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Garments of Forgiveness

by Chaim Kramer

“Make for them (the priests) garments that should honor them…” (Exodus 28:2)

This week’s parshah is Tetzaveh, which speaks about the four garments for the Priests and the eight garments of the High Priest, the Kohen Gadol. It also speaks of the sacrifices due on the day of the dedication of the Mishkan (Sanctuary) and the construction of the Altar for the Ketoret sacrifice.

The Talmud teaches (Zevachim 88b): “Why is the passage of the sacrifices adjacent to the passages of the priestly garments? This is to teach us that just as the sacrifices effect forgiveness for sins, so too, the priestly garments effect forgiveness for sin.” The Talmud elaborates on the eight garments of the High Priest, bringing proof from the Scriptures about their effectiveness.

  • The ketonet (tunic of fine linen) effects forgiveness for murder.
  • The mikhnasayim (pants) effects forgiveness for sexual sin.
  • The mitznefet (turban) effects forgiveness for haughtiness and arrogance.
  • The avneit (belt or sash) effects forgiveness for immoral or evil thoughts.
  • The choshen (breastplate) effects forgiveness for wrongful justice.
  • The ephod (vest) effects forgiveness for idolatry.
  • The me’il (robe with bells) effects forgiveness for slander.
  • The tzitz (forehead-plate) effects forgiveness for brazenness and audacity.

Reb Noson explains that clothing is meant to be a garment that envelops the person, much like the body envelops the soul – the body is the garment of the soul. Thus the folk saying, “The clothes make the man,” means that a person’s garments are seen as the projection of what that person is. Modest dressing displays humble thoughts and characteristics. Flashy garments display the opposite type of attributes in a person.

As the Talmud teaches, the clothes represent various types of characteristics with which we should attempt to act accordingly, honoring HaShem and glorifying Him as well as ourselves!

Have a great Shabbos!

מאמרים קשורים

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