Monday, May 05, 2008

Skewed priorities

The mother of the Bachur haBar Mitzvah, the Bar Mitzvah boy, shows up wearing a nice sports outfit consisting of a skirt and a matching print top and overblouse, with casual flats on her feet. Attempting the “dan l’chaf z’chut” (“judge everyone favorably”) approach, which is to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, I tell myself that she’s normally not much of a dresser and might actually think that what she’s wearing is a nice enough outfit, and that perhaps she’s having trouble with her feet. Imagine the shock that the few of us at daily morning minyan the next day experience when we see her walk in with her family for Bar Mitzvah photos dressed in a formal suit and two-inch heels. It was more important for her to dress up for the photo session than for her own son’s first aliyah?!


Blogger The Reform Baal Teshuvah said...

Perhaps it was more important for her to not be in clothing that would distract her during her son's first Aliyah?

Tue May 06, 11:33:00 AM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I suppose that's possible. I seem to remember, though, that she was better dressed for her older son's Bar Mitzvah celebration.

Tue May 06, 02:49:00 PM 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shira, I'm disappointed in you. Is this really something that requires comment? As a spouse and a father of bat mitzvah age daughters, I know there must be lots of reasons how her outfit du jour worked out. Did the kid do well? Did either of the parent leyn? Was the family proud of the bar mitzvah boy? Those are the significant things. The look of outfits, the number of outfits, the size of the party -- inconsequential.

Tue May 06, 03:27:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I am properly chastised. The Bachur HaBar Mitzvah leined the maftir aliyah and chanted the haftarah very well indeed. Both his father and his uncle also leined. All told, the family had much of which to be proud.

Tue May 06, 03:52:00 PM 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, somebody has to jump to your defense. I think your sensibilities are right on; although we have to be humble enough in SPECIFIC situations to remember we don't have all the facts and can't reach conclusions.

Going to shul in general, especially if on Shabbat or for another mitzvah, requires us to appear at least as we would to any other respectable occasion. Whereas we can't draw conclusions about this lady, Shira's sensibilities in this are good about being surprised at an APPARENT lack of respect for Torah.

Being an Israeli, I'm used to a relatively relaxed approach to dress. Even so, I would expect of a person gratefully celebrating a simha (and not somehow disabled)to dress in a respectable manner as part of their show of respect and gratitude. If they don't, I am left with a question.

Whether or not the question is worth pursuing is another matter...

I would like to note that Shira's general respect for Torah is all too rare nowadays in ALL Jewish circles. I think her raising these issues from time to time contributes to raising our awareness and maybe restoring a little respect for Hashem's Torah.

Tue May 06, 06:15:00 PM 2008  
Blogger RaggedyMom said...

Is it at all possible that she walked to shul for the aliyah la-Torah, and needed to be dressed more comfortably for that, but drove to the party? I have a hard time walking in heels.

Tue May 06, 07:19:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Mordechai, thanks. I must admit that Steve's comment had me wondering whether this post constituted lashon hara (roughly, malicious gossip). And maybe it does. But I was distressed by what appeared to me to be a lack of respect for a religious service. As it says in the siddur (prayer book), "Hakol havu godel l'KElokeinu u-t'nu chavod laTorah, All of you ascribe greatness to our G-d and give honor to the Torah (roughly, bible)."

RaggedyMom, the mother of the Bachur haBar Mitzvah lives only a few blocks from the synagogue, and can walk there in about five minutes. It is possible, as Richard said, that she simply wished to be comfortable enough not to be distracted by her clothing and/or shoes. I, myself, went back to wearing sneakers *everywhere* since my foot started acting up again about a year ago, so you might say that, when it comes to wearing appropriate footwear in synagogue, I don't have a leg to stand on. :)

Tue May 06, 11:07:00 PM 2008  

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