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One of Judaism’s most important teachings is that what is inside matters much more than what is outside, yet beauty also has spiritual power. That dynamic tension of focusing more on inwardness than materialism, while also appreciating the beauty of the aesthetic, is how we can understand an approach to clothing in Judaism. In the Torah, clothing serves many purposes, ranging from covering our bodies, to disguising ourselves and “deceiving” others, to elevating ourselves and even inspiring us to live up to moral ideals. We project an image through the clothes we wear, and our clothes, in turn, influence us — our mindset, feelings and actions. For many Jewish thinkers, clothing was not merely about what is on the outside. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch wrote, “A person’s clothes are a sign of that person’s qualities.”
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