Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Page title
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Disrespectful Clothing

The Tenth Man: A Gorilla

It was Purim, and nine of us were standing in shul waiting for a tzenter (tenth man) to complete the minyan for Minchah. It was late in the afternoon and most people were well underway with their Purim seudah. The nine of us had gotten caught up with the mitzvos of the day, and we hadn’t had the opportunity to recite Minchah.

Suddenly the door was flung open and a gorilla barged in. He jumped around the shul for a little while and eventually found a seat. When we realized that our “ape” was really sober, a debate was launched as to whether someone dressed up like a monkey was permitted to recite Shemoneh Esrei.

Some argued that on Purim "anything goes," and therefore one could pray in a gorilla outfit. Others claimed that reciting Shemoneh Esrei in a monkey costume was disrespectful. In the end, our ape took off his costume and reverted to his status quo as a Homo sapien, and we had a minyan of ten men.

During the year one should not pray while wearing a costume. However, on Purim we dress up to remember two miracles that Hashem performed: Vashti grew a tail (Raavan, Megillah 12b) and Mordechai dressed in royalty was led throughout the streets of Shushan by his archenemy Haman (Elya Rabbah 696,15). Since we are wearing these costumes for exalted reasons, as long as they are dignified and one’s body is properly covered, one may continue wearing them for tefillah (Responsa of Shevet HaLevi 10,18,1).

However, everything has its limits. To stand in front of Hashem dressed up like an ape is considered extremely disrespectful. Therefore, it is forbidden to recite Shemoneh Esrei dressed up like a gorilla or in any other undignified costume (heard from Rav Moshe Sternbuch and many other authorities).

In the previous sections we discussed a number of special garments worn during prayer. In addition to the mitzvah to don a special uniform, there is a prohibition against wearing undignified clothing, and a mitzvah to be clothed in the kind of distinguished garments that one wears when visiting an important person. Let us try to understand how we should dress in order to afford Hashem the honor befitting Him.


Text Copyright © 2012 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON YOM KIPPUR:

View Complete List

Yom Kippur - Getting In Touch With Ourselves
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5774

Your Personal Inner Sanctum
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

Understanding Our Special Conduct
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Role of Teshuvah
Shlomo Katz - 5759

Must it Be the Same Old Me?
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

Viduy: I Confess!
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5768

> After Six Comes Seven
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5762

Are We A Role Model for the World?
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky - 5764

Merits, Middles and Majorities
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5764

ArtScroll

Saying Is Believing
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Yom Kippur: Of Angels & Men
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

Complete Teshuvah
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Growing Through the Holidays: Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkos
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774

Thoughts About Prayer Before Yom Kippur
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

To the “Seat of Mercy”
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

The Key to Clemency
Rabbi Moshe Peretz Gilden - 5761



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information