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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 28, v. 9: "V'lokachto ES shtei avnei shoham" - And you shall take two "shoham" stones - The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh asks why the word ES is used here. It seems that his question is based on the assumption that ES indicates either specific stones or stones that are already known by earlier reference. He answers that this refers to the "avnei shoham" mentioned in the beginning of parshas Trumoh 25:7. Although that verse mentions the need to bring numerous types of stones to fill the settings of the breast-plate, only "shoham" stones are mentioned by name. This is because of their unique function in the shoulder straps of the "eifode," besides being the second stone of the fourth row on the breast-plate, hence the word ES.

At first glance, I found this most puzzling. The word ES is used in so many places and the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh makes no issue of it. What is bothering him specifically here?

I came across the words of the Baal Haturim on 39:27, where he says that every ES teaches that the item had a cover (for transportation?). This is reminiscent of the words of the gemara Brochos 36b, that "ES piryo" means the fruit and its shell. This might answer the question on the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh. The "shoham" stones surely did not have a cover made for them, as they were to be attached to the shoulder straps of the "eifode." Thus an explanation for the word ES is in place. A careful check of the word ES in other places is in place to see if this explanation is accurate. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 28, v. 35: "V'nishma kolo b'vo'o el hakodesh" - And its sound will be heard when he enters the Sanctury - The Rashbam writes that the sound emanates from the bells when he walks. This happens when the bells bang each other. Even though there are pomegranate shaped cloth balls between them, they still hit each other.

This is most puzzling. The gemara Z'vochim 88b clearly states that the bells were outer casings and an inner clapper, "zug v'inbal." The sound clearly comes from the inner clapper hitting the casing.

We have a similar difficulty with the words of the Lekach Tov. He writes that the sound emanates from the bells hitting the pomegranate shaped cloth balls. Although this should not produce a sound, miraculously, the cloth balls were hard and banged the bells so that they would ring. Again, this seems to run contrary to the words of the above-mentioned gemara.

The Rashbam goes on to say that the need for a sound system to accompany the Kohein Godol when he performed the service was to alert others in the Sanctuary to leave when he was doing the service, as per the verse in Vayikra 16:17, "V'chol odom lo yi'h'yeh b'ohel mo'eid b'vo'o l'cha'peir ad tzeiso." This is also most puzzling, as the verse is discussing the service of Yom Kippur. When the Kohein Godol enters to bring the bloods of the atonement ox and goat he does not wear the "m'il," which has the bells on its bottom, rather, only the four "white garments" of a regular Kohein.

We can answer this latter question in a number of ways: 1) The gemara Yoma 53b says that the requirement of being alone while doing the atonement service does not only apply to the Kohein Godol, and not only on Yom Kippur, but also to any Kohein who enters the Sanctuary to do the "k'to'res" service, which is also considered an atonement. Thus, when the Kohein Godol does the daily "k'to'res" service on Yom Kippur, he wears his complete eight garment regalia, which includes the "m'il." We can even say that the Rashbam's intention is not limited to Yom Kippur, but also to any day of the year, and although he brings the verse of Yom Kippur, nevertheless, this verse is the source of the daily requirement to have all others leave the Sanctuary when the "k'to'res" service is done.

This raises a very obvious question: Why then doesn't any regular Kohein have to wear a garment with the same warning bells when he does the daily "k'to'res' service? This is answered through the words of the Ramban, who writes that because of the extreme sanctity of the Mikdosh, angels are present, and they are poised to attack a mortal human who dares enter such a holy place. Since the regular Kohanim are usually of a lower stature than the Kohein Godol, the angels pay no attention to them. He adds that the importance of the bells ringing is only on Yom Kippur and for the service in the outer room of the Sanctuary, when he wears all 8 garments.

2) This can also be the intention of the Rashbam, that he means on Yom Kippur only, but only refers to the daily services done in the Sanctuary, again "k'to'res," and also the lighting of the menorah.

3) The above-mentioned gemara Yoma 53b says that the vessel in which the coals used to burn the incense in the Holy of Holies were transported was different from that of all year in that it had a "niashtik." Although Tosfos say that it means a leather cover on the handle attached with a bolt, so that the Kohein Godol not burn his hand from the radiated heat, Rashi says that it was a ring. He explains that a ring was attached for the Yom Kippur service to create a clanging sound so that anyone in the Sanctuary would leave, in fulfillment of the verse, "v'chol odom lo Yi'h'yeh b'ohel mo'eod." We can thus say that this is the intention of the Rashbam. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 28, v. 35: "V'nishma kolo b'vo'o el hakodesh" - And its sound will be heard when he enters the Sanctuary - The Ramban says that when a person enters the king's domain he must first announce that he is there and not just barge in, as we find in Megilas Esther, that whoever would enter Achashveirosh's inner chamber without an invitation would be liable for the death penalty. He adds that similarly, one does not leave the king's domain without permission (see Rashi on Doniel chapter #3), and the sounding of the bells when he leaves serves this purpose. This needs clarification, as the Kohein Godol is initiating this and not Hashem, so where is the permission? He adds that the sounding of the bells upon exit also signals the angels and others to return to their positions in the Sanctuary.

Ch. 28, v. 35: "V'nishma kolo b'vo'o el hakodesh" - And its sound will be heard when he enters the Sanctury - Haksav V'hakaboloh says that the Kohein Godol's voice will be heard. When he prays for bnei Yisroel's well-being. Similarly, Rabbi Avrohom ben hoRambam says that by the "tzitz," "kodesh laShem" refers to the Kohein Godol's being sanctified through wearing it. Similarly, the Malbim says on the last words of our parsha (30:10) that "kodesh kodoshim hu laShem" refers to Aharon, as per the verse in Divrei Ha'yomim 1:23:13, "Va'yavdeil es Aharon li'h'yos kodesh kodoshim."

On a simple level all three of these expressions refer to the sanctity of an item, the bells, the forehead plate, and the altar. The commentaries just cited explain that the sanctity is that of the Kohein Godol, assisted by the items or his service. This is a great lesson in our serving Hashem. We wear tzitzis and tefillin, have mezozos on our doorposts, etc. These are all mitzvos, but the main thing is that we allow them to affect us and improve our spiritually.

Ch. 29, v. 6: "Neizer hakodesh" - The holy crown - Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel asks why this item is called "neizer hakodesh" here and "tzitz neizer hakodesh" in parshas P'ku'dei 39:30. He also asks why we have no mention of the Urim and Tumim in our parsha, and it is only mentioned in Vayikra 8:8. He answers in the name of his Rebbi that the Torah elaborates when it comes to the actual doing of the command, hence only in parshas P'ku'dei is there the inclusion of the Urim and Tumim, and the extra description of the golden forehead plate being a "tzitz," an item that is placed above the eyes, the organs that view things.

I find the mention of Urim and Tumim in our parsha, at the time of the command in 28:30, "V'nosato el choshen hamishpot es ho'urim v'es hatumim." Any help would be greatly appreciated.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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