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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 20, 2007 / 8 Tishrei 5768,

Do ‘clothes make the man’?

By Rabbi A. Henach Leibowitz


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How our choices define us — whether we realize it or not

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When it came time for the patriarch, Isaac, to bestow his berachos — blessings — on his firstborn, he planned to give the blessings to Esau. The matriarch, Rebecca, felt that Jacob should have the blessings and arranged to switch Jacob for Esau.


The commentary Daas Zekaynim — written by the Baalei Tosafos, the the 12th and 13th Century group of Torah Scholars, mainly grandsons and great grandsons of the foremost commentator, Rashi, and who basically formulated and carried forward the Ashkenazic Tradition — explain that Rebecca dressed Jacob in Esau's clothing in order to motivate him to act completely like Esau so that he would be successful in executing her plan.


Apparently, the Baalei Tosafos are troubled by the fact that Isaac was already blind, and therefore there was no need for Jacob to disguise himself. If so, the only purpose in having Jacob wear these garments was for his own benefit, to enable him to act the part of Esau so faithfully that Isaac would not recognize Jacob as an impostor. This is similar, in an extremely different type of situation, to an actor's use of costume and make-up to help him feel the part, and thus put on a better performance.


It seems from the Baalei Tosafos that without the additional influence of his brother's clothing, Jacob would have fallen short in playing the part of Esau perfectly. Jacob's life and future were on the line. By receiving the blessings, he would ensure the destiny of Klal Yisroel (Jewry) through his offspring. Were he to fail, he would certainly be cursed by Isaac. With all of Jacob's wisdom and talent, and with all his familiarity with every nuance of his brother's mannerisms, he still would not have portrayed a perfect imitation. It was the additional prop of Esau's clothing that made the difference, enabling Jacob to imitate Esau effectively.


The influence of clothing on a person cannot be underestimated. Clothes don't only "make the man" in the eyes of others — they define the person in his own eyes, and create his self-perspective.


A person who follows the lead of less-refined elements of society is identifying with them to some degree. He will feel differently about himself and will be less inhibited in his behavior. On the other hand, a neatly groomed and more formally attired person is associating himself with a more refined class of society. This will influence his self-image and his conduct will tend to be more dignified as a result.


EXTERNAL ACTIONS — INTERNAL EFFECT
A basic rule of Mussar (Jewish ethical teaching) is that external actions and appearances have an effect on the internal make-up of a person. We must be careful that our outside appearance reflects the dignity of the human being, created in the image of the Divine. However, if a person carries this to an extreme, he can fall into the trap of gaavah — arrogance — caused by overly elegant garb.


As the Mesilas Yesharim (Chapter 23) defines it, the correct method of dress is to wear "modest clothing, which is dignified but not ostentatious." If our appearance is showy or attention- grabbing, we have gone too far, and violated the Torah's standards of humility and modesty.


As always, the Torah (Bible) requires us to maintain a proper balance: To dress in a respectable but not ostentatious manner, as befits our Divine image. If our external appearance reflects this blend of honor and restraint, it will play a powerful role in elevating our character to higher levels of sanctity and purity.

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One of America's senior Torah sages, Rabbi A. Henach Leibowitz has been the dean of the Rabbinical Seminary of America, in Queens, New York for more than 50 years. The institution has branches and affiliates all across North America and Israel.

This article was prepared by two of the sage's disciples, Rabbi Aryeh Striks and Rabbi Shimon Zehnwirth, and excerpted from the just released book, "Pinnacle of Creation: Torah insights into human nature".


Previously:

Divine vindictiveness?

© 2007, Mesorah Publications, Ltd.