For Glory and Beauty – Tetzave
The Priestly Garments
For my Israeli and longtime tourists to Israel readers, remember a time before Egged bus drivers wore the official bright blue company shirts? Even back then there was an unofficial dress code—open, short-sleeve shirts, shorts, glinting necklaces and sandaled feet. Today, the bus drivers wear ironed company shirts, ties and black closed shoes to foster a pleasant, respectable atmosphere. In recent years, even in our small, informal country, people have at long last reached the understanding that an integral part of quality service depends on the service-provider’s external appearance. Hence the newly-instituted rules in official places such as banks, cellular companies, etc. where employees are obliged to dress in company shirts or adhere to a strict dress code that identifies the worker with the place of employment and simultaneously fosters a respectable atmosphere conducive to quality service. In Israel’s warm, informal culture, even official uniforms are rarely proper enough to foster a distant or cold atmosphere, but are rather designed to maintain a comfortable, family-style—but still respectable—environment.
In Parshat Tetzave, we’re taught that the priests who served Hashem in the Mishkan and Beit Hamikdash dressed in priestly robes, as written, “And they shall make holy garments for Aharon and for his sons” (Shmot 284). These robes were intended to distinguish the Kohanim from the nation, and also elevate the Kohein Gadol (High Priest) upon the Kohein Hedyot (regular priest). A Kohein who is on a higher spiritual level adorns himself in more honorable clothing, as exemplified by the verse, “And you shall make holy garments for Aharon…for glory and beauty” (28:2).
The designers and tailors of ‘the priestly collection’ were righteous men and women who possessed lofty spirits and were called chachmei lev, wise of heart, “Filled with the spirit of wisdom” (28:3), a profound gift from Hashem. Here, as in the process of building the Mishkan, we witness a deep connection between clothing and content, between Matter and Spirit, which is why these garments were aptly labeled “holy garments.”
I have nothing to wear!
“I have nothing to wear!” wails my teenage daughter as she stands in front of a bursting closet. And it’s not just her. The whole house seems to shout the same when we leave the final stage of home styling and decor unfinished. Some call this fun part, ‘dressing up the house,’ and that’s indeed what it is, especially since a substantial portion of the job is rooted in textile—from the living room to the bedrooms, from upholstery to curtains and rugs.
In open areas
The first comment any furniture salesman will make when noticing which couch has caught a prospective buyer’s eye is, “This fabric doesn’t absorb stains. All dirt wipes off easily with a fresh wipe.” And he’ll sweep his hand grandly across the fabric to illustrate the point.
It’s no joke. Whether in the living room, dining room or any room at all, textile has a huge impact on the overall look of a home. From the upholstery of the chairs and couches to the throw pillows, and from the curtains and rugs to the tablecloths. Decorating any room is a challenge, and one of the primary goals is to blend aesthetics with practicality.
And in private places
Even in the bathroom, kingdom of ceramics and tiles, small touches of textile make a huge difference as they bequeath a fresh, warm and luxurious feel to the room. Soft towels of all sizes, bath mats and shower curtains (when chosen over glass stalls…) are all fabulous additions. Dressing up a room includes choosing and blending a variety of elements. Each room in your house can have a unique flavor, and you can choose which elements to include in one room and which to leave for a different room… New elements include wall color; a new furniture color or accent; wallpaper; shelves; light fixtures and night lights; furniture itself (closet, bed, chair, desk, vanity, dresser, etc.) and even new handles or knobs on existing furniture. Next comes the textile! We dress up the room from head to toe with bed linen and bedspreads, window treatments and carpet or rugs.
In bedrooms, especially, textile is the basis of atmosphere and ambiance;
and in the master bedroom textile reigns supreme! The bed usually occupies center stage and features either linen or a bedspread and pillows, which is why the first thing you’ll notice in this room is the textile.
Textile communicates romance, delicious softness and tenderness, and a master bedroom is the place to let it flourish! Curtains in a master bedroom, even for those who prefer other window treatments elsewhere in the house, are a must!
So which textile to choose?
There’s no one way. In fact, the answer changes based on location and purpose; and different fabrics should be chosen for curtains, upholstery and bedspreads. I’ve got a personal weakness for three particular styles: Stripes—which we’ve already discussed! Polka dots—we’ll get to that. And Checkered—I think my love of checkered is rooted in my American genes… Beyond that, it always reminds me of a picnic or old-fashioned village look, flannel cowboy shirts and those vintage Scottish skirts that I used to wear as a little girl.
The beauty and precision in this Parsha are expressed in the fabrics—“Blue and purple and scarlet;” the garments—“A breastplate, an apron, coat and robe…hat and belt;” the ornaments—“Golden bells and pomegranates; the intricate weaving of lace and chains; and of course, the twelve gems of the Choshen which augmented the incredible “Glory and beauty.”
Textile infuses an array of color and character into any space. Textile has the power to permeate any space with warmth and softness. I love strolling through fabric stores and imbibing the color, texture and infinite beauty of textile.
So, in conclusion, I’m pleased to introduce you to some of my favorite textile shops!
A brand-name store specializing in home decor and styling. Ginger features a wide variety of home accessories, carpets and rugs, furniture and personal items in a refreshing blend of color and texture. Store items are manufactured all over the world and stand out for their bold colors, traditional patterns, embroidered, printed and hand-woven fabrics.
Ginger sees it as its goal to preserve the art of traditional textile—to take the “once upon a time” and transform it into the “here and now.” The company boasts two fabulous stores in Neve Tzedek.
This internet-based tablecloth store features a wide selection of checkered tablecloths. In a sunny, warm country as ours, picnics and barbeques are frequent family and social events. Checkered tablecloths are the perfect touch to any outdoor event and turn a standard day out into one with style with grace.
A designer fabric boutique located in Rishpon. This store features colorful textiles imported from the USA and invites you to purchase fabrics and upholster your own furniture and furnishings Moroccan-style. Budulina specializes in pillows, curtains, pictures, fabric-covered letters, coverings for mixers and even coverings for mineral water dispensers. You imagine it. They fashion it!
This company, with several stores, operates popular, inexpensive fabric shops featuring a variety of cute fabrics that I love. It won’t surprise you that my favorites include the striped, polka-dotted and checkered…
5. Basic Studio
If you like 100% cotton, natural colors, simple and relaxing linens, pillows, blankets or towels… then Basic Studio on Moshav Odim is the right place for you. Enjoy!