Friday, February 15, 2008

Parshas Tetzaveh - "Crown of Gold"

Quickie/Funfact: In the Slichos of Musaf on Yom Kippur it is written that the Kisones Tashbaitz (the inner shirt of the Kohen Gadol) was made of Shatnez. This is very problematic, since the Pasuk clearly states that it was made of Shaysh (linen) and not linen and wool?

The Chasam Sofer (Rabbi Moshe Sofer 1762 - 1839), one of the leading rabbis of European Jewry in the first half of the nineteenth century answers with a Halacha in Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah Siman Shin Sif 4). The Rema quotes a Yerushalmi, if the under garment cannot be removed without taking off the outer garment first; and one is wool and the other is linen, it is Shatnez. Here too, since the outer garment was the Mi'il, which was made of blue wool, and the inner garment was the Kisones Tashbaitz made of linen, and it is not possible to remove the Kisones without removing the Mi'il, it is considered Shatnez.*


Following in sequence with last week's Parsha which discussed the construction of the Mishkan, Parshas Tetzaveh discusses the particulars of the priestly garb. The Torah systematically goes in order when discussing the Kohen's garmets. Klal Yisrael was to collect gold, turquoise wool, and purple wool, scarlet wool, and twisted linens. All of these specific and beautiful materials were chosen to express the uniqueness of the Priest and his responsibilities. Eventually the Torah comes to the point which it begins to discuss the Tzitz of pure gold which is placed on the Kohen's forehead.

Shemos 28:38 "It shall be on Aaron's forehead and Aaron shall bear the sin of that which is holy that the Children of Israel consecrate for any gifts of their holy offerings; and it shall be on his forehead always, for appeasement for them before Hashem."

While commenting on the purpose of the Tzitz the Gemara in Eruchin 16a mentions that it was to rectify the trait of brazenness.

To explain this Gemara in Eruchin that comments on the Tzitz, Rav Yishayahu Zilberstein (author of Maasei L'Melech on the Rambam) brings up a Mishna in Pirkei Avos. The Mishna in Avos (5:20) says, "He used to say: Brazenness to Geheinom, embarrassment to Gan Eden, May it be your will Hashem that your city is built up quickly in our days and that you give us a portion of your Torah." After reading this Mishna one is forced to ask, what is the connection between brazenness, embarrassment and the building of Hashem's city [Beis HaMikdash]?

Rav Akiva Eiger expounds that in order to be successful when learning Torah, one needs to have the trait of brazenness. Not only that, but while learning it is also imperative that the trait of embarrassment be entirely non-existent ("For the embarrassed one does not learn").

In the future, during the time of the Messiah however, the world will be filled with knowledge and there will no longer be any need to be brazen while learning. Learning Torah will be easy and joyful. For this reason the Mishna in Avos says, "Brazenness to Geheinom, embarrassment to Gan Eden, May it be your will Hashem that your city is built up quickly in our days and give us a portion of your Torah." It will only be that the trait of brazenness is no longer needed during the time of the Messiah. We pray that the building of Jerusalem occurs soon in our days so that we no longer have a need for brazenness, and that the only people who use it, like the Mishna says, are those who are in Geheinom.


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