Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The long and short of it

On a previous post of mine, commenter Gella linked to an interesting previous post of her own, Kippah Revolution. Reading that post made me realize that there are one or two things that I’ve never discussed on my blog.

The long of it
I recently told my husband that if, by any remote chance, we should ever choose to become Orthodox, I would give up wear short sleeves and start wearing long sleeves exclusively. This would not be for reasons of tzniut/modesty, though that’s certainly what I would claim. No, it would be because, unlike the gutsy Gella, I am no longer enough of a revolutionary to be willing to brave the slings and arrows of outrageous—or outraged—glances that I would certainly get from at least some of the more right-wing Orthodox if any of them happened to see the tefillin-strap marks on my arm. The only way to hide tefillin-strap marks is to cover them with a long sleeve. Fortunately for me, excessive air-conditioning in office buildings has become so common that many women now wear or carry a long-sleeved sweater or jacket to the office on even the hottest days. Long sleeves cover a multitude of “sins.”

The short of it
When I decided, just about a year ago, to accept upon myself the obligation to pray three times daily, I gave serious thought to the question of wearing a tallit kattan/arba kanfot—and decided against it. The issue is fundamentally the same as above—I’m unwilling to deal with the weird looks I’d get if my tzitzit popped out of my skirt.

As long as I confine my wearing of ritual garments to times when I’m praying, no one need ever know about my personal decision to accept these mitzvot/commandments upon myself, unless I chose to tell them. If that choice makes me both considerate and a coward, so be it.


Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

definitely makes sense... but what about the head-tefillin marks? you would need a very comprehensive head-covering to cover that

Tue Feb 26, 03:47:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

The way that I was taught to wear the head-tefillin, it sits far enough back on the head that it leaves marks in the hair only--and, as a married woman, I'd have a reason/excuse to cover my hair with a hat anyway, if I became Orthodox. :)

Tue Feb 26, 08:30:00 PM 2008  

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