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I heard somewhere that when an object was used for mitzvah purposes and becomes dirty because of it, that the dirt is not something to be ashamed of -- it's even something good!

Some examples of this might be an esrog that became dirty after being handled by many people to use for the mitzvah, the wall behind the menorah that got dirty from the fire and smoke, and doing kisui hadam (covering the blood of wild animals and birds that were shechted) by hand specifically.

Where does this idea come from?

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    Was about to write an answer, but there's the Rav - "bigdei kodesh" story. – Isaac Moses Nov 27 '14 at 5:07
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    @IsaacMoses That's a powerful story. I'd never heard it before; thanks for linking to it here! – MTL Nov 27 '14 at 5:17
  • Do you meant to ask what sources there are that say that when an object that becomes dirty from mitzvah usage, that the dirt is a good thing to keep around (as in the stories from Isaac Moses' link)? – MTL Nov 27 '14 at 19:03
  • @Shokhet yes, and even when the dirt is on a separate object (not the esrog it self) – hazoriz Nov 27 '14 at 19:16
  • I edited your question to clarify, and voted to reopen. @IsaacMoses seems to have something like an answer. – MTL Nov 27 '14 at 19:20
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אמר רב יהודה אמר רב אסי (אמר רב) אסור להרצות מעות כנגד נר חנוכה כי אמריתה קמיה דשמואל אמר לי וכי נר קדושה יש בה מתקיף לה רב יוסף וכי דם קדושה יש בו דתניא ושפך וכסה במה ששפך יכסה שלא יכסנו ברגל שלא יהו מצות בזויות עליו (Shabbos 22a)

Rav Yehuda said in the name of Rav Assi: One is not allowed to count money to the light of the Channuka lights. When this teaching was said to Shmuel he asked "Does the light have sanctity?" Rav Yosef asked back "So does blood have sanctity? But a Braisa taught 'You will spill and you will cover, that one isn't allowed to cover blood with his feet as Mitzvos shouldn't be disgraceful to him"

You don't have to keep the blood. You just have to treat it respectfully. The Gemara uses this to all other "Mitzva outcomes". You don't have to keep them, you just have to treat them respectfully.

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