Monday, June 17, 2013

Clothing and Sin


"Clothing honours a person and leads him before the great, and when clothing is dirty and stained then, 'Go away, impure, they declare (Eichah 4:15),' and people cannot go before kings without removing the stains by washing and purifying them via great blows and wringing. So, too, a person's deeds are the garb of his soul, in which he appears before the Universal King. Therefore he must have good deeds, as Kohelet 9:8 states, 'At all time, your garb should be white.'"

(Don Isaac Abarbanel, Maayanei haYeshuah 10:6)

Have a great day,


  1. If I were to generalize, we see among the rishonim two similar but different metaphors for sin:

    There are those who see sin as a dirtying of the soul. (Derashos haRan
    ch. 10, Seifer haIkarim 4:13 -- note: rebbe and talmid) I think the Abarbanel's is a variant on this theme, although not fully of the camp.

    The other perspective (Shaarei Teshuvah 4:1) is that sin injurs the soul or is like an illness.

    Both give a causal explanation connecting sin to its outcome. In one model, the soul itself is unharmed, but distanced from the Creator. In the other, the soul needs healing. One justifies Chassidus, the other, Mussar.

  2. An interesting take, R' Micha. Thank you.