To discuss issues relevant to the large and growing world of young Frum families and singles who are fully engaged in the Olam HaTorah and Olam HaZeh. You take your career, learning, family (or dating) and play seriously (not necessarily in that order.) You are nervous about the anti-intellectual trends that you see in your community while being proud of being part of the Torah renaissance in our generation.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Missing the forest for trees - hats and jackets

It is interesting to watch how people dress in the summer for davening. For me it is (unfortunately) simple. I don't have the proper respect for davening so I wear casual clothes to minyan. Cotton Dockers, cotton shirts, etc. Since my work is 24 X 7 casual, and I don't want to change from formal to casual before going to work, I end up davening in clothes that are not appropriate for standing in front of Hashem. But for others it is more interesting. The halacha says that you need to wear a hat and jacket for davening. Period. End of Story. So no matter what else you are wearing, in addition you must add a hat and jacket. It does not matter if the hat or jacket are worn out or stained. It does not matter that they don't match. It does not matter that no one in their right mind would wear a suit jacket with a pair of khakis and sneakers - since the halacha says you must wear a hat and jacket, on they go. This is a good example of how (well meaning) Jews sometimes lose the forest for the trees. True the halacha says to wear a hat and jacket, but it is not a 'Chok' written in the Torah which we follow blindly. It is not an 'objective' halacha (like Tzizis) but is 'subjective'. It is in application of the concept of 'Hachon Likros Elokecha Yisroel' and/or 'Hakreiv Na Lepchasecha' (pardon the wrong pronunciation.) That you should prepare yourself properly before coming before the Almighty as you would before an Earthly king. When this halacha was written, the proper dignified dress was in a hat and jacket ... that matched the dress pants and shoes as well. But now it is treated by many as a 'chok'. You must wear the jacket and hat in and of itself - regardless of what else you are wearing. So it is much better to dress casual from head to toe then to 'mix and match' in a manner that you would never do if you where meeting someone important.