When the Lord created man (mankind) the Torah says that He created them male and female. In other words, mankind is comprised of two unique creations, men and women. The intent of the Biblical text is to emphasize that there are differences between men and women and these differences should be maintained in society. One does not have to look very far to see that society, especially during the last few generations, has blurred the distinctions between the two genders. In this week’s Torah portion there is a reminder that God does indeed command men and women to be uniquely different.
“There shall not be a vessel of a male upon woman, and a man shall not put on a woman’s dress (garment); for it is an abomination of the Lord your God, all who do these (things).
I translated this verse in the most literal manner. The reader should notice that the vast majority of the translations read very differently. The King James Version captures how most render the text,
“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.”
The problem with such translations is that they fail to pay attention to what is actually said. The KJV states in regard to the woman that she should not wear that which pertains to a man; when in reality the verb “to wear” does not appear in the first half of the verse. The intent of the Hebrew text is that there shall not be a male instrument “on” or “concerning” a woman. The message is not so much clothing, but Hebrew implies a much wider range of objects. Hence, the Torah’s choice of this word informs the reader that instruments or tools that a man uses to work, shall not be used by a woman. The implication is that there are some professions and activities that are not appropriate for a female to do.
It is in the second half of the verse that the verb “to put on” or “to dress” appears. It is in this section that the admonition is clearly against men putting on a garment that is feminine. Clothing in the time of Moses as it is today, says a great deal about the person. If one dresses in a way that is contrary to how God created one to be, it is an act of rebellion. Such rebellion is seen and described in this verse in the strongest manner, for the Lord calls it an abomination.
Of course there is an overlapping in many things in regard to males and females; however the distinctions between the sexes must be maintained and this also includes different roles. These roles should be well-defined especially at home and in the congregation of the Messiah. If believers fail in this matter, then we fail to be the sanctified example that we were saved to be. I realize most choose to ignore the Scriptural stated differences for leadership and behavior for the administration of the local house of God. Perhaps this is why the same problems and failures that plague our society are also present within the family of God.
As radio the personality Steve Brown says, you think about this…