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November 27, 1987 - Image 43

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-11-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

George
Ohrenstein

I LOST 205 LBS...GONE!

TIM O'DWYER LOST
205 LBS. AND 20 INCHES
OFF HIS WAIST
IN ONLY 31 WEEKS!

Jewelers Ltd.

• Certified Gemologist
• American Gem Society

HARVARD ROW MALL

Lahser and 11 Mile Rd.

"It's hard to believe that in only
31 weeks, I lost 205 pounds and
20 inches off my waist! The first
0 weeks I averaged 10 pounds
a week lost. I averaged five to
seven pounds each week there-
after. There is so much more
that I can do. Now I know I feel
and look better. Thanks Q.W.L.C.!"

353-3146

Clothing Designer Looks
To Torah For Ideas

RABBI BERNARD S. RASKAS

B

y looking further into
Jewish fashion histo-
ry than the dress of
the 18th century Polish and
Russian nobility adopted by
some Orthodox Jews and
Chasidim, an Israeli is
creating a style which follows
Jewish tradition. It takes the
form, of long, fluid-style shirts
with ritual fringes on the
corners.
The new/old clothing was
born one Sunday at dawn
when Reuven Prager looked
over the Temple Mount from
the Tel Arza section in
Jerusalem. Reflecting on the
early history of the Jews, he
tried to draw a mental picture
of Jews in biblical times com-
ing to pray.
Not sure what they would
have worn, he turned to study
the passages in the Bible that
pertained to dress. He then
researched the Mishna and
the writings of the historian
Josephus for additional infor-
mation. Following that, he
began to cut up bed sheets
and clothes and started to
stitch the material. What
emerged was fascinating.
T3 begin, it should be noted
that what distinguished

When he first wore
these garments,
he was considered
a hippie.

Jewish dress from that of non-
Jews of that era were the tzit-
zit (fringes) worn on the edges
of the Jew's garment. This is
based on the verse in
Deuteronomy 22:12: "You
shall make fringes on the four
corners of the garment with
which you cover yourself."
Later they were fashioned so
that the threads and knots
equalled the Hebrew
numerical value of 613, which
is the exact number of biblical
commandments.
When the Jews went into
exile, they began to wear
garments with rounded ends,
particularly in Europe. A per-
son not wearing a four-
cornered garment is exempt
from wearing tzitzit, and
there were times during
persecutions when it was pru-
dent not to wear them.
However, pious Jews, in order
to fulfill this biblical com-
mandment, wore a tallit
katan (small four-cornered
garment) under their shirts.
In the classic biblical
passage (Numbers 15:37-40)
instructing Jews to wear the

tzitzit, Jews are required to
include a cord or thread of
blue (techaylet). The precise
hue is no longer known.
The Talmud informs us that
the color was extracted from
the chillazon, a snail found in
the Mediterranean Sea bet-
ween Tyre and Haifa. The ex-
act formula for the dye has
passed into history.
It probably can safely be
said that it is a color between
green and blue. This descrip-
tion carries a religious over-
tone. The explanation is
found in the Jerusalem
Talmud (Ber. 1:5, 3a):
"Thchaylet resembles the sea,
the sea resembles grass, and
grass resembles the heavens."
This follows the reason given
in the Bible to wear the tzit-
zit, namely to remind one to
keep God's commandments.
In 1888, Rabbi Gershon
Leiner, the Chassidic rebbe of
Radzin, proposed that the
precept of techaylet be rein-
troduced. He concluded that
the dye could be extracted
from the octopus-like cut-
tlefish, which secrets a blue-
black substance.
It is based on this that
Prager began to create
garments of square corners
with fringes, including the
blue cord.
When he first wore these
garments, he was considered
a hippie. Often children walk-
ed after him and shouted:
"Avraham Avinue!" (Our
father Abraham) or "Moshe
Rabenu!" (Moses our teacher).
The clothes, however, are
only one of several projects
Prager has planned. He is in-
terested in recreating the
apirion, a plaquin or tent-like
litter (portable couch) used at
weddings until it was abolish-
ed by the rabbis after the
destruction of the Temple in
the 70 C.E.
the apirion, as described in
the Mishna (Sotah 9:14), was
made of golden hangings. It
was used to carry the bride
from the house of her father
to that of her husband, where
the wedding ceremony was
performed. As the bride was
carried through the streets,
crowds gathered and sang
happy songs, applauded and
paid her honor. Prager hopes
to recreate that Jewish
custom.
His belief in the importance -
of Jewish attire is based on a
talmudic quote (Shabbat 23b)
of Rab Huna: "The one who is
careful with the observance of
tzitzit will be blessed with
beautiful garments."

a." DEDICATED TO
"r

KNOWLEDGE. ETHICS
AND CONSUMER PROTECTION.

(

*ft

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Copyright 1987, JTA, Inc.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

43

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