The Proper Way to Use a Cleaners

Is there a lesson to be learned from the mundane activity of washing clothes? In a new book, one can read the lesson the Rebbe derived.

The newly published sefer, Darchei HaChayim, is a compilation of letters from the Rebbe. Each letter contains various life lessons and practical advice on a plethora of topics ranging from chinuch to personal avoda.

In a letter connected to Parshas Yisro the Rebbe explains the powerful lesson that one can learn from a Dry Cleaners. After opening the letter with an abundance of blessings the Rebbe then relates: (free translation)

“As my father in law would זי״ע quote the famous saying of the Baal Shemtov that every single thing that a Jew sees or hears is a lesson for him in his avodas Hashem. This is understood to include different trades and occupations”

The Rebbe then explains the lessons that one can learn from a dry cleaner.

“Before a garment is worn it is perfectly clean and pressed. As one wears it, the garment becomes wrinkled and dirty. However, rather than to dispose of the soiled garment, it is easily washable and can return to its original pristine status quite easily.

The article of clothing is submerged in hot water with various different chemicals and soaps, the combination of which helps to remove any stains and clean the garment; rendering it, once again, suitable for use.

The journey of our neshama can be understood in a similar manner.

When the neshama is sent into the body it is clean and pure – ‘טהורה היא’. However, as it begins to engage with the physical world it may become ‘unclean’ and lose some of its shine.

However, all is not lost! Just as a garment can be washed and worn again, the soul can be cleaned and returned to its original state of purity.

How so?

By immersing it into hot water. The heat is represented by learning Torah and davening with a passion. Torah is compared to water and Torah with passion is the required chemical solution to rid the soul of any blemishes.

Through increasing in our Torah learning and mitzvah performance (the Rebbe cites tzedakkah and kashrut as good places to start) we can help the soul become as it should be.”

Who would have thought that we could learn such a profound lesson in Avodas Hashem from a Dry Cleaners?

Visit or your local Judaica stores to purchase your very own copy of Darchei Hachayim to enjoy hundreds more letters and lessons.

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