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A Matter of Respect

Rav Yisrael Nigara lived during the time of the Arizal and composed piyutim and zemiros that are still sung today. Each Shabbos, angels would come to listen to his singing during seudah shelishis. However, one Shabbos the angels did not show up.

Rav Yisrael consulted with the Arizal, and was told that the reason for their absence was because he had rolled up his sleeves before he started to sing. Even though there was a heat wave that Shabbos, in that setting rolling up one’s sleeves was considered a disgrace to the Shechinah (as cited in Responsa Yaskil Avdi 8,24,3).

We live in a society where moral standards have declined to the point where most people would have trouble understanding why angels would have any problem with someone rolling up his sleeves for prayer. When standing before Hashem in prayer, we are meant to achieve the highest standard of decorum, and we must be wary of anything which might not be considered dignified when facing the Divine Presence. If we can achieve this level of sensitivity, then we can be sure of reciprocal treatment and Hashem will respond to our prayers with the utmost respect.

Dignified dress during prayer,
Helps ensure the acceptance of our tefilos.

Text Copyright © 2012 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and



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