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'Who clothes the naked.'

Putting On Soul Garments

Putting On Soul Garments

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Putting On Soul Garments
'Who clothes the naked.'

Blessed are You, Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who clothes the naked [in Hebrew, malbish arumim]. (Liturgy, Morning Blessings)

Eighteen morning blessings are said each day upon arising, after one has dressed and washed hands. Once the spiritual energy has been drawn down [by the previous blessings of the eighteen] sufficiently enough to enable the possibility of active expression, the next step in a person's waking, both physically and spiritually, is getting dressed.

Thought, speech and deed… are known as the 'garments' of the soul….

All human activity is expressed in one of the following three modes: thought, speech and deed. These faculties are known as the "garments" of the soul. Each day we clothe ourselves in divine garments by thinking, speaking and acting in accordance with G‑d's will. When we sleep, however, the soul and its garments depart, leaving the body, the soul's vehicle for good acts, in a state of spiritual nakedness. The recitation of this blessing indicates our desire to be dressed again spiritually as well as physically.

The state of nakedness represents the lack of positive purpose….

On a deeper level, the state of nakedness represents the lack of positive purpose. After Adam and Eve lost their only mitzva by failing to refrain from eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they saw themselves as "arum" (literally "naked" in Hebrew), lacking clothes. In the following verse (Gen. 3:1) the archetypal serpent is described as "sly" by the very same word, arom.

Through its recitation we thank G‑d daily for enclothing us with the potential to do mitzvot, i.e. the ability to utilize the garments of the divine soul in a constructive and Jewish way. Each day we weave a finer and more exquisite garment of good thoughts, good words and good deeds, each person according to his capacity. When the soul leaves this world to reunite with its Source, it "wears" a garment woven from all of the positive thought, speech and action a person engaged in while alive.

This blessing verbalizes our commitment to transform our mundane actions into a stepping-stone to our Creator by choosing to clothe ourselves in the garments of our Divine soul. Thus, "…who clothes the naked" can also be rendered: "…He that gives purpose to the purposeless," and by saying this blessing, we thank G‑d for investing our lives with meaning and direction.

Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter is a co-founder, executive director and featured teacher of Ascent-of-Safed.
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