Weekly Reading Insights: 




From The Masters Of Kabbalah and Chumash (5 Books of Moses)

13th century - "RambaN" - Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman

14th century - "Bachya" - Rabbi Bachya ben Asher

16th century - "Alsheich" - Rabbi Moshe Alshech of Tsfat

17th century - "Shelah" - Rabbi Yeshaiya Horowitz

18th century - "Ohr HaChayim" - Rabbi Chaim Ben Attar


"And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for splendor and beauty" [Ex. 28:2]

By way of the Truth [the mystic teachings of the Kaballah], majesty is to kavod [glory] and to tiphereth [splendor], the verse thus stating that they should make holy garments for Aaron to minister in them to the Glory of G-d Who dwells in their midst, and to the Splendor of their strength, as it is written, For Thou art the Glory of their strength, and it is further stated, Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised Thee, meaning ["the house of] our Holy One" which is the Glory, and "of our Splendor" which is the 'Splendor of Israel. And it is further stated, Strength and beauty are in His Sanctuary, and similarly, To beautify the place of My Sanctuary, and I will make the place of My feet glorious - meaning, that the place of the Sanctuary will be glorified by the Splendor, and the place of His feet, which is the place of the Sanctuary, will be honored by the presence of the Glory of G d. And in Israel will He glorify Himself also means that in Israel He will show and designate His Splendor. Likewise He says further with respect to the garments of all of Aaron's sons, that they are for splendor and for beauty. Of the sacrifices He also says, they will come up with 'ratzon' [will - acceptance] on Mine altar, and I will glorify My glorious house. Thus the altar is His Will and the house of His Glory is the Splendor.


Rabbeinu Bachya

"And you will make sacred vestments..for glory and splendor" [28:2]

A kabbalistic approach: the words glory and splendor describe the task Aaron and his sons are to perform when performing their duties in the Tabernacle. It is their task to reflect credit on the Jewish people in the eyes of the Lord when they perform their duties dressed in these garments. You are aware already that the Tabernacle on earth was a model of the Sanctuary of the future. Isaiah 64:10 referred to the Temple as "the House of our sanctity and glory." What he meant when referring to "our sanctity" was the honor, and by the word "our glory" he referred to the glory that is Israel. The same idea is expressed by King Amatziah in Amos 7:13: "for it is a king's sanctuary and a royal palace" [so he forbade the prophet to prophesy in the temple at Bethel]. The reason that the word lekahano in lekahano li is spelled with the letter vav at the end is to allude to the sixth emanation which is called tiferet. The world li is equivalent to lehashem, i.e. G-d's attribute kavod.



"And you shall command the children of Yisrael, that they bring you pure olive oil...for the light...." [27:20]

First let us examine why the Torah does not say to light neirot, i.e. plural instead of ner, one light, singular. After all the Menorah had seven lights! Midrash Tanchumah Tetzaveh 4, tells us that G-d said to Israel 'if you light the Menorah before Me, I will light for you from the great light in the future' as the prophet Isaiah says (Isaiah 60:19), 'the Lord will be an eternal light for you, and your G-d will be glory for you.' At first glance this seems to reinforce the problem. After all, not only does G-d not need our light, but on the contrary, our whole existence down here is due only to the light He has provided!

Shemot Rabba 37, explains the verse in Job 14:15 'He longs for the work of your hands" as referring to Israel, i.e. the Levites guarding the tabernacle. Although G-d is the guardian of Israel, He commands the Levites to stand guard around the tabernacle. How can His creatures guard His residence?
G-d wishes to bring us near Him, assure us of eternal life. This is so, because He views Israel as part of Himself, seeing that we are ma-asseh yadav (His handwork). To this end, He commands us to perform certain actions in order that He can reciprocate, midah keneged midah (in a corresponding manner). Therefore, if Israel watches over the microcosm, the tabernacle, G-d in turn, has reason to watch over our position in the macrocosm. If we light His Menorah, then He has reason to keep our eternal light burning.



Concerning Aaron, the Torah writes: "As for you [Moses], bring close Aaron your brother etc." (Ex. 28:1) Here the Torah expresses a mystical dimension of the verse: "No man shall be inside the tent." (Lev. 16:17) This is a reference to original Adam. The universe was created under the aegis of loving-kindness, as we know from "The universe was built with loving-kindness" (Psalms 89:3).

The "The structure corresponding to the physical universe in the Celestial Regions," contains the secret of the seven days of creation and commences with the sefira of chesed down to the sefira of malchut, i.e. seven emanations.

We find that in connection with Aaron, the man of kindness [representing the attribute of chesed], the Torah (Deut. 33:8) speaks about the "Urim and Tumim". We have explained that the three groups of Israelites, i.e. the Priests, Levites, and Israelites, corresponded to the three sefirot of chesed, gevura, tiferet, respectively.

The original "jewelry" had been taken from Man due to the powerful impact of Adam's sin. At that time Man's original vestments were exchanged from "kutanot or" [spelled with an alef], "garments made of light", for "kutanot ohr" [spelled with an ayin], "garments made of hide" (Gen. 3:21). In our portion, the Torah orders that "kutanot", tunics, be made for Aaron's sons (Ex. 28:40), who had to be dressed in sacred vestments. They put on holy anointing oil on their bodies before they dressed in the sacred vestments.

By following this procedure, the priests ceased being "strangers" or "outsiders", as they had been before putting on garments which could not be worn by non-priests. When Adam became an "outsider", this was due to the pollutant with which the Serpent had infected him. It was this pollutant from which he had to be purified.


Ohr HaChayim

"And you shall make holy garments for your brother Aaron for splendor and beauty" (28:2)

The Torah commanded that the High Priest wear 8 garments, 4 made of white linen and four containing gold. The Torah says that the reason is 'for splendor and for beauty.'

We find the following comment in the introduction of Tikkuney haZohar. "The four golden garments are an allusion to the four letters in the Ineffable Name, whereas the four white linen garments are an allusion to the four letters in G-d's name A-d-n-ai" We should remember that the Ineffable Name reflects G-d's attribute of tiferet (beauty), whereas G-d's name A-d-n-ai reflects his attribute of kavod (splendor). According to this, the word tiferet in our verse would refer to the golden garments, whereas the word lichvod would refer to the white garments. The Torah listed varying degrees of holiness in ascending order, hence the attribute lichvod precedes the attribute tiferet.

G-d directed that eight garments were to be made for the High Priest in order for him to be able to obtain atonement for his people for the various imperfections that people are guilty of as a normal part of their lives. Aaron's wearing these garments would enable the Israelites concerned to achieve their proper place in the higher regions.



Ramban - credits
Adapted from the 13th century classic by the illustrious scholar, philosopher and defender of the faith, Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman-known as 'RAMBAN' or 'Nachmanides', a master kabbalist in his own right and a major link in the transmission of Jewish mysticism-based on the excellent annotated English translation, Nachmanides on the Torah, by Rabbi Dr. Charles B. Chavel

Bachya - credits
Selected with permission from the seven-volume English edition of The Torah Commentary of Rabbeinu Bachya, as translated and annotated by Eliyahu Munk. Rabbi Bachya ben Asher [1255-1340] of Saragosa, Spain, was the outstanding pupil of Rabbi Shlomo ben Aderet (the "Rashba"), a main disciple of Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman (the "Ramban"). Several books have been written about the Kabballah-based portions of R. Bachya's commentary.

Alsheich - credits
Adapted from Torat Moshe - the 16th commentary of Rabbi Moshe Alshech, the "Preacher of Zefat" on the Torah, as translated and condensed in the English version of Eliyahu Munk

Shelah - credits
Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz was born in Prague around the year 1565. He served as Rabbi of Cracow and other congregations before he was appointed as the Rabbi of the community of Frankfurt on Main in the year 1610. In 1916, Rabbi Horowitz moved to Prague where he became the Chief Rabbi of the city. He moved to Eretz Yisrael about 1621. He was rabbi in Jerusalem and in Tiberias, where he died in or about 1630. In addition to his magnus opus, Shenei Luchot HaBrit, he also compiled an edition of the prayer-book with a comprehensive commentary. Many of his innovations, including his formulation of the Kol Nidrei prayer, have become part and parcel of the Ashkenazi Siddur.

Ohr HaChayim - credits
Selected with permission from the five-volume English edition of Ohr HaChaim: the Torah Commentary of Rabbi Chaim Ben Attar, as translated and annotated by Eliyahu Munk.
The holy Rabbi Chayim ben Moses Attar was born in Sale, Western Morocco, on the Atlantic in 1696. His immortal commentary on the Five Books Of Moses, Or Hachayim, was printed in Venice in 1741, while the author was on his way to the Holy Land. He acquired a reputation as a miracle worker, hence his title "the holy," although some apply this title only to his Torah commentary.

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