Pacific Jewish Center | Rabbi

The Rabbi on the Beach @ The Shul on the Beach


On the home page for I noticed a new article by Paul Lukas of Uni Watch fame. Lukas writes about the nuances and idiosyncrasies of sports uniforms.He notices everything from commemorative patches to new piping along the sides of a jersey. Nothing gets past the ever watchful eye of Uni Watch.

The article that caught my eye was about a religious Pentecostal high school basketball team. Turns out these guys don’t wear shorts. Ever. Including basketball games. Immediately I was reminded of my elementary school days.

I went to a religious Jewish elementary school (in a previous incarnation of the school, my father was the Dean). We had a basketball team and we did wear shorts but one teammate of ours was a little more spiritual than the rest of us and he did not wear shorts. There is an element of modesty involved in not wearing shorts and this fellow was very sensitive to maintaining that level of modesty. Eventually this guy has gone on to be a very big Torah scholar and is now teaching in a Yeshiva. (It’s not because he did not wear shorts, he was on that path regardless.)

Gate City Christian teaches the traditional Bible concept that it is more respectful to dress in a more respectful way and this includes on the basketball court. Morals shouldn’t disappear (or even hide) when we get on the field or court. The Talmud says that a person can be judged by three things. B’kisso (his money), B’kaaso (his temper) and B’koso (his cup – meaning when he / if he drinks). I had a teacher who once added – B’Kaduro (with his ball playing). The message these kids are being taught is the same. The school teaches them to act modestly in their lives and the ball field or court is no different. I think that is a great lesson.

The article then proceeds to discuss other modifications of traditional basketball attire for religious purposes. A religious Jewish girls high school basketball team is featured because they only wear skirts. In fact the team name is the “Skirts”. They are actually pretty good according to the article. Observant Jewish women traditionally wear skirts below the knee and make sure that they are covered from the neck down to the knee. As the article mentions this is to help the person focus on their inner self and help others recognize them for who they are not how they are dressed.

The idea of modesty in Judaism is to help promote focusing on the true person by removing additional distractions from finding that true person. In a materialistic and hedonistic world we are easily distracted by superficial outer beauty so we promote the inner beauty by minimizing those distractions. More profoundly is the idea that the greater something is – the more concealed it is. We discussed this at length in a Connections about beauty. I recommend checking that out!

What is great is that the article presented the concept in a very refreshing way. I think people that read the article will come away with an appreciation for the Torah concept of modesty (listen to the class for an understanding of what that is all about) and I think that is just great!

Filed under: All Posts, Musings & Observations, My Links, , , , , , , ,

5 Responses

  1. […] have been reading the blog you may have noticed that the recent posts all had to do with clothes. I commented on the article about wearing pants while playing basketball and then I commented on the President’s dress […]

  2. […] Round Up Over the last couple of weeks I have blogged about wearing shorts while playing basketball and then I blogged about the new dress code in the White House and then on Monday night I spoke […]

  3. E. F. Shaar says:

    Your high school now bans shorts on their basketball court.

  4. […] of what we talk about was related to this post, as well as these two posts and this post as […]

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January 2009

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