Study Notes and Slides
The Obligations of the Student Part 8
The Obligation to Dress the Part - Women
Obedience is the grateful heart’s response to salvation. Humble servants look to Scripture, not for how much liberty they have or how much they can get away with, but to search it for that thing that is most pleasing to Yahweh. “He who loves me keeps my commandments” (John 14:23)
When we become grafted into the nation of Israel, we take on its heritage in its fullest totality. We absorb ourselves into its identity in full, that is the chosen people of the Torah become our ancestors, as do the patriarchs and the matriarch’s become our forefathers. We no longer speak in the third person.
We do not approach this faith as a discipline that seasons our already establishes lives, we engulf ourselves in it’s all encompassing reality. It’s our complete identity! The one true faith of Yahweh, practiced for many centuries almost exclusively by the Jews becomes our religion! It’s yours now! We are Israel! Not spiritual Israel, denoting any distinction from its root, just plain Israel! It’s your religion, your people, your culture and it’s your clothing.
You’ve heard the expression; ‘you are what you eat.’ But you are also what you choose to wear!
It’s time to reconnect with our clothing!
You see originally, our first parents – Adam & Chavah (Eve) walked with Yahweh in the Garden of Eden totally naked except for the glory – the Divine Light emanating from them. They were a spiritual being clothed with a physical body that was saturated in Yahweh’s glory. There was absolutely no shame.
However, once they broke that one command that Yahweh had given them. The one dietary law of not eating from the Tree of Knowledge, they betrayed the one part of Torah revealed to them. Suddenly, evil, doubt, alienation and shame flooded into their minds along with the knowledge that they were naked. So, they clothed themselves with fig leaves.
Once Yahweh saw their condition he slew an animal and He made atonement to their condition by covering them in the skins. You see the Torah prescribes even what kind of clothes we wear.
In Hebrew the word for clothing is “begged” from the root “bagad” meaning “to betray or act faithlessly.” Now the word Hebrew itself denotes who we are, connecting ourselves to Avraham and this word is “ivri” in Hebrew and means “From Beyond.” So today’s subject is “Clothing from Beyond” (Begged Ivri).
When we think of spiritual warfare, our thinking is usually confined to the subject, of prayer, fasting, study of the Word and the ability to use that study to combat situations with the utterance of relevant Scripture.
Less well known is the role that clothing plays within this sphere of our faith, particularly as it pertains to woman. Why do women get singled out here? The answer is that woman are a more astutely designed than a man.
Their bodies and the way they move them have immense power to affect worlds, both for good and for bad. They are blessed with the ability to cause desire in a man and bring about perpetuation of the species, through having the ability to conceive offspring. Ironically their bodies go through a wider array of riggers than a man’s body and yet their beauty is superior and they generally live longer lives than men.
This being the case, their far superior design, if handled correctly through modesty enables them to pack a powerful punch against the dark forces. Conversely, if they misuse their bodies they can cause great damage to the forces of good.
The Israelite woman is one whose life is marked by prayer. A follower of Yahshua HaMoshiach makes prayer one of the sources of his daily strength. The veiling on an Israelite woman’s head is a symbol of her communion with Yahweh through prayer. “…a virtuous wife…makes herself coverings” (Proverbs 31:10,22) Modesty is the most important duty a woman has in their obedience of the Torah. The real laws of modesty are not dictated by the fashion world, it’s dictated by the Torah. Walk down the street or in a crowed mall and you will see hundreds of women not passing their test.
What happened? One time a person makes a mistake and slips below the red line and then they do it a little bit more and a little bit more and then it becomes the norm. It becomes culturally accepted.
In Hebrew the word for modesty is tzniut (Hebrew: צניעות, tzniut, Sephardi pronunciation, tzeniut(h); Ashkenazi pronunciation, tznius, "modesty", or "privacy"). Tzniut is used to describe both the character trait of modesty and humility, as well as a group of Jewish laws pertaining to conduct in general and especially between the sexes. The term is frequently used with regard to the rules of dress for women.
The concept of modesty is a difficult topic in this modern world. This idea hits western culture straight in the nose. In a world of "If you got it, flaunt it," modesty is a trait to be avoided, something primitive, reminding us of images of some ancient family photo of a stiff great-grandmother from Europe.
Some feel it forces a woman into hiding. But modesty does not mean a denial of self, nor does it force us into hiding. Rather, it creates a private area—a dignified space—in which we can work to excel, without concern for external judgment and approval. The rabbis even go so far as to say that "there is nothing more beautiful than modesty." In fact, the opposite is true in regard to restricting a woman. A woman who takes modesty seriously transforms worlds, repairs breaches and conquers countless dark entities every second that she practices this discipline.
In Scripture, we see modesty as a common attribute among the early matriarchs.
“Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac…and asked the servant, ‘Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?’ ‘He is my master,’ the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself. (Genesis 24:64-65)”
“How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. (Song of Songs 4:1a)”
Throughout Torah a woman’s modesty is praised as her most outstanding feature. In fact, modesty is mentioned as one of Yahweh’s chief requirements. “It has been told you, O man, what is good, and what Elohim asks of you: Only that you do justice, love kindness, and walk modestly with your Elohim. (Micah 6:8)”
“When a wilful sinner comes, disgrace comes. But with modest ones [come] wisdom (Proverbs 11:2)”
What is the secret of the veil, the chief symbol of modesty? More important than what we are covering is what we are exposing. The most prominent parts of the body that are allowed to be seen are the face and the hands. These two body parts express the inner self. How? The face reveals who we are: the smile, the eyes (which are windows to the soul), facial expressions, etc. Our hands represent what we do, our endeavors in life. Here we have it: the face and the hands, people's inner content and their accomplishments. In other words, the part of ourselves that we may share with others is the spiritual self.
What are the requirements of tzniut? (refer to slide above)
“Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship Elohim. (1 Timothy 2:8-10)”