Sounds from a Distance – Parashat Tetzaveh

March 1, 2020 at 12:24 AM , , ,

“….And its sound shall be heard when he enters the Holy before G-d and when he leaves, so that he will not die….” – Shemos 28:34-35


וְנִשְׁמַע קוֹלוֹ בְּבֹאוֹ אֶל הַקֹּדֶשׁ לִפְנֵי ה’ וּבְצֵאתוֹ וְלֹא יָמוּת – שמות כח, לה

The hem of the Kohen Gadol’s robe was adorned with bells, which chimed as he went about his service in the Mishkan. This noisy accompaniment was vital to the Kohen Gadol’s service (as the verse warns, “so he shall not die,”) because it symbolized that all elements of the Jewish community were represented in this service.

The ultimate worship of G-d is in silence (see Melachim I 19:11-12), for silence denotes the Jew’s utter humility before G-d—to Whom all of existence is wholly insignificant.

But what about the person who feels distant from G-d’s presence, whose inner passions are entirely foreign to G-dliness, or whose very sense of independent existence separates between him and G-d—the One and Only true being? Like a drowning man facing the horror of imminent death, the “distant” Jew kicks and screams trying to escape his current state of detachment from G-d – the Source of life. This Jew’s search for G-d is a noisy tumult.

Sounds from a Distance

The Kohen Gadol is therefore warned that he must serve on behalf of every Jew, even those whose relationship with G-d is not yet at the level of perfect “silence.” At the lowermost hem of his robe he must wear chiming bells, “carrying with him” even the furthest members of the Jewish community – those who relate to G-d not in silence but with the thunderous rush of their scramble to return.

—Likutei Sichos vol. 16, pp. 338-339


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