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Rabbi Feingold's D'var Torah


Ki Teitzei- 9/12/19

In this week’s parasha, we find the prohibition of a woman wearing a man’s clothing.  Doing so is described as “abhorrent.” (Deut. 22:5) A commentary on this verse explains that the word translated as “clothing” is actually “klei” which means “gear,” so it could refer to weaponry or, according to one commentator, tallit (prayer shawl) and tefillin (leather phylacteries). (Gaster, p. 1342 URJ Commentary). But the Talmud says that while women are exempt from wearing tallit and tefillin, they are not prohibited. (Yad. Hilch. Berachot 11:3) Even so, wearing such garments would not be accepted in an Orthodox synagogue, where it would flaunt “minhag ha makom,” the custom of the place. But in Reform Judaism, men and women have the option to choose to pray wearing these garments.  Tefillin are only used during weekday services.  Traditionally, the tallit is worn only in morning services, weekday, Shabbat, or festival.  Perhaps you received a tallit for your Bar/Bat Mitzvah and never wore it again? Or perhaps you never received one. Why not take out that tallit in the drawer for the coming new year or use one of those we provide in the sanctuary corridor and experiment with what it would feel like to pray in the congregation wearing it, as we welcome in the New Year?

Tue, September 17 2019 17 Elul 5779