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    Pearls in shule – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. My mother left me her pearls. Should I wear them to shule?

    A. I almost decided not to answer your question. What I know about jewellery is negligible. I admit that there are sayings in rabbinic writings about beauty aids. But I am not certain I know whether to advise you to wear the pearls to shule or leave them at home or in the safe.

    What may be worrying you is the halachic issue of whether wearing jewellery on Shabbat transgresses the rule against carrying in places where there is no eruv, but to address this issue would be to read your mind. I would also be reading your mind if I said you were concerned for others who may feel jealous because you have pearls and they don’t.

    However, having started to write on the subject I can’t now merely abdicate for want of more information about your thinking. What I will do is to take a Midrashic approach and understand the idea of pearls homiletically.

    On the verse, “They (the commandments) shall be liv’yat chen, a chaplet of grace to your head” (Prov. 1:9), the Midrash says that the mitzvot are like a string of pearls that endow a person with grace and lovingkindness. In that sense you should be blessed with many pearls, both inherited from your mother and earned by your own efforts, which will go with you and beautify your own life and the world around you.

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