Shabbat: Let Your Cloak Down
“Rabbi Huna said: Whoever has a special outfit to change into, should change (in honor of the Sabbath); and if not, he should let his clothes down”. Midrash Tanchuma, Bereishis.
That is, he should open his belt and let his cloak down so that it should be long. He should not wear it as he does during the week, when it is folded into his belt so that it should not become soiled from the mud of the streets. (Eitz Yosef)
We should all change into a special outfit to welcome the Sabbath, we should clothe ourselves in an entirely new and different reality in order to take pleasure in the delight that is the Sabbath- a taste of the World-to-Come.
However, it isn’t always easy to shed our everyday mentality and dress up in the royal garments of this special day.
At least, we should “let our cloak down” and not wear it as we do on weekdays. Everything we do on the Sabbath should be done with a fuller expression of who we truly are. If on the Sabbath, we pray with a greater sense of connecting to our Maker, if we learn with more passion, if we spend more time focusing on our relationship with our spouse and children, if we are more aware of the way we eat- what we are doing is undoing the tight pleats that limit us during the week. We are allowing ourselves to expand, we are not scared to “become soiled from the mud of the streets”. We know that it is safe for us to live more fully, more intensely, more deeply on this holy day, without fearing that the daily distractions will compromise or sully the fabric of our souls we have released.
And by letting our cloak down, we are in effect creating for ourselves a changed reality, a regal garment, a garment fit for the Sabbath.