("Let's table the discussion" is a new Adath Israel Shul initiative where a story or thought is presented in order to stimulate exciting and constructive discussion around our Shabbos table or among friends and children. Dedicated to the Refush Sheleima of Shalva Adina Bas Sarah Chana)
John Jacob Astor IV was the Titanic's wealthiest passenger. According to legend, Astor, standing by as the ship sank, observed a 13-year-old boy being denied a seat on one of the lifeboats because the rule was “women and children first.” The quick-thinking Astor put a girl's hat on the boy's head. "Now," he declared, "you're a girl."
There are many different types of clothing, with varying fabrics, colors and fashions. Through the type of clothing a person wears, he communicates a statement about himself as he chooses to present himself to the world. He conveys a message about his attitude to life, to himself - to the time and place in which he finds himself, and to the people with whom he comes in contact. He carefully chooses if his message be casual, formal, intellectual, business-like, etc. Besides the very basic and essential civil-modesty issue, a person truly expresses himself through his clothing. Otherwise, he lacks personality, identity. In the Chinese People’s Republic, for example, everyone dressed in the same drab clothing. This served to communist end of subjugating the people and effacing individuality.
Rav Aharon Soloveitchik ztl. used to remind us that on a deeper level, our neshamos, too, need clothes. Hashem, in His infinite mercy on us, has given us Torah and Mitzvos which serve as clothes for our neshamos. The word בושה and לבוש, thus, are connected. Just as our clothing cover us, so our spiritual clothes save us from shame. They provide us a way to present ourselves before the Shechina.
What do your clothes say about you?
Is that the message you want them to convey? Why?
Let’s “table” the discussion – by discussing it with our children, spouses, families and guests and open an exciting discussion into our homes and community.