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Diapers and Garbage

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Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg ztz”l. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications and is the author of the books, Fascinating Insights and Incredible Insights. His writings inspire people across the spectrum of Jewish observance to live with the vibrancy and beauty of Torah. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes, and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

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Diapers and Garbage

How should we view menial tasks such as changing a baby’s diaper, taking the garbage out or cleaning the house? We may consider these tasks relatively insignificant. However, the truth is that they may be just as important, when we do it l’shem shamayim.


When R’ Yehuda Samet and his wife had several small children, they hung a sign over their changing table that read, “I am changing this diaper in order to help this child grow into a Torah scholar (if it was a boy), a yerei shamayim, a servant of Hashem, an Eishes Chayil (if it was a girl) and I’m doing it with sincerity and joy.” Although they didn’t always read it out loud, it had a tremendous impact on the way they changed diapers.


A poor guest who finished eating at the house of the Chozeh of Lublin noticed him cleaning the table. Puzzled, the man asked, “I can understand that you serve the guests because of the great mitzvah of hachnasas orchim, but why are you cleaning the table? Servants do that.” The Chozeh answered him that on Yom Kippur after the holy service in the Kodesh Hakadashim, the Kohen Gadol would also remove the fire pan and the spoon. So too this mitzvah is no less important.


This idea is represented by the terumas ha’deshen which was removing the ashes from the mizbeach (altar) — the dirty work. For this reason, דשן is an acronym for דבר שאינו נחשב, that which is considered inconsequential. We see how significant it is since it was placed next to the mizbeach.[1] So the next time we need to do some dirty work, we should realize that it is actually cleansing us.


[1] Vayikra 6:3.

Writer of the weekly Fascinating Insights Torah sheet in Englishעברית ,אידיש and français
Author of Five Books including the recently released “Magnificent Marriage Insights: Captivating Torah Essays about Marriage”

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