I admit it, sometimes I Google myself. And this week was a very good time for me to do it. My recent post about death and purpose on Chabad.org is circulating on the web sites of Chabad organizations all over the globe. Googling my name yielded 27 pages, with most entries actually featuring “Lieba” and “Rudolph” together.
I was searching the pages for an article I wrote many years ago for the L’Chaim weekly Jewish publication. I saw the piece about a week ago, the last time I Googled myself. I wanted to celebrate TBT (Throwback Thursday) in my own way by bringing back a piece of my old writing.
After I took in the joy of seeing my name in print so many times, I realized I could just add “L’Chaim” to my search and get right to the piece I wanted. I did this, but I found something else, too, one of the few other pieces I wrote for L’Chaim way back when. I barely remember writing it, but the following is what appeared in L’Chaim twenty years ago exactly this week, in its issue for the Torah portion, Naso. I figure it must be basherte for me to share it again now.
Black Tights in White Shoes?
If the power of persuasion can be seen anywhere, it’s in the world of fashion. Styles that women swore they’d never wear (and maybe never should wear) somehow become not only tolerable but even likable.
Nobody wears something just because it’s in style, our tastes actually come to change. How does this happen? Don’t we think for ourselves?
Although this phenomenon is certainly applicable on a larger scale to most societal trends, those value shifts happen much more slowly, usually over generations. But, with fashion trends, our tastes can change in just a few short seasons!
Designers first have to create the look. The retailers and fashion magazines then have to promote it. But ultimately, those always in fashion must wear it and only in the right context.
Before most of us out there in America realize how it happened, those ridiculous looks not only don’t look so ridiculous, they’re actually kind of nice.
For many people these days, Jewish and non-Jewish, observant and not-so-observant, another idea has come into fashion–Moshiach.
In just a few short seasons, it’s being “worn” by hundreds of thousands around the world. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise.
After all, it’s a concept that goes with everything, looks good on everyone, was created by the Ultimate Designer, and has been endorsed by someone with a perfect track record for foreseeing future trends — the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
However, the Moshiach-look isn’t just a passing fad, to be replaced with next year’s wardrobe. It’s the idea which has been simmering since the world’s beginning and it’s on its way in–for good.
Like any change that challenges the current style, Moshiach-style has met with some resistance and skepticism. How should we wear it?
Though most of us are not interested in being fashion trend- setters in the physical sense, the Rebbe has directed each of us to “wear” Moshiach even if it’s a little uncomfortable at first, to help ourselves and those around us get used to it.
We can give more charity, increase in our Torah learning, or commit ourselves to greater acts of kindness — all with the intention of “fashioning” the world for Moshiach.
Rabbi Shneur Zalman, founder of Chabad Chasidut, teaches that our thoughts, speech and deeds are the “garments” of our soul; although they do not comprise the soul itself, they determine how our soul “looks.”
Whether we are simple dressers or have a closet full of Torah and mitzvot, we all look better with an awareness of Moshiach in our spiritual wardrobe. And style being as catchy as it is, the more and better we each adopt Moshiach-style, the more we influence others to wear it; the more Moshiach-style in the world, the more Moshiach actually comes into the world, “enclothing” it with the best style ever–the G-dly look.
Nobody is more anxious than the Ultimate Designer to reveal the world’s new look, so how can we keep Him waiting? Each of us has to wear a little more Moshiach, NOW!