This past Friday morning my good friend Jeremy Apfel asked me to go to a shiur with him which was given by Rav Shor in Brooklyn. Rav Shor gave over the following inspiring Dvar Torah along with many others.
In Parsha Tetzaveh there is a listing of the clothing that the Kohen Gadol would don in the Mishkan. (The Meil, Ephod, Ketones,Avneit,Choshen,Tzitz...etc.) The one that is most identified to the Kohen Gadol however is the Choshen.
When describing the beautiful and valuable stones that made up the Choshen (see story with Dama ben Nisina to see the value) the Torah calls then the “Avnei Miluim” – filling stones. Rashi commenting on the name of these precious stones says that they were given the name “Avnei Miluim” because they filled 12 holes.
The late Rav Shmuel Birnbaum Zt”l posed the question; shouldn’t the name of the stones be on the stones themselves and not what they happen to accomplish on the side?
R’ Shmuel answered that within the context of the Kohen’s clothing there are two different types of stones mentioned. There is the Avnei Miluim and there is the Avnei Shoham. The Avnei Shoham were also beautiful and ornate stones much like the Avnei Miluim, nonetheless the Avnei Miluim were used in the Choshen to teach Klal Yisrael that a person or community can be tremendously accomplished, but as long as they are lacking something their accomplishments are belittled. A person/community must fill their holes (Avnei Miluim) before they can move on to the Avnei Shoham.