Practical Judaism – Shemot

“The Israelites were led out of Egypt on account of three things: they did not change their names, language, or clothing.” -Midrash

Welcome to the new season of the ‘Raising Holy Sparks’ podcast. This year, we will be focusing on Jewish concepts and will be experimenting with ways to take them out of the theoretical and turn them into the practical.

Clothing can be transformative.

It can help us connect to our heritage. It can make us feel beautiful. It can take us from feeling down and out and transform us into feeling like we RUN the world!

There is a teaching that says the Israelites were worthy of redemption because they stayed true to their heritage and to themselves in three ways: they did not change their names, language, or clothing.

The thinking behind this teaching is that someone or something else cannot save you or believe in you if you don’t firstly believe in your own worth and identity.

One of the most profound and poignant vignettes that I have read from survivors of the Shoah (the Holocaust) is that once the women were liberated from the camps they did not feel like they were human again until they put on some lipstick or a dress.

Clothing is what makes us human. I can’t remember the last time I saw a giraffe in a t-shirt. Although, I have seen a duck and a mouse wearing one, but that was in Los Angeles.

Clothing doesn’t just help us stay true to our heritage or make us feel beautiful, but it can also help us to feel prepared for the day ahead.

During Covid one of the things that was challenging for many of us working from home is that we did not have to change into formal wear as frequently as we did before the pandemic. As a result of this uniformity in dress, time began to slip away and perhaps we even lost our edge in showing up confident.

According to the Scientific American Magazine, a study from 2015 “asked subjects to change into formal or casual clothing before cognitive tests. Wearing formal business attire increased abstract thinking—an important aspect of creativity and long-term strategizing. The experiments suggest the effect [of wearing formal attire] is related to feelings of power.”

Do you find that the way you dress impacts your mood, shows off your personality, or helps you feel prepared to tackle the day ahead?

See you next time! ✌

Thanks for listening and looking forward to being on this journey through the books of the Torah with you!

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