“And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for splendor and for beauty.” (Exodus 28:2)
I once held a job in the customer service department of a telephone company. I only interacted with clients over the phone — never in person. When I started that job, I would come to work after my yeshiva studies, in my “yeshivish” attire (button down shirt and slacks). Then I began taking college courses, and would come to work after school. One day I came in jeans and a sweatshirt. My supervisor called me over and gave me a verbal pasting. “You are required to wear business attire here!” I tried to defend myself by pointing out that certain employees, in other departments, higher up in the company than me, regularly dressed casually as I had that day. “But you are in customer service!” she responded.
A uniform does more than identify to others what position or role one serves. “The clothing makes the man.” One’s clothing adds a level of awareness of identity and purpose to the wearer. As in the above incident, though the company’s clients would never see through the phone how I dressed, my attire would affect my self-perception as a professional customer service agent, and serve to transform my job performance.
Certainly, in the service of God, this phenomenon holds no less import. As servants and representatives of the Most High, let us make certain what we wear on our outsides will have the desired influence on our inner consciousness, and encourage the kind of elevated behavior that brings only splendor and beauty into our lives and the lives of others.
Based on Shla”h, Parshas Tetzaveh
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