Don't you feel different when you get dressed for Shabbos, or for a wedding? I know I do. The way we dress affects the way we feel & act. The way others dress, affect the way we view them. When you pass a businessman dressed in a suit & tie, you have a different feeling than passing a delivery boy with ripped jeans and a T-shirt. Clothing creates a mood to the wearer and the viewer. When we see a Jew who is dressed "very religious" (whatever that means), we expect a certain level of religious conduct, perhaps more so than one dressed differently. We are usually 'turned off' if our expectations aren't met.

The Kohanim are designated to perform the service in the Mishkan/Bait HaMikdash. They have a special task and therefore wear special clothes to do it. The clothes were a reminder of their special job. When we serve Hashem in His Mikdash (sanctuary), namely going to Shul to daven, we too dress respectfully for the creator of the world who listens to our 'T'fillot.' This was the idea of the Mishkan and Bait HaMikdash.

Aharon and his 4 sons (not to be confused with; My Three Sons) were anointed to be the Kohanim. Any children born to Aharon's sons would become Kohanim automatically. The children who were already born, became Levi'im. The Kohanim were required to wear these clothes while performing the 'Avodah' (service in the Mishkan/Bait HaMikdash) to attach themselves to the holy service being performed by them.

The materials used for the special garments were all donated by the entire nation, because the Kohanim were the representatives of the people. They were given a special job to serve Hashem on behalf of 'Klal-Yisroel.' The regular Kohanim served Hashem wearing 4 white garments.
The Kohain Gadol wore an additional 4 garments, totaling 8.

The 4 garments wore by the Kohanim were;

The Kohain Gadol also wore; These special clothes infused holiness into the Kohanim. We too have that opportunity when we wear special clothes on Shabbos.
Rav Nochum from Chernobyl lost all feeling in his legs on Shabbos. He then discovered that he was wearing his weekday pants. This Tzaddik was sensitive to the holiness that his Shabbos clothes provided for him.

One of the special garments of the Kohain Gadol was the Me’il - robe. It had on its bottom golden bells and cloth pomegranates. The Me’il was meant to forgive B'nei Yisroel for the sin of loshon horo - speaking bad about other people. We are taught that the sound of the bells create a sound to remove the sound of the loshon horo spoken. That sounds great, but what about about the pomegranates? We are taught that even the sinners of our nation are filled with Mitzvot as a pomegranate (which has alot of seeds- 613 of them!). The Me’il teaches us that even those members of our nation who do wrong, should not be spoken about, for they too are filled with Mitzvot.


The last of the vessels of the Mishkan was the Golden (Incense) Altar. This small altar was used for the burning of the incense, and it was situated in the Kodesh, between the Shulchan and the Menorah. It too sported the gold crown around it. The Mizbayach symbolized the crown of 'Kehunah' priesthood granted to Aharon and his family. The Mizbayach HaZahav was unique. Whereas all the other vessels in the Mishkan were intended to gain forgiveness for B'nei Yisroel, this was intended simply to bring joy and pleasure to Hashem.

© 1998 by R' Matis Friedman, H.A.F.T.R.
R' Matis Friedman's email address is shprophets@aol.com

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