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September 29, 2016 / 26 Elul, 5776
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Why Must Jewish Women Wear So Much Black and Gray?

Not honoring your own voice begins to erode who you are and what you have to offer in this world.


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Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90



We have contact with many non-Jews. They consistently say “Yes, we know that you have a black dress code”. That’s what we are putting out there. What does this say about representing Hashem is this world? What message do we want to put out to the world? Is it a message that one should always look like they are either on the way to, or on the way back from a funeral? Or maybe we want to put out a nicer message? Is the way we are dressing putting out to the world the much needed message of joy and happiness?

So assuming that you like colorful clothing, how does it affect you when you silence your inner voice and desire to wear colorful clothing? What messages are you giving yourself when you ignore your own voice? In what other areas of life does the silencing of your voice affect you? Really think about it and let yourself feel it. Once you feel it, begin by asking yourself “What would it be like to listen to my own voice and express myself accordingly?” Would I feel freer or have more self-respect? How would it affect my children or those around me? What would the ripple effects be?

Every single one of us have revealed and latent leadership qualities. It may be leading as parents, or having friends that count on us for advice and guidance. Certainly we are leaders of ourselves. That leadership needs to come out in this area just like it comes out in so many other areas.

You know inside what is tznius and what is not. You are allowed to listen to that voice. That’s why Hashem gave it to you. The payoff for not listening to your own voice is not worth it in the long run. Even if for the time being, not listening to your own voice may have certain benefits like the feeling of belonging, in the long run it is not worth it.

In the long run, not honoring your own voice begins to erode who you are and what you have to offer in this world. That is the ultimate opposite of what Hashem wants from us. The underlying message that all women need to wear black is that we all need to be the same. It says that there is no room for diversity. I just can’t imagine that that is what we want to show the world and that that is what Hashem wants us to be like.

So I make my plea to all the women and girls to please take a deep look into what drives you to dress a certain way. Please really analyze it. You are leaders and are very very strong and powerful. If something doesn’t sit right, please consider addressing it. Things will be alright if you make some small changes. You will be followed if you do. Your children will find shidduchim and people will respect you.

Bezalel Perlman

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