I don’t mean to startle you by revealing a secret of yours, but here goes. I know that in your closet, you have items of clothing you haven’t worn in a very long time. There! I told you. You have garments that have been hanging there for years that you just can’t bring yourself to discard. Even without skulking creepily around your closet, I know this to be true.
This is not the place to provide you with guidance on how to sort your wardrobe and decide what should stay and what should go. But this is just the place for me to offer ancient Jewish wisdom’s explanation behind your reluctance to trash the old trousers. The good news is that your sadness at slinging out that old suit reflects really well on you.
I am sure you are one of those well-organized souls whose home and work space are clean and neat. You are quick to purge unneeded papers, books, tools, recipes, and kitschy family heirlooms. You even threw out last Thursday’s perfectly delicious dinner leftovers with barely a twinge. But you just cannot throw out clothing. You’ll be relieved to know that there is a perfectly good reason. Clothing is different.
Our clothing imparts identity and dignity to us and those are more important to us than even food. We all remember stories of the down and out salesman who spent his last few dollars, not on a meal but on a new suit and a shoeshine, knowing they would buck him up for his next interview even more than hot food.