Rabbi Rebecca writes:
Your clothing did not wear out upon you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. (Deuteronomy 8:4)
How could I resist this verse?
Rashi suggests that their clothes were refreshed by the Cloud of Glory-a sort of celestial dry cleaning. And as children grew the clothes on their backs grew with them; like a snail’s shell. I love these details. Even medieval rabbis asked practical questions. But on a deeper level this verse speaks to the idea of surviving trials; walking for those years through the desert was not easy and Deuteronomy acknowledges that. As always it offers succour to contemporary readers and the ordeals we encounter. Sometimes we manage them, and our clothes don’t wear out and our feet don’t swell; in other words we survive them.
This is a good verse to read through these weeks of Av as we approach the month of Elul. After Tisha B’Av our liturgical tradition dictates the 7 haftarot of consolation-the reminder there was and is renewal and forgiveness. It’s a good message to internalise.
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