the closet in the first place.
One of the major casualties of our generation is embarrassment. Virtually nothing is a cause for embarrassment anymore because almost everything is okay.
The Talmud (Mo’ed Katan 17b) says that if someone has an overpowering desire to commit an immoral impropriety, he should first go to a place where no one knows him; he should garb himself in ‘plain-clothes’ by wearing black and should wrap his head in black.
Why, if he dresses in black, should he also drape his head in black?
To change your clothing is to prevent a desecration of Gd’s name by being easily identified as Jew; to drape your head in black is to remind yourself that what you’re about to do is terribly wrong. And if that is not sufficient to deter you, at least you should know that you cannot rewrite the rule book.
What’s wrong is wrong – you can’t dress it up in white.