Cover Up or Die

Exodus Hizkuni: Tetzaveh

 

Cover Up or Die

Almost every year, for the last 13 years that I have been in Israel, the day of Purim has been a cold overcast day. In many parts of the world, this would not seem unnatural, but in Israel, there is often not only pleasant weather, but actual heat waves immediately before and after Purim.

There is a story behind this story. I was told that many years ago, a Rabbi in Israel (I don’t recall his name) cursed the day of Purim. He was shocked by the immodest costumes that were being worn. He then proceeded to pronounce a curse that the day of Purim should always be cold so that costume wearers would have no choice but to wear something that covers up more.

In the description of garments worn by the High Priest, there is a related theme.

“And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover the flesh of their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach. And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they go in unto the tent of meeting, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die; it shall be a statute for ever unto him and unto his seed after him.” Exodus 28:42-43

Rabbi Hizkiyahu ben Manoach (Hizkuni) explains a very simple rationale why the priests will die if they do not cover up. It is not an issue of glory or presentability. It is merely an issue of modesty. Whichever priest dares to dress immodestly in front of God, will die.

Having grown up on the beaches of South America, I was aware of a different level of modesty than many of my friends from northern climes. I have come to the conclusion that there is both a subjective cultural norm as to what is modest as well as an objective one. What may be most important about modesty in my opinion though, may actually be the intention behind the clothing.

May we always dress appropriately for all occasions.

Shabbat Shalom and Purim Sameach,

Bentzi

Dedication

To dermatologist Dr. Ingrid Uzun Pocubay. She tells people to cover up for entirely different reasons.

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Exodus Hizkuni: Tetzaveh

 

Cover Up or Die

 

Almost every year, for the last 13 years that I have been in Israel, the day of Purim has been a cold overcast day. In many parts of the world, this would not seem unnatural, but in Israel, there is often not only pleasant weather, but actual heat waves immediately before and after Purim.

 

There is a story behind this story. I was told that many years ago, a Rabbi in Israel (I don’t recall his name) cursed the day of Purim. He was shocked by the immodest costumes that were being worn. He then proceeded to pronounce a curse that the day of Purim should always be cold so that costume wearers would have no choice but to wear something that covers up more.

 

In the description of garments worn by the High Priest, there is a related theme.

 

“And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover the flesh of their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach. And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they go in unto the tent of meeting, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die; it shall be a statute for ever unto him and unto his seed after him.” Exodus 28:42-43

 

Rabbi Yaakov ben Manoach (Hizkuni) explains a very simple rationale why the priests will die if they do not cover up. It is not an issue of glory or presentability. It is merely an issue of modesty. Whichever priest dares to dress immodestly in front of God, will die.

 

Having grown up on the beaches of South America, I was aware of a different level of modesty than many of my friends from northern climes. I have come to the conclusion that there is both a subjective cultural norm as to what is modest as well as an objective one. What may be most important about modesty in my opinion though, may actually be the intention behind the clothing.

 

May we always dress appropriately for all occasions.

 

Shabbat Shalom and Purim Sameach,

 

Bentzi

Dedication

 

To dermatologist Dr. Ingrid Uzun Pocubay. She tells people to cover up for entirely different reasons.

 

One thought on “Cover Up or Die

  1. I assume, if can give my modest opinion, Dr. Ingrid would give always the best advice ever concerning the very good maintenance of people health! Mattiazzo

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