Washing of Garments

The following text by Reb Zalman is from this week’s Torah portion, Shabbos Behaalotecha. (Click here for Hebrew/English version). [Notes by Gabbai Seth Fishman, BLOG Editor]:

  • (Numbers 8:7) … then they shall wash their garments and be purified.

[NOTE: This is from instructions for preparing the Levites for their service.  Reb Shneur Zalman has pointed out that this is not just about the clothes they were wearing.]

being that three “garments” of the nefesh / soul: Machshavah / thought, Dibbur / speech and Maaseh / action should be clean.

[NOTE:  Garments are, in general, the visible, external trappings that cover things behind, things not visible to the eyes.  In the analogy here presented, the “garments” represent outward manifestation of realities. Behind them are invisible causes or mysteries. 

Simply put, we must clean up actions, clean up speech, and clean up thoughts.  The deeper we clean, the closer we move, (as the Levites in our text), toward God’s service.  ]

For, there’s the remnant “neshama / soul that You gave me” – from long since – “it was pure.”

[NOTE:  When we enter the world, our Neshama is pure and it remains so despite anything we may do, say or think that is not.  (Neshama and nefesh are both words for “soul” but the former is a part of us that is always close to God.)]

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
from Yishmiru Daat (2009 revision),
Parashat Behaalotecha,” p. 34

One Response to “Washing of Garments”

  1. carl zimmerman Says:

    come on. keep it coming. this is the first time i have entered your website and I am enthralled with your texts. I am exalted that I have entered your realm. Baruch Hashem.

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