Holiness and Beauty
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites
If the weekly portion we read last week seemed like an architectural design, the parasha we read this week is even more surprising. At first glance, it seems like a course in fashion design. We find a long and detailed list of bigdei kehuna, the clothing the priests wore when doing their work in the Temple, with each item of clothing having to be made of specific materials, and then woven and sewn in a very specific manner.
In the list of bigdei kehuna, we read about a set of four items of clothing termed bigdei kohen hedyot, clothing for the “simple” priest, and it includes a hat, a kind of shirt, pants, and a belt. For the set of items for the Kohen Gadol (the High Priest), four additional items of clothing are added: an outer coat, an efod (a sort of apron), the choshen (a breastplate etched with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel), and the tzitz (a gold ornament on the forehead etched with the explicit name of G-d).