Meir Tzvi Berman

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Parsha Tetzaveh


"Vosiso Ess Meil HoEphod Clil T'cheles V'Hoyah Pi Roasho B'socho Sophoh Yihyeh L'fiv Soviv Maaseh Oreg Kifi Sachro Lo Yikorea"

"And you shall make the cloak of the Ephod (a certain priestly vestment) completely (of) blue wool. And the edge (lit. mouth) of its top (lit. head) should be turned into it , a border (lit. lip) should be to its edge (lit. mouth) all around woven, like the edge (lit. mouth) of armor, it (the collar) may not be torn."

The donning of the Meil (cloak) by the High Priest during the services in the Mikdosh (sanctuary) atoned for the sin of Loshon Hora, evil gossip (Talmud Erchin 16A). The design of the Me'il incorporated allusions to several lessons about Loshon Hora.

*The border of the Me'il, referred to as its mouth, was doubled over into the cloak itself and sewn as such. This is so that people should remember to keep their own mouths shut when tempted to speak ill of others. It is interesting to note that the verse refers to the turned-in "mouth" of the Me'il as being "like the mouth of a suit of armor". The references to armor, which protects its wearer, alludes to the fact that guarding one's mouth protects from sin and strife.

*The color of the Me'il was T'cheles a bluish hue which a person associates with the sky. Thinking of the heavens should make a person realize that all words are heard in heaven and judged by Hashem. Upon such reflection, people should refrain from evil gossip.

*The hem of the Meil was decorated with bells and woolen pomegranates in an alternating sequence. The bells would resonate as the high Priest would walk and the woolen pomegranates would remain silent. This symbolized that in some situations one must let his voice be heard like a bell, and at other times it is best to remain silent like the woolen pomegranates. When studying Torah and engaging in other holy pursuits one should put his power of speech to good use. One should keep silent, however, when tempted to speak in a forbidden manner. (Shmiras Halashon)

Courtesy of JewishAmerica (

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