tied to expectations

Just yesterday, one of our younger members of our congregation asked if she could ask me a question.

Of course.

“Does your husband only wear white shirts?”

After I stopped laughing, I said how I had just told him (at home) I was really tired of his white shirts. I had just washed and hung up the five million from the previous week, and it had just gotten to me.

I didn’t add that second part.

But I did add that our spouse is not a reflection of us.

I had also just commented how amazing it was that her dress matched her husband’s tie. Perfectly. But I had absolutely no recall of what tie ISHI was wearing.

I did tell her that second part.

I also told her that his response to me was that he was thinking about getting some other colors, but couldn’t find one that he liked. He wasn’t going to go with the purple or the pink.

What about blue, both of us asked at the separate times.

He hemmed and hawed when I asked.

Oh what can I do?

After 37 years of marriage, you think I’d have given up by now, trying to dress him in my image.

She also said “What about black?”  Yeah, so he’s not going to go for this. He likes the Lands’ End shirts, but in black?

Men's Long Sleeve Straight Collar Broadcloth Shirt

There’s only so much you can do.

I do know many women who dress their husbands. I complimented one man a few weeks ago on his put-together look and he was pleased to admit that his wife put him together. It’s a fascinating process. I can suggest things that I think will be more fitting (in all senses of the word) and he’ll do something of the sort, but then he’ll end up with what’s comfortable.  For him. When we’re on vacation, he will “please” me by wearing a non-button down shirt. But I can see that he’s not really himself.

At least he runs in running wear and not in his shirt and tie.

My father on his last visit got on his peeved face (that he does so well) and told me that he was not going to give ISHI any more ties for his birthday. He noticed that ISHI does not wear any of the ties that he has given him, so even though he thinks it’s very important for rabbis to look sharp, he basically was announcing that he’s giving up. He then went on about how much he thinks well of certain rabbis with their French cuffs, neat handkerchiefs, and well-executed Windsor knotted ties. At least ISHI is thin, or I think he would not be stomach  him as his SIL.

The day before, I had asked D#1 if she thought her husband would wear the tie that ISHI was ready to give away, since it was not “him.” She replied that he was not choosy and would be very happy to accept it. He had never been given any tie. And he’s a grateful kind of guy. Even if he didn’t like it, he’d still wear it happily.

My father had not mentioned that he saw him wearing it; after all, he could have bought or been given the same one.

Our other SIL also receives ties from my father. He is also a rabbi.

My father is out to make sure these rabbis look according to his image.

Clothes make the man.

Of course, we could go back to the Talmud for an idea of how a rabbi should dress:

The personal appearance of the rabbi should command respect. R. Johanan said, “The rabbi should appear as clean and pure as an angel.” He quoted, “They shall seek the law at his mouth, for he is the angel of the Lord Sebaoth” (Mal. ii. 6, Hebr.; Mak. 17a). The Rabbis generally dressed in long, flowing white robes, and sometimes wore gold-trimmed official cloaks (Giṭ. 73a).

Okay, white shirts it is.


4 responses

  1. But maybe leave the gold trim for special occasions… ; )

    I suggested my sweetheart wash his fleece jacket the other day, and he said, “But all the nice smells will be gone!” But I admit I’ve tried to suggest certain clothes and combinations, and I suppose you’re right, it does no good to ask someone to wear something they’re not comfortable in. (He did wash the jacket though!)

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