The Jewish Home

The Jewish Home Chapter: 4 – Reversing the Order – Shelter, Clothing, and Sustenance

To understand this in greater depth, we must reflect on the fact that even though it appears from our above discussion that the highest level is the home, followed by the clothing and then the food, it can be seen in the inverted order. The two different ways of viewing the three basic components are not contradictory. They complement each other, and ultimately are one and the same.

The food, which gives inner light to the person, is the highest level. This is reflected by the fact that when the Jews were in the desert, they ate manna, which was in the meritof Moses. The food is life force, which enters the being of man. The inner life force is called mochin. Throughout Kabbalah, the concept mochin, literally means "brain power." "Brain power" means "life force." Inner life force, which derives from the two sefirot of chochmah and binah, which are called Abba and Imma, specifically derives from Imma. It is called mochin d'Imma. The mazon corresponds to the first hei of G-d's name, which is binah, Imma.

Clothing encompasses man and protects him from the elements. The l'vush, "clothing," represent midot, "character traits." One of the Hebrew words for "clothing" is madim. The very word for the emotive character traits in man, chesed, gevurah, tiferet, netzach hod, yesod, which are the six basic emotions corresponding to the Six Days of Creation, are called the madim, "clothing." Relative to the mind and consciousness itself, the emotions are referred to as "clothing." Very often the soul is referred to as having three layers of clothing; thought, speech and action, which clothe both intelligence and the emotive powers of the heart. According to this, the emotive powers are part of the inner being, or essence, of the soul, whereas the clothing is the way the soul expresses itself, either to itself, as thought, or to the outside world as speech and action. However, since everything is relative in the Torah, the midot are called "clothing" relative to the intelligence. This is because the word midot also means "clothing" or "uniform." The emotions of the heart are the "uniform" of the intelligence.

The l'vush corresponds to the vav of G-d's name, which are the midot, tiferet. Tiferet, "beauty," is the primary of the midot. This relates to the beauty of the clothing. The word tiferet is used for the clothing of the High Priest, "l'chavod ul'tiferet." The purpose of his clothing is to give him tiferet. This is another explicit reference in the Torah that clothing relates to tiferet, the primary of the midot.

The food and minimal protection afforded by the clothing enable man to live. However, he is not yet called a "man," as he does not yet possess a home. In Kabbalah, the home is always referred to as malchut, "kingdom."For this reason, his home is also called his wife, Bayto zo ishto (Yoma 2a)The woman represents malchut throughout the Torah. The homecorresponds to the final hei of G-d's name.

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