I love the question behind the question. And this is one I get a lot. Why do I wear a tichel? This video will answer that for you. But now I want to ask another question. Don’t I think everyone should wear a tichel? And my answer is NO.
Our goal is to serve G-d, and the Torah gave us instructions on how to go about doing that. Our goal is to work on our character, to reach ever higher levels of holiness. And by following the Torah and being in constant dialogue with ourselves and with G-d, we will find our path to greatness.
The problem is, that as a society, we love rules, they make us feel safe. This is what we wear, this is what we don’t wear. This is done and this is not done. Rules are a natural part of any culture’s identity. They can bring a people together as they give more avenues for people to identify with each other.
The downside of this is when we start mixing up Torah guidelines with our own need to belong. Then our world becomes unecessesarily narrow, with countless rules, spoken and unspoken of what it means to be religious.
What we’re left with when we do that, is superficial judgments, superficial service of G-d and disrespect for anyone who chooses differently than us.
But none of it, not the color of your shirt or your choice of career or if you make gefilte fish or not makes you a better person.
None of it is our real barometer of success. The only measurement that counts is how much we’ve grown in our service of G-d. So if you make a choice that supports your relationship with G-d then the choice – not the item of clothing is what matters.
If wearing a tichel would somehow make me and you and every other person who put one on more righteous and improve our character and make us more perfect people – then yes, lets all wear tichels! But no piece of fabric can do that. We actually have to work on ourselves if we want to become greater Jews.
And this goes for kippahs and sheitels and tichels and sneakers and white shirts and blue shirts and black skirts and colorful skirts and sandals and black shoes and pink dresses and high heels and striped shirts and jeans.
It’s so much easier to follow a set of rules than to live with conscious choice. But if we challenge ourselves to do whats honest for us, not only will we be greater human beings, we can at last stop judging one and appreciate the beauty in each one of our precious Jewish brothers and sisters.