“And Aaron will wear these clothes while serving and its sound will be heard when he goes in front of the sanctuary, and he will not die” Exodus 28:35


One of the clothes that the High Priest used to wear was a robe with pomegranates on its hem,  which held within them clappers that rang like bells. Whenever he walked, the bells would ring. The Torah adds that wearing these bells was absolutely necessary for his service in the Temple. If he didn’t wear them, he would surely die.

What difference did it make to the High Priest whether he wore these clothes or not? Why was it so important not only for his service but for his life, whether he wore these pomegranate-shaped bells or not?
There is a beautiful verse in the Song of Song, which says as follows: “Your brow behind your veil [gleams] like a pomegranate split open.” Ostensibly, Solomon is referring to the beautiful skin of his beloved. 

However, the Talmud tells us that his beloved refers to the Jewish people, and it is not their brow but the reikim, the “empty ones”.  

Effectively, the verse is talking about those Jews who appear like they are empty of merit — but even they are compared to a pomegranate which have so many juicy pips.  Every single Jew, no matter who they are, has within them many merits.

The job of the High Priest was to represent all the Jewish people, to be their messenger and intermediary to God. He was the representative of all the high and the mighty, the princes of Israel, their leaders and Sanhedrin, as well as  lowly and spiritually downtrodden.  

It is easy for the High Priest  to represent the upright and the religious, but how does one represent those who do not have merits, who are “less than” the wise and the meritorious?  

The High Priest was warned against that by the pomegranates that jingled as he walked, reminding him that there is not one Jew, even the lowest of the low who is without merits. Each person is bursting with potential and greatness. If he forgot that idea even for one moment, then his life was forfeit.

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