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           flowersTetzaveh

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In Parshas Tetzaveh we find the topic of the special clothing worn by the Cohanim and the Cohen Gadol during their service in the Mishkan and Temple. Hashem tells Moshe to set apart Aharon and his sons as priests through their special garments. Similarly we find that the Jews are set apart from the rest of the world as a special nation, a "kingdom of priests and a holy nation". And part of our unique stature is our clothing which is different from those around us and makes us special. If you recall that in Egypt the Jews kept their distinctive mode of dress and merited redemption. I am not referring here to any particular items of clothing, rather to the precept of modesty which governs the dress that both men and women choose.

The Cohen Gadol wore eight garments, four of gold, and four white. By virtue of the fact that the subject of garments is next to (in the Chumash) the subject of sacrifices, we learn that the same way sacrifices come to atone, the priestly garments also come to atone. The Kli Yakar enumerates: choshen-breastplate-atones for perversion of justice ephod-"girding"-atones for idol-worship meil-mantle-atones for evil speech kesones-coat of chequer work-atones for killing mitznefes-turban-atones for haughtiness avnet-girdle-atones for sinful thoughts tzitz-golden headpiece-atones for stubbornness against Hashem michnasaim-pants-atones for immorality

Hashem listed the choshen first, before the ephod to show that the perversion of justice is a worse sin to Him that even idol worship. This is born out historically. The generation that built the Tower of Babel in order to rebel against and reject Hashem was punished, but allowed to live. The generation of the flood, who stole from each other, had to be obliterated. (Even though they were also immoral and perverted, the decree was sealed against them because "the land was full of theft".)(Kli Yakar)

However, there is also a strong connection between the choshen and the ephod, and similarly between the two different sins they atone for. In the Torah we are commanded to keep the ephod and the choshen together-never to separate them. There are various reasons by which we try to understand Hashem's command. The Chassam Sofer reminds us that in the Torah it says that whoever makes an improper judgment, it is as if he plants an ashera tree near the altar-the ashera was used for idol worship. Horav Yaakov Kaminetsky, zatzal, says that idol worship is a crookedness in ones intelligent thought process and straight thinking-he serves the idol instead of Hashem. And perversion of justice is the same crooked , incorrect thinking but directed toward mankind instead of Hashem. Horav Moshe Feinstein, zatzal, says that both sins stem from a lack of faith in Hashem. When a person falsifies monetary matters, he shows that he doesn't believe in the truth that really Hashem is in charge of all one's sustenance. He thinks he can take things in his own hands and make more money. He is, in essence, denying Hashem's involvement, which is the beginning of the way to idol worship. He needs an atonement for both sins, therefore the ephod and the choshen are together.

The Akeidas Yitzchak explains how the choshen served to atone for wrong judgments and taught one how to judge correctly. There are four ways one can err in judgment, and the choshen warns against all of them: 1)The judge may turn towards one of the parties who is rich, honorable, or wise, and judge him more favorably. The choshen has twelve stones for each of the twelve tribes which are listed arbitrarily in order of birth, not because of any personal characteristics. In this way we remember not to judge people because of their personal attributes. 2)The judge may not judge properly because he considers the case petty and worthless. To counter this the choshen has all types of stones, the very precious together with the more common. 3)The judge may fear one of the litigants and therefore judge improperly. However, in the choshen was the name of Hashem, to remind us that the judgment is in conjunction with Hashem and who can harm one who does Hashem's true judgment? 4)The judge must go to a higher and more learned authority if he isn't sure of the right judgment. The urim vetumim in the choshen remind us of this because they give an answer from heaven which is indisputable.

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In Loving Memory Of Our Father, Mr. Joseph Black (Yosef Ben Zelig) O"H
In Loving Memory Of Our Mother, Mrs. Norma Black (Nechama Bas Tzvi Hirsh) O"H
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