The Priestly Garments

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Parashat Tetzaveh 5772

Last week Parashat Terumah described the building of the Mishkan (tabernacle).

This week we read about the priestly garments and the process of preparing the priests to service in the Mishkan.

The High Priest (Kohen Gadol) wore eight garments when he served. A regular priest wore only four garments.

Here is the translation from Judaica Press of the verses describing the garments of the High Priest:

Shemot Chapter 28

2 You shall make holy garments for your brother Aaron, for honor and glory.

3 And you shall speak to all the wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, and they shall make Aaron’s garments to sanctify him, [so] that he serve Me.

4 And these are the garments that they shall make: a choshen, an ephod, a robe, a tunic of checker work, a cap, and a sash. They shall make holy garments for your brother Aaron and for his sons to serve Me.

5 They shall take the gold, the blue, purple, and crimson wool, and the linen. …

36 And you shall make a showplate of pure gold, and you shall engrave upon it like the engraving of a seal: “Holy to the Lord.” …

42 And make for them linen pants to cover the flesh of [their] nakedness; they shall reach from the waist down to the thighs.

43 They shall be worn by Aaron and by his sons when they enter the Tent of Meeting or when they approach the altar to serve in the Holy, so they will not bear iniquity and die. It shall be a perpetual statute for him and for his descendants after him.

My Questions

Shemot 28:2

Why are the priestly garments called “holy”? What makes them holy?

What is the difference between honor (kavod) and glory (tiferet)?

Shemot 28:3

This verse speaks about the special qualifications needed for those who will make these garments. Last week, when the structure of the mishkan (tabernacle) was explained, there was no mention about the qualifications of those who would build it. Why not?

Shemot 28:4

This verse lists six garments to be made for the Kohen Gadol: choshen, ephod, robe, tunic, cap, and sash.

However, he wore two other garments: the showplate (tzitz) mentioned in verse 36 and the linen pants mentioned in verse 42. Why aren’t these garments included in the original list?

Purim Bonus Question

We will celebrate Purim next week. How is this week’s parasha related to Megilat Esther?

Your Turn

Please share your questions and suggested answers in the comments.

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