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Dress Code

Rabbi Raymond Beyda


There are many ways to communicate one's inner feelings. Some write poetry or music. Others commit dramatic acts of violence. Speech and the written word are the most common methods used by humans to interact through expression of ideas. Psychologists in recent years have added a communicative technique called "body language". By observing individuals in a variety of situations the analysts concluded that humans signal their thoughts through the positioning of their bodies as they speak and listen in a conversation. Sometimes one will cross one's arms tightly across one's chest indicating a defensive, protective reaction to a feeling of threat. At other times one will sit back with legs spread comfortably indicating a confident superiority to the other party to the conversation.

The way a person dresses also reveals a great deal about the individuals inner self. Bright colors and bold patterns scream, "look at me-I need to be noticed". A conservative neat dresser very often is a successful, confident individual who feels content with him or her self and doesn't care to be ogled by every passerby. Just as body language bares the hidden thoughts of a person dress code speaks loudly as to the inner being of a person. The laws of Jewish dress code are often criticized as being restrictive and old fashion. The fact of the matter is clothing is an element that is supposed add dignity to the person not detract from his or her noble status as the primary creation in G-d's universe. One who dresses modestly expresses a confidence that he or she has a beautiful inner soul that is not dependent on the exterior trappings of a shallow, physical world. A self-confident person has no problem covering the body in a respectful way and going through his or her day confident in the knowledge that regardless of what other people think -- Hashem is happy with he or she.

Today as you stand in the closet staring at the variety of choices available for you to dress yourself ­ stop. Consider whether the outfit you are about to put on is one that will add dignity to your self or will you join the unsophisticated masses in dressing in a way that demands attention for your exterior trappings. It only takes a minute to lift you up to the lofty status as a diplomat in the nation of G-d representing the King in a dignified way and separating yourself from the masses.

Text Copyright © 2003 Rabbi Raymond Beyda and



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