Before meeting with someone of great importance, a person will take every precaution to make sure that he is presentable. When there is even the slightest possibility of appearing offensive to the distinguished person they are speaking to, they will make sure to remedy that issue beforehand. One will be especially careful in issues pertaining to personal hygiene, and won’t present himself unless he is completely clean.
“A person should wash his face, hands and feet each day in honor of His Creator” (Shabbos 50b as cited by the Mishnah Berurah 4,2). Rashi explains that since a person is created in Hashem’s image, it is fitting that he should wash himself each day. This way he portrays the Divine image in the most dignified fashion.
Moreover, we find that Chazal established a special berachah to recite upon seeing beautiful people, “Who has such [beautiful creations] in His universe.” Considering that a special blessing was enacted in recognition of beauty, we can assume that looking one’s best is the way to show the ultimate honor to Hashem. Therefore one should try and look his best before tefillah.
Text Copyright © 2013 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org