Do You Wash Your Clothes?

Friday, 14 May, 2021 - 6:08 pm


A friend of mine accidently left his pen in his shirt pocket and unwittingly threw it into the washing machine. When the load was done he realized his mistake because now all his clothes were stained with ink. So he set the washing machine to run a new cycle, only this time in his shirt pocket he put a container of White-Out.
Although cleaning ink stains may work slightly differently than the method my friend tried, the fact is that if your clothes get dirty it's usually not so terrible - they can easily be cleaned.
Our clothes are made to fit us and we wear clothes that match our personal style. But although they’re so closely aligned with us, our clothes are obviously not part of us. We wear them and they keep us warm when necessary, dress us up for an occasion and present our best appearance to others; but they do not become one with us, they remain just that, clothing.
Chassidic teachings explain that our soul wears clothing too. In fact, it has three garments: Thought, Speech and Action. They are the tools that our soul uses to interact with the world.
And just like actual clothes, they can easily be cleaned.
When the Jewish people camped at the foot of Mount Sinai 3333 years ago to receive the Torah, among other things they were instructed to clean their clothes. The intention then was in a ritual sense, to purify their garments.
The holiday of Shavuot begins this Sunday night (yes, it’s a major, Biblical, Jewish holiday). Every year on Shavuot, the anniversary of the giving of the Ten Commandments, we receive the Torah anew. It’s as though we are standing at Mount Sinai all over again. Just like we needed to prepare spiritually the first time around, each year we need to prepare spiritually for the holiday of Shavuot.
Just like then, they needed to clean their clothes; so too each year we need to “clean our clothes.” Our soul clothes. As we prepare for the holiday of Shavuot, it’s time for us to examine our Thought, Speech and Action and ensure they are in line with G-d’s will.
What if they are not exactly as “clean” as they should be? The good news is that just like actual clothing, our “soul clothes” can be easily washed. The difference is that to clean actual clothes you use a washing machine and detergent; to clean our “soul clothes” it takes being aware of our choices and ensuring we make intentional positive choices rather than impulsive ones.
Go ahead, throw in your first load!
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