Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 28, v. 2: "V'ossiso vigdei kodesh l'Aharon ochicho l'chovode ulsifo'res" - Besides enhancing the garments of the Kohein Godol over a regular Kohein both in quantity and quality, what practical reason is there for the Kohein Godol wearing different clothing from a regular Kohein?

2) Ch. 28, v. 11: "Mish'b'tzose" - Rashi says that the gold setting for the stones should be indentations into which the stones would fit snugly, thus securing them into position. Is this word form its own source or is it sourced from another word?

3) Ch. 28, v. 21: "V'ho'avonim ti'h'yenoh al shmos bnei Yisroel" - And the stones shall be on the names of the bnei Yisroel - The gemara Yoma 73b says that each of the 12 stones had 6 letters etched into it. Obviously, the names of the 12 tribes fall far short of containing 72 letters. The gemara says that besides the names of the tribes, the names of our Patriarchs and the words "shivtei Yeshurun" were also etched into the stones. The Baal Haturim on verse 17 explains that the names of the tribes were first etched into their respective stones and the amount of letters short of 6, anywhere from 1 to 4, were completed by adding letters from the Patriarchs and "shivtei Yeshurun." He says that the one exception was Binyomin, because his name contains six letters when spelled with two letters Yud, and needs no supplementing. Although only Binyomin's name contained six letters, what concept can we glean from his being the only name that needed no supplementing?

4) Ch. 28, v. 21: "V'ho'avonim ti'h'yenoh al shmos bnei Yisroel ...... pituchei chosom" - Rashi says that the names were etched into the stones like a seal? In what way was it done like a seal?

5) Ch. 28, v. 28: "V'yir'k'su es hachoshen" - was the hinged fold on the top or on the bottom when worn by the Kohein Godol?



The Chizkuni says that the Kohein Godol wore unique garments so that when he served in the Mikdosh one could readily differentiate between him and an ordinary Kohein. On Yom Kippur, when he handled all the day's services (seems to be following in the opinion of Rabbi Z'rachioh haLevi on the gemara Yoma), there was no need to differentiate, and therefore he wore only 4 garments, the same as an ordinary Kohein's vestments.


The N'tzi"v writes that the source of the word "mish'b'tzose" is "shovotz," as we find in Shmuel 2:1:9, "ki achozani hashovotz." This is a disorder that so weakens a person, that he cannot move. So too, a secure setting for precious stones is called "mishbetzes," as it locks the stone into place and does not let it move.


Perhaps this can be explained in a homiletic manner. The "choshen mishpot" contained the names of all 12 tribes on one breastplate. This represents unity of the tribes. Our Patriarchs empowered our nation with unity. The addition of the words "shivtei Yeshurun" further stresses the concept of their all being unified in their service of Hashem. This is stressed because the sons of Yaakov hated Yoseif in varying degrees and sold him as a slave. Binyomin had absolutely no part in throwing Yoseif into the pit, nor in selling him. He therefore needed no addition of the Patriarchs letters, nor letters from the words "shivtei Yeshurun" to his name.


The Mahari"l Diskin says that the names of the bnei Yisroel were etched in reverse on the undersides of the stones. They shone through the stones, which were either transparent or translucent. This explains how the words of our verse can be understood literally. Firstly, the stones were ON the names of the bnei Yisroel since the etching was from the underside. Secondly, the etching was like that of a seal, "pituchei chosom," in reverse when viewed from the underside, just as every seal is imprinted with a reverse image of the printed results. (See Daaz Z'keinim on 28:9.)


The Mahari"l Diskin says that the fold of the Choshen Mishpot is on the bottom and it is held closed on top by chains. If it were to be the reverse, the script of the Urim V'tumim would fall out. In some booklets that have diagrams of the priestly garments this is shown incorrectly.



See also Sedrah Selections, Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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