May I Have a WORD With You?! – Clothing

Beged/Clothing/בֶּגֶד
They made Aaron’s sacral vestments—as the Eternal One had commanded. (Exodus 39:1)

There is a fine line between wearing clothes and … treachery?!

In our sacred story this week the Aaron and his sons are getting all dressed up for their role as priests in the brand new Mikdash. In a spin on the adage that the clothes make the man, it appears that the ‘holy vestments’ or beegday kodesh make the priest. The word garment, vestment, clothing is Beged בֶּגֶד. Apparently that same root is used in Hebrew to connote treachery or deceit. What a weird, wild and unexpected sharing of two disparate ideas with the confine of the same Hebrew root. And yet …

On a literal level, one could see the wearing of clothes as a cover-up of the truth of our pure raw physical selves. Each time we get dressed we put something that is not us. We place a barrier between the world and who we authentically, primally and plainly are. Yes, wearing clothing Beged בֶּגֶד is not that simple … environment, society, propriety, etc. demand that we clothe ourselves.

The challenge of the idea still grabs me. Beyond our physical needs, there are many ways that we don metaphorical clothing Beged בֶּגֶד in the shape or ideas or emotions. This kind of clothing Beged בֶּגֶד protects us, promotes us or simply establishes ourselves in relation with others. What is the balance between putting on these metaphorical vestments that might keep us safe or allowing us to make our way in polite society and being deceitful about what we think or feel? When do we cross the line from appropriately adorning ourselves with intellectual or emotional clothing Beged בֶּגֶד to covering up our true and authentic selves?

Wearing holy vestments … clothing Beged בֶּגֶד … is essential to living the world, but so is allowing ourselves to be vulnerable enough to be fully seen and known.