Earlier today while spending a few minutes on Facebook, I came across a post showing a woman shabbily dressed. It had a caption that said, “To the parents who see me every morning as I drop off my kids at school: I am not a real hobo.” I have a question for the woman in the picture: “Then why do you dress like one?” This Sabbath’s parsha, Vayakhel, explains my attitude:
“He made the Laver . . . from the mirrors of the legions who massed at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.” (Shemos/Exodus 38:8).
This week’s parsha reviews the construction of the Mishkan, the portable Tabernacle that accompanied the Israelites during their travels in the wilderness. It also relates perhaps the only time in Jewish history that a building campaign raised so much money people were told to stop giving!
The Priests washed their hands and feet in the Laver before performing the Temple service. Instead of plain copper, it was made from polished copper mirrors donated by the Jewish women.
Moses was reluctant to use them since the women had used them to entice their husbands. But he had the wrong perspective. G-d makes it clear the mirrors were used L’Shaim Shamayim (in the name of Heaven). They ensured the survival of the Jewish people. Exhausted from the physical and mental toil of slavery, the Jewish men would have abstained from marital relations. By taking the initiative the women made sure that the next generation was born.
Despite greater ability to control our environment than ever before, the criteria for everyday dress is comfort and convenience. A writer I follow on Twitter extolls Mark Zuckerberg for wearing a hooded sweatshirt while promoting Facebook’s IPO. As it turns out,
G-d Wants You to Dress Attractively
Of course, He wants you to dress appropriately too. The Talmud encourages wealthy young women to share their dresses with less affluent friends so they can charm young men. Hobo garb may be okay if you are riding the rails, but I do not know any people using a freight train to take their children to school.
Have you ever seen pictures of everyday life from the 1930s through the 1950s? People dressed beautifully, whether at their offices or the grocery store. You might think they are crazy for getting so dressed up. But this week’s parsha makes it clear. Just like the Mishkan brought G-d’s presence down to Earth, when you dress nicely, especially to charm your spouse, you elevate the physical to heavenly heights.
What do you think about the way people dress today?
You can leave a comment on this question or ask another question below ↓
Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. It is named after the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.
Do you have a question about the Old Testament? Ask it here and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!