Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/rafael88/rivertonmussar.org/plugins/system/nonumberelements/helpers/parameters.php on line 130
the rung of cleanliness
middot cleanliness mesorah the rung of cleanliness

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/rafael88/rivertonmussar.org/components/com_k2/models/item.php on line 445

the rung of cleanliness

Written by  rebbetzin malkah

art-ladderhandsThe “ladder” as found in Talmud Bavli according goes like this:

R. Pinchas ben Yair once said:

"Torah leads to Watchfulness;
Watchfulness leads to Zeal;
Zeal leads to Cleanliness;
Cleanliness leads to Separation;
Separation leads to Purity;
Purity leads to Saintliness;
Saintliness leads to Humility;
Humility leads to Fear of Sin;
Fear of Sin leads to Holiness;
Holiness leads to the Holy Spirit,
and the Holy Spirit leads to the Revival of the Dead." --Avodah Zara 20b

Cleanliness is the rung of immediate interest. Many of us are aware of the well-known phrase, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”  For as cleanliness leads to holiness, or separation, holiness thus brings us to a higher level in Hashem through saintliness. This gives us good reason to practice cleanliness on a higher level.

But when we speak of cleanliness, what are we referring to?  Is it merely the physical spotless nature of our bodies, clothes, possessions, or mind?  The answer would be yes and no.  It is indeed all of these things together and more - we must also include the spiritual.  As we begin to pursue a deeper level of physical purity, we begin to notice that inevitably this behavior begins to trickle over into the spiritual.

As the rungs of the ladder in the above passage indicate, we begin with the physical - the Torah itself.  Moshe Rabbeinu brought the Torah from Mount Sinai down to the Children of Israel - to ground level. Through studying and reading it, we begin to observe many physical commandments, as well as spiritual.  However, without beginning with the physical, we could not ascend to the spiritual. We are earthly creatures; we must start out at the ground level and begin to ascend.  As we continue on the ladder, the Torah causes teaches watchfulness, which in turn causes us to have zeal.  Because of this zeal, we are brought to a level of cleanliness. 

From this point of the physical, the transformation further up the ladder is higher and higher into the spiritual realm.  Through every day acts of physical purity, from personal hygiene to keeping our possessions free from shmutz, we begin to climb higher and higher into deeper spirituality and holiness.  Truly, cleanliness is next to Godliness.  May the rungs we climb bring us to higher places where we can experience that purity and closeness to Hashem. And how? Start on the ground. Dust off your Torah and get busy...

Rate this item
(2 votes)
More in this category: holy hands »

this week


Moshe Rabbenu teaches loving-kindness
Here's a drash on loving-kindness adapted from my book Creation to Completion, wh . . .
chesed and truth
For the Torah was given through Moshe; chesed and truth came through Yeshua the M . . .
chesed and forgiveness
In his commentaries in both the Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur Koren Machzorim Rabbi . . .
how the world stands
A woman died and left no money to pay for her funeral. She was an inhabitant of o . . .
His chesed is always there!
One of the high points of the Passover Seder every year, especially when our ki . . .
do a chesed
There was an older gentleman I used to to interact with fairly regularly at a Ra . . .
bottled up kindness
'The kindnesses of the Lord I shall sing forever; to generation after generation . . .
showering chesed
The Hebrew word for loving-kindness is chesed.    . . .

Member Login

Login to access podcasts, special content, discussion forums and user blogs.