For an enlarged, easier to read index click here . To "google search" this site, scroll to the bottom of this page. (This site is best viewed with "Firefox")

(Tips: F11 key enables full screen viewing & Ctrl-F to search the index)


MISC-----who cares how i dress?!


cosby Posted - 21 October 2002 15:25

Ok, so here's my little story. My parents are yeshivish - very yeshivish, to the point of being almost chassidish minus the rebbe (but we have a rav, of course) and tisches and streimels.

But I've never really been into the trappings of white shirt black slacks and all of that - It isn't written anywhere that you have to dress like you're headed to a funeral all the time - and I started wearing more casual stuff - jeans, etc., stopped wearing a hat, all that - but now my parents think im heading off the derech and becoming a goy - or worse, modern! (gasp) and even though I haven't changed a single element of my mitzvah observance and I learn the sane etc, they are completely flipping out.

So, since they can’t or won’t, kindly explain to me what's wrong with me relaxing a little and living a more normal life?

I DONT get any major enjoyment out of the kumzitzes and tisches that all the "bachurim" in my neighborhood think of as prime entertainment. I'm NOT moved by the sight of yeshivish Jews - Im much prouder of the Jews I see who wear their yarmulkes and tzitzis and STILL manage to look like normal American citizens...

.. and I'm tired of being looked down on by my family and acquaintances because, even though they can’t explain why, they dress as the most important aspect of frumenty. So, please explain.

MODERATOR Posted - 21 October 2002 16:05

Well honestly it would really be unfair to do this without hearing the other side of the story as well, but I guess under the circumstances we will have to do without.

There are two problems in what you described. One:

“Im much prouder of the Jews I see who wear their yarmulkes and tzitzis and STILL manage to look like normal American citizens”

You speak as if looking like a "normal American citizen" has some advantage over looking like your parents (as if they are not "normal American citizens?"). That’s a problem. The attitude that looking more like the goyim is a positive thing, something to strive for.

It's not. Imagine yourself Lord Greystoke of the United Kingdom accidentally lost in the jungle, forced to live among the apes. You can look at yourself as royalty and make sure that you act, dress, and speak like an aristocratic human, only resorting to "ape language" and behavior where necessary to survive, or, you can lose sight of your own aristocracy, don a loincloth, swing from vines, and be proud of yourself for "looking like a normal citizen of the jungle."

And imagine your entire family having to live among the apes, and their trying do hard to maintain a sense of dignity in your lives until you get rescued, so they make sure to eat with a fork and spoon, from normal plates, dressed in normal clothes.

Then in swings you from your vine with your club and loincloth, eating on the floor with your hands like a monkey.

And when your parents ask you to please dress like a human you tell them "I am prouder of those humans who look like normal citizens of the jungle."

That’s pretty much what’s happening here. You should be proud to look like a Jew in all ways - at the very least, there should be no pride in looking like normal "citizens of the jungle." Why would there be? Such pride is a sign of some misunderstanding regarding your uniqueness as a Jew and the difference between you and what you call "normal citizens."

The second thing is, even if there would be nothing weird about wanting to look like the monkeys, and even if your parents were totally on mars, still, it would not be worth causing friction between you and them, and between you and your community, over a matter of what kind of pants to wear.

The very accusation you level at them - why do they care so much about dress - can be directed with even more force at yourself. For whereas your parents do not pay a price for asking you to conform in your dress, you pay a very measurable price by insisting on dressing not the way they ask. And so not only do you prefer to dress the way you do, you are willing to go through much domestic and social aggravation to do so.

If that is due to an unwillingness to give in, you are merely spiting yourself; if it is due to the intensity of your desire for jeans and a t-shirt, you are expressing much more than a preference, but an insistence on dressing that way. Either way, it’s more than just that you like certain clothes.

And either way , it is a cause for concern on the part of parents.

No comments: