Beit Midrash

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To dedicate this lesson
Condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 8:30 - 31

The Main Purpose of Clothes

The gemara continues to look at Aramaic words, looking at similarities to other words.


Various Rabbis

Shvat 2 5779
[The gemara continues to look at Aramaic words, looking at similarities to other words.]

The Main Purpose of Clothes
(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 8:30)

Gemara: Levusha (clothing) represents lo busha (no embarrassment).

Ein Ayah: Man has spiritual characteristics that are prevalent in him due to his special divine image. These characteristics indeed rule over the internal content of the way he leads his life. Due to this fact, when a person has a need which fulfills both a physical and a spiritual need, the spiritual need that is related to his spiritual stature is more impactful than the physical one because it is in regard to the spiritual that man is significantly different from animals.

There are multiple reasons for wearing clothes. It helps prevent the discomfort of exposure to excessive heat or excessive cold. However the gemara’s play on words stresses the important part about clothes. The internal emotional need of avoiding embarrassment is the most significant of the reasons for them. Embarrassment is, after all, a very important emotion, and it is related to the moral spirit of a person. That inclination is more important than the other factors, and they are subservient to this reason. For this reason, there is a connection between the word levusha and the words lo busha.

Beauty in Lack of Detail
(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 8:31)

Gemara: Gelima (a cloak) is related to the idea of making one like a golam (a chunk of clay).

Ein Ayah: Spiritual grandeur is not realized when each part of the whole of a matter that contains beauty, is stressed individually. It is possible that the special small parts of the matter add to its general beauty, when each part contains some specific grace. However, the main appearance of beauty relates to the general appearance, which overpowers the specific lines of the pieces of the whole.

All of a person’s limbs, and indeed all of the elements that act to accentuate the general picture of the body as a whole, join together in one appearance of unity. Therefore, the cloak, which is a wide article of clothing that covers all the other articles of clothing, envelops a person as a whole and gives him an overall picture of grandeur. This completes the appearance of overall beauty, which stems from a spiritual beauty, which itself emanates from the inclination toward good in spirit. Only certain parts of the overall being can have their specific elements viewed. But the main thing is the general element, which embraces the various individual elements that make up the whole. That is what is special about a cloak that does not allow the various shapes of the limbs to be seen. In that way, it makes a person like a golam, in the positive sense.
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