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The ‘Other’ Wardrobe

The ‘Other’ Wardrobe

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Spring cleaning finds me knee-deep in piles of clothing, sorting through styles, sizes and seasons, trying to determine what’s worth saving and what I should chuck. Some goes to the basement, and some stays on the shelves; some become hand-me-downs, and some remain hopelessly outdated.

And that’s why clothing is such an apt metaphor for our thoughts, speech and actions, as we are constantly evaluating which “clothing” to wear. The G‑dly soul’s clothing seems fairly easy to recognize, as it is stated clearly in the Torah. But what is the “clothing” of the “animal soul”? Does it express itself only as an evil devil?

Hardly. The animal soul isn’t evil, just selfish. In fact, 90 percent of our thoughts, speech or action can go either way, expressing the G‑dly soul or the animal soul.

The difference is in the intention.

Any mundane act under the sun—from eating to driving to reading on the couch—can be a selfish act, with no other intention than to satisfy my own personal craving. Yet that very same act can become transparent, in sync with the reason it was created, if it is intended for the service of G‑d. For example, a muffin can be consumed gluttonously or deliberately—not to satisfy a sweet tooth, but as fuel to be able to live, pray and function as a Jewish woman.

Holiness happens when the ego of the animal soul is punctured, and I live my physical life not to gratify myself, but to have energy to do what G‑d wants me to do.

Tanya Bit: I can elevate the mundane with the power of intention.

(Inspired from Chapter 6 of Tanya)

Sara Blau is a teacher and extracurricular director at Beth Rivkah High School. She is a wife, mother, and author of several children“s books.
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