Clothing the Naked
by Lois Tverberg
"`For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' " Matthhew 25:35-36

Since Jesus' time, Jews have been encouraged to fill their days with short prayers to constantly remind themselves that God is the source of every blessing in their lives. A number of these are said traditionally in the morning while a person gets ready for the day, and the one that is said while dressing is the following:

Blessed art Thou, oh Lord our God, King of the Universe, who clothes the naked.

This prayer is also said on another occasion - when putting on a new garment from the first time. One Jewish school teacher starts each day by asking students if anyone is wearing anything new that day, and if so, the whole class recites this prayer.

This prayer and its practice I found very rich, and pointing toward some things for which I needed to be reminded. First, clothes are such a small part of my budget, and readily available, that I never thought to give thanks to God for them. I've been overwhelmed by blessings, and hardly think about the amazing abundance even in my own closet. Truthfully, until hearing about this blessing, I didn't think of God as having input on small needs, or that He may even have an opinion on how I spend money on things like this.

It reminded me of the real use of clothes as they were intended, to protect and cover our bodies, to warm us and give us modesty. Do we really think of that when we spend great amounts of money and time on being fashionable? Or when we evaluate others as people by how well they have observed the current modes of fashion? Our shallowness is unmasked when we see clothing through God's eyes rather than through the eyes of a materialistic, vain culture.

Last, it reminded me that just as I have been clothed, Jesus points out that I need to have concern about clothing the naked too. In Uganda, I saw many children in dirty, ripped clothes, knowing that those were all they had. I need to live so that I can help in supplying the most basic of needs to them as well.

   ©2003 Lois A. Tverberg, Ph.D., OurRabbiJesus.com. All rights
  reserved. This article is copyrighted and may not be redistributed
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