First Clothes – Tetzaveh
We cannot read of the clothes of the High Priest or those of the regular priests without thinking back to the first garments in the Bible; those made by Adam and Eve to cover their recently discovered nakedness.
They used clothes only to cover themselves. They found dignity only in hiding embarrassment and shame. They had yet to understand that clothes, which had not previously been necessary, despite the fact that they were a response to a sin, could still be a source of dignity.
They didn’t realize that the fact they could do something for themselves, something to cover their shame, was in and of itself, and act of achievement. The first clothes were a message that we can repair the world and ourselves. They found the solution, their first garments, in the leaves of the very tree from which they sinfully ate; the fig tree.
When we dress only to hide ourselves, or to fit in, when we dress with the idea of Tzniut – personal modesty – being only to hide, we are copying Adam and Eve in their first moments of shame. We are dressing without an awareness of our dignity.