Tuesday, June 20, 2006

My mother’s 11th commandment: You must not “outdo.”

About 30 years ago, my mother, having attended a bridal shower and gotten a good look at the clothing style of the mother of the bride-to-be, took the dress that she’d bought for the wedding straight from the delivery van and returned it to the store without even opening the package. In its place, she bought a much plainer dress. “You don’t outdress the mother of the bride,” she said.

A few weeks ago, I was faced with a similar situation with regard to my girlfriend’s daughter’s Bat Mitzvah celebration. True, I had given up wearing a kippah (yarmulke, skullcap) because I couldn’t decide whether it was or wasn’t beged ish, a man’s garment, and had switched to wearing a kisui rosh. But, remembering my mother’s words, I decided to switch back to my beribboned woman's kippah for that day, because you don’t “out-frum” the mother of the Bat Mitzvah girl.

When I mentioned this to someone at Ansche Chesed this past Shabbat (Sabbath), she asked, “Why didn’t you just wear a hat?”

Funny you should ask. I just finished a book about Jewish women and hair coverings . . .



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