He shall remove his garments and dress in other garments (Vayikra 6:4)
Rashi explains that the Cohain would change his clothes when he removed the ashes from the altar because it is not proper to dirty his clothes which he uses for the Temple service. As Rashi states, “it is not proper to serve the master in the same clothes that he wore when he cooked the food.”
There could be a deeper lesson here from a thought I recently read from Rabbi Bentzion Shafier.
Imagine a person wearing a nice white garment. When he puts it on for the first time, he is very careful not to get it dirty. He is careful where he walks and what he leans against. Once he gets that first stain, though, suddenly, he is no longer careful to avoid getting further stains. He does not care if it gets dirty.
This is the way many people behave regarding spiritual matters also. A person is very careful not to sin, but once he does one sin, the floodgate opens. Suddenly, he doesn’t feel embarrassed to do more sins.
This week’s parsha is teaching us an important lesson: when serving Hashem, wear different clothes. Each time you are involved in a spiritual matter, pretend that you are wearing white clothing. Don’t give up by saying, “I already have a sin stain on my spiritual clothes, so why should I be careful.” Even if you have sinned, this does not mean you should do further sins. Every moment, imagine yourself in a new white garment and this will keep you from despair.
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