Parshat Tetzaveh The Golden Garments of the Kohen Gadol
|Gifted by White Buffalo Calf Woman Twin Deer Mother|
And these are the garments that they shall make: a breastplate, an apron, a jacket, a patterned tunic, a turban, and a belt. And they shall make sacred garments for Ahron your brother and for his sons so that they will serve as priests to me. (Shemot 28:4)
Parshat Tetzaveh discusses the garment worn by the Kohen Gadol—the High Priest. In total, the Kohen Gadol wore eight garments. Maimonides comments that the eight golden garments of the Kohen Gadol consisted of the four worn by the common priest, plus the jacket, apron, breastplate and headband.
The Kesef Mishne is troubled by this statement. In fact, only the four special garments included gold thread. The other garments worn by both the Kohen Gadol and the common kohen did not include gold thread. Why, then, does Maimonides refer to all eight of the Kohen Gadol’s garments as “golden”?
Perhaps, Maimonides wishes to teach an important lesson. The eight garments of the Kohen Gadol are not individual, isolated items. Instead, they merge into a single vestment. The four common garments join with the four woven with gold to create a single, integrated entity. This integrated garment is the “golden vestments” of the Kohen Gadol. Therefore, it is not necessary for each individual garment to contain gold thread to be referred to as “golden”. Instead, they are referred to as “golden” through inclusion in the overall entity of the “golden garments”.
The Lettering on the Stones of the Choshen
The stones shall contain the names of Bnai Yisrael, one for each of the twelve stones. Each one shall be engraved as on a signet ring to represent the twelve tribes. (Shemot 28:21)
One of the special garments worn by the Kohen Gadol was the Choshen – the breastplate. Upon the Choshen were mounted twelve stones. The stones were arranged in four rows. Three stones were in each row. On these stones were engraved the names of the tribes of Bnai Yisrael. One name was featured on each stone.
Maimonides explains that the first and last stones contained additional words. The first stone in the series was engraved with the name Reuven. Above the name were the names, “Avraham” and “Yitzchak VeYaakov” – the names of the forefathers. On the last stone in the series, the name “Binyamin” was engraved. Below the name were the words, "Shivtai Kah" – the tribes of G-d. Through the inclusion of these additional words, every letter of the Hebrew alphabet was contained within the engravings on the stones.
This raises an interesting question. How did the first and last stones accommodate the additional words or names? Rabbaynu Avraham ben HaRambam offers two possibilities. The first possibility is that these stones were larger than the others; the larger-sized stones accommodating the additional lettering. The second possibility is that all the stones were of uniform size; additional words and names were engraved in smaller letters. Through reducing the size of the lettering the stones could contain the larger text.
Rabbaynu Avraham seems to acknowledge the legitimacy of both solutions. However, he favors the second solution. He explains that is seems appropriate for all of the stones of the Choshen to be uniform in size. It seems that Maimonides agrees that the size was uniform.
Through analyzing the basis for these two solutions we can gain an important insight into the nature of the Choshen. We will also better understand Rabbaynu Avraham's conclusion.
What was the function of the Choshen? The Choshen was one of the special garments of the Kohen Gadol. He was required to wear these garments when performing service in the Mishcan.
The Choshen had a second function. Through the letters on the Choshen, the Kohen Gadol received prophetic messages. A question was addressed to Hashem. Hashem provided a response to the Kohen Gadol through a prophetic vision. This vision utilized the letters engraved on the stones of the Choshen as the medium for communication. The response would be spelled out for the Kohen Gadol using these letters. This second function was crucial in the design of the Choshen. The extra letters engraved at the top of the first stone and the bottom of the last completed the alphabet. This provided all letters needed to communicate the response. 
What was the relationship between these two functions? Let us consider two possibilities. The first possibility is that the Choshen was primarily an instrument designed to communicate prophecy. The Choshen's function as an essential garment of the Kohen Gadol was subsidiary. This means that the stones and the letters engraved upon them were the main element of the Choshen. The breastplate was fundamentally a garment designed to display the stones which featured these engravings. If this possibility is accepted, then it follows that the size of the stones and the lettering was dictated by the primary function – communicating prophecy. All letters were equally essential. All should have been the same size. This would require using larger stones for the first and last positions. In other words, this interpretation of the Choshen's design supports Rabbaynu Avraham's first solution.
The second possibility is that the primary function of the Choshen was to serve as an honorific garment of the Kohen Gadol. The Choshen's function as a vehicle in communicating prophecy was secondary. If we assume this interpretation, the overall beauty and appearance of the Choshen was a primary concern. This appearance would be enhanced through using stones of uniform size. The additional letters on the first and last stones would be reduced to accommodate the size of the stones. This is apparently the interpretation underlying Rabbaynu Avraham's second solution.
We can now understand Rabbaynu Avraham's reason for favoring this second solution. Rabbaynu Avraham preferred this solution because it is based upon a more reasonable interpretation of the Choshen. In other words, Rabbaynu Avraham was convinced that the Choshen primarily functioned as a garment glorifying the Kohen Gadol. What convinced Rabbaynu Avraham of the legitimacy of this interpretation?
In Parshat Terumah the Torah describes the items required for the construction of the Mishcan and its components. The stones of the Choshen are included in the list. The Torah describes these as "avnai miluim". Most commentaries translate this term as "stones meant to be set". This is a strange appellation for these stones. Why did the Torah not merely describe them as stones for adornment of the Kohen Gadol’s garments? What message is the Torah communicating by referring to the stones as avnai miluim?
Gershonides responds to this question. He explains that the Choshen featured gold settings. The stones were required in order to fill these gold settings. This is an odd way to describe the relationship between the stones and the Choshen. The simpler, more straightforward description would be that the settings were required to accommodate the stones.
A simple example will illustrate this point. What is the relationship between the diamond in an engagement ring and its setting? It would be incorrect to describe the diamond as “required to fill”, or complement, the setting (thus suggesting that the diamond is secondary to the setting). The setting is designed to hold the diamond! Why does Gershonides describe the stones as “required” to fill the gold settings?
Gershonides’ point is that the stones were designated to adorn and complete the Choshen. According to Gershonides, the Torah describes the stones as “avnai miluim” in order to communicate that their essential function is to adorn the Choshen by filling its settings. This means that the Choshen was not merely a garment intended to carry the stones. This supports Rabbaynu Avraham ben HaRambam’s conclusion that the Choshen was primarily designed as a garment of the Kohen Gadol. The stones were chosen for, and part of, this garment. Therefore, uniformity in size was appropriate.
The Message of the Kohen Gadol’s Head-Plate
And you should make a Head-plate of pure gold. And you should engrave upon it as the engraving of a signet ring, “Sanctified to Hashem”. (Shemot 28:36)
One of the eight garments of the Kohen Gadol was the Tzitz – the golden head-plate. This band was worn on the forehead. Engraved upon the Tzitz were the words, “kodesh laHashem” – “sanctified to Hashem”.
The message of the Tzitz seems difficult to unravel. The Tzitz is obviously declaring the sanctity of some object or person. However, the specific entity to which the Tzitz refers is not clear. Furthermore, we would expect the message of the Tzitz to be self-evident. The Tzitz is making the overt assertion that it—or someone—is “sanctified to G-d.” Such a message should be easy to grasp!
This issue can perhaps be resolved from the comments of the Sefer HaChinuch. Sefer HaChinuch explains the garments of the kohanim and the Kohen Gadol were designed to reinforce an important impression. The kohanim and the Kohen Gadol were charged with the duty of serving in the Temple on behalf of the nation. This was a weighty responsibility. These individuals were required to be completely devoted to their duties. In order to reinforce this message, they were given special garments. These vestments were to remind the priests of their responsibilities.
This suggests the phrase, “sanctified to Hashem” refers to the Kohen Gadol. He is sanctified to Hashem. The Tzitz reminds the High Priest of his position and his duties. He must conduct himself in accordance with his responsibilities.
Rabbaynu Shemuel ben Meir – Rashbam – offers an alternative explanation of the message of the Tzitz. The High Priest was required to wear all eight of his garments when serving in the Mishcan. If any garment was absent during the performance of a service, the service was invalidated. As explained above, the vestments of the Kohen Gadol were connected through halachah and formed a single entity. Rashbam suggests that in order to understand the message of the Tzitz, it is essential to evaluate it as part of the entire set of vestments. The garments of the Kohen Gadol must be considered as a whole.
The Tzitz was not the only vestment featuring words. The Ephod – the apron – and the Choshen also featured words. On the stones of the Ephod and Choshen the names of the tribes were engraved. Rashbam suggests that the message of the Tzitz emerges when considered in relation to these other vestments and their engravings. Rashbam explains the Tzitz refers to the shevatim -- the tribes whose names were engraved on the stones of the Ephod and Choshen. The Tzitz refers to these shevatim as sanctified to Hashem.
The Purpose of the Kohen Gadol’s Vestments
And you shall make sacred garments for Ahron your brother for dignity and glory. (Shemot 27:2)
The garments of the Kohen Gadol were designed to create an impressive visual effect. Other aspects of the Kohen Gadol’s appearance were also regulated by halachah. For example, he was required to trim his hair every week. In the above passage, Moshe is command to instruct Bnai Yisrael in the creation of these garments. The pasuk says that these garments are designed for honor and glory. However, the pasuk is vague. Whom— or what— do these garments glorify?
The commentaries offer a number of responses to this question. Rabbaynu Avraham ibn Ezra suggests that these beautiful and impressive garments glorify Ahron or the Kohen Gadol who wears them. In other words, the purpose of the Kohen Gadol’s garments and the regulations governing his grooming was to assure a positive physical appearance. Our pasuk indicates that this attention to appearance was intended to assure that the Kohen Gadol would be treated with dignity and respect.
This is surprising. Our Sages admonish us to “not look upon the container but at its contents.” Their message is that we should not be impressed by superficial behaviors or appearances. Instead, we are to assess a person based upon the individual’s inner-self. Why does the Torah stress superficial aspects of the Kohen Gadol?
More shocking than the Torah’s emphasis on physical appearance is the prohibition against the Kohen Gadol’s marriage to a widow. This prohibition is also designed to protect the public image of the High Priest. The Torah admonishes us to treat the widow with compassion and justice. The Torah commands us: “You shall not oppress the any widow or orphan.” Why does the Torah prohibit the Kohen Gadol’s marriage to a widow and thereby accommodate a shallow prejudice against the widow? Would it not be preferable for the Torah to allow this marriage? Such a policy would counter any social stigma attached to the widow.
These laws demonstrate one of the unique qualities of the Torah. Torah takes human weakness seriously. The Torah was created to govern an actual society. In the real world, prejudice and superficiality exist. These prejudices will undermine respect for the Kohen Gadol if he is married to a widow. The Torah recognizes these faults as forces in society. It prohibits the marriage. But, at the same time, the Torah attempts to correct human behavior. The Torah’s approach to confronting prejudice is balanced. It legislates commandments to protect the rights of those likely to be oppressed or subject to prejudice. But it also recognizes the tenacity of these prejudices. Both measures are essential. The Torah also attempts to improve upon these human limitations. However, failure to recognize human frailty would result in a system poorly equipped to deal with and accommodate actual human beings.
The garments of the Kohen Gadol are an excellent illustration of the Torah’s method of dealing with this dilemma. The Torah requires that the Kohen Gadol wear beautiful garments. However, these garments are more than attractive vestments. Every detail of design is guided by an intricate system of halachah. The observer is attracted to the beauty of the garments, and hopefully, this initial interest leads to contemplation of the ingenious laws which govern their design and structure. The observer comes to recognize that the greatest beauty is not in the superficial material dimension. Instead, true beauty is found in the world of knowledge.
Nachmanides acknowledges Ibn Ezra’s interpretation of the pasuk as a reasonable possibility. He also suggests an alternative explanation. He proposes that the garments honor and glorify Hashem. Apparently, Nachmanides reasons that the Kohen Gadol serves Hashem. Performing his duties in these wondrous vestments glorifies the service and Hashem.
Rabbaynu Ovadia Sforno suggests that the garments serve both purposes. They honor Hashem and glorify the Kohen Gadol.
This dispute regarding the function of the vestments of the Kohen Gadol, and presumably also the vestments of the Kohen, is the underlying basis for another disagreement.
There is another dispute among the Sages regarding the requirement that the kohanim wear special vestments. Maimonides, in his Sefer HaMitzvot, writes that our passage communicates a positive command. The kohen and the Kohen Gadol must wear their assigned vestments when serving in the sanctuary. Halachot Gedolot disagrees with Maimonides. He does not derive a commandment from our passage. He maintains that there is no separate commandment directing the Kohen Gadol or the other kohanim to wear these garments.
Of course, this creates a problem. The Kohen Gadol and the kohanim are not permitted to perform service in the Temple without these garments. How can Halachot Gedolot contend that there is no specific commandment directing the Priests to wear these garments, and also acknowledge that the kohanim are not permitted to serve without their vestments?
Nachmanides responds to this question. He explains that Halachot Gedolot certainly acknowledges that a kohen cannot serve without the proper vestments. However, according to Halachot Gedolot, the vestments are a requirement for the proper performance of the service. They are a prerequisite for the performance of the mitzvah of service in the Temple. As a prerequisite for another command – the performance of the service—the requirement to wear the vestments does not merit to be classified as an independent commandment.
Another example from halachah illustrates Nachmanides’ argument. All males are required to wear tefillin. Wearing tefillin is a mitzvah. Now, in order to wear tefillin, one first must acquire them. Yet, the procurement of tefillin is not a separate mitzvah. It is merely a prerequisite for the fulfillment of the commandment to wear them. Nachmanides argues that similarly the garments worn by the kohen are a prerequisite for the proper performance of the Temple service. As a prerequisite, the wearing of these garments does not qualify as a separate mitzvah.
How would Maimonides respond to Nachmanides’ position? Nachmanides is seemingly offering a compelling argument for not counting the wearing of the vestments as a separate mitzvah. Maimonides agrees that the procurement of tefillin is not a separate mitzvah. Why does he consider the requirement for the kohen to wear his special attire a separate mitzvah?
In order to answer this question, we must consider the order in which Maimonides organizes the various commandments concerning the kohanim. In his Sefer HaMitzvot, Maimonides states that the requirement of the kohanim to wear their garments is the thirty-third positive commandment of the Torah. According to Maimonides’ enumeration of the commandments, the thirty-second positive commandment is to honor the kohanim – the descendants of Ahron. The close association of these two commandments suggests that they are related. What is this relationship?
Apparently, Maimonides adopts the position of Ibn Ezra: the garments are designed to honor and glorify the kohanim. He communicates his position by ordering this mitzvah directly after the commandment to honor the kohanim. These vestments distinguish the kohanim and assign to them special status. It is true that a kohen cannot serve in the Temple without his vestments. But according to Maimonides, this is not because the vestments are a prerequisite for the service. The garments are required in order to confer honor and glory upon the kohen. Only when wearing the vestments is he qualified for service. In other words, without the garments, the kohen is not the person permitted to perform the service.
The pivotal issue of contention between Maimonides and Nachmanides can now be identified. According to Nachmanides, the garments are a prerequisite for performance of the service. They are tied to, and enhance, the service. This interpretation reflects Nachmanides’ interpretation of the above passage. The vestments glorify the Temple service and Hashem. Therefore, wearing this special attire is a prerequisite for proper performance of the service but does not constitute a separate mitzvah. In contrast, Maimonides maintains that the garments glorify and honor the Kohanim. They confer full honor and status upon the kohen. As a result, the wearing of the garments is a separate mitzvah within Taryag – the 613 Commandments.
Thank you Rabbi Bernie Fox
You probably guessed by now that we, at On Pins and Needles, are big fans of Special Collections and FIT Archives. What is housed on the shelves of this department is a dream come true for every fashion scholar and researcher. That’s why I felt super lucky when, as an intern, I was given the opportunity to work on one of the gems of the collection. It is nicknamed ‘the oldest book’, because a) it IS the oldest book in the collection (dated 1680) and b) it’s real name is not very easy to pronounce (Vestitus Sacerdotum Hebraeorum). And if you were wondering why I was the one given this opportunity, well that’s part of the story.
So let’s back up a little bit, Vestitus Sacerdotum Hebraeorum aka the oldest book, was written at 1680 in Amsterdam by Johanne Braunio (1638-1708). As its Latin name might suggest, the book centers on the vestments of Jewish priests, and is written mostly in Latin. It has been in the possession of FIT for at least two decades, though if you search the catalog you’ll find very little information on the content of the book. And this is where I come in. Along with Latin, the book also has many references in Hebrew, which I speak, read and write pretty well. I must say it’s the first time this knowledge has come to good use… The Hebrew text in the book allowed me to make better sense of what it really contains. That and some good old online research.
So what’s this old book really about? Turns out it is the most comprehensive historical research ever to be made on vestments of Jewish priests who served at the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The book is composed of two volumes (bound together), and contains seventeen beautiful engravings attributed to Bastiaan Stoopendaal.
The book, on all its 800 plus pages, is a detailed research of not only the different types of garments, but also of the materials from which they were made, and their origin. The author cites biblical sources and explains the process of making each material and each garment. The book opens with the below illustration, which is also a table of content of sort.The first volume centers on the materials and the process of making the colors and fabrics, by who they were used, how and when. While the second volume centers on each garment, how it was made and when and how it was worn.
Below are some examples of the illustrations and short explanation of their content
Thank you http://pinsndls.com/2011/03/14/the-oldest-book/
The Garments of the Priests, Levites and the High Priest
The Prophet Jeremiah and the Five Guardians of Solomon’s Temple Treasures
by Robert Mock MD
by Rabbi Michael Hattin
Picture Diagram of the Golden Garment of the High Priest
The Secret Hiding Places for the Garments of the Priests and the High Priest
Articles Used to Atone for Israel
The Four Garments of the Priests
The Eight Garments of the High Priest
The Two Styles of Garments of the High Priest
The Priest’s Linen Tunic
The Priest’s Turban or Hat
The Belt or Sash of the Priest
The Breeches or Pants of the Priests
The Golden Garment of the High Priest
The Me’il or the Blue Tunic of the High Priest
The Colors of the Woven Wool Threads
The Blue Thread of the Tzit-tzit
The Ephod, Vest or Breastplate of the High Priest
The Two Sardonyx “Remembrance Stones”
The Breastplate of the High Priest
The Shamir which Engraved the Gemstones
The Urim V’Tummum
The Sash or Belts for the Ephod
The Headband or Crown of the High Priest
The Sacred Hiding Places for the Garments of the High Priest
Besides the seven golden cosmic curtains representing the seven heavens of the Jewish sages in the mystical ascent to the Throne of God, this hidden depository is also the sacred cache of priestly garments. Once again using the BibleSearchers conservative estimates in numerical counting, there were twelve (12) sets of Levitical garments representing the twelve tribes of Israel plus seventy (70) sets of garments for the priests called the Cohanim, which represent the seventy international groups of peoples and the seventy root languages for mankind.
Yet special and sacred to this collection of priestly garments are the two garments that distinguish the Cohen Gadol, the High Priest. This was the Ephod which held the breastplate and the Urim and the Thummim and the Me’il or the distinct blue tunic with its hem of blue, purple and scarlet pomegranates alternating with golden bells.
The wardrobe of the Cohen Gadol included eight separate articles of clothing worn by the spiritual leader of the Israelites. The High Priest was revered as much or more than any king or royalty of the nations around the Israel. As such these clothes carried the richness and beauty that surpassed the royal robes of the mightiest kings of the surrounding empires.
Four articles of clothing were worn by all priests, the breeches with a linen tunic, both in natural white in color with the tunic and an embroidered belt or sash.
The distinction of the High Priest lay with an additional four articles of clothing; the Me’il or the blue tunic with a the hem of multi-colored pomegranates and golden bells, the multi-colored vest called an ephod with the breastplate of judgment with twelve engraved gemstones and finally a golden crown or headpiece.
Considering the fact that the morning and the evening sacrifices were performed by the Cohen Gadol in his full High Priestly attire, we begin the envision a solemn ritual that was filled with meaning and pageantry that could fill volumes in weaving spiritual themes about the Creator God and the heavenly throne which he resided.
Yet on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest entered the Holy of Holiest to atone for his sins and his family, and then with a pure and sanctified heart and body, he then atoned for the sins of all Israel. Here standing before the ark of the testimony, the High Priest wore a sacred garment of white linen as he presented the prayed and supplication of his people before the ark which represented the very Throne of God.
He did not have the Urim or the Thummim to assure him before hand that his visit to the seat of the Shekinah Glory would be safe and secure. He did not have the comfort of ringing bells on the hem of his blue tunic to assure the other priests that he was walking, moving and in essence still alive.
Here now we will begin a study on the richness of beauty and pageantry of the temple service in analyzing the garments of the priests and the Cohen Gadol, the High Priest of Israel.
There were 7 golden Curtains that contained 12,000 talents of gold.
There were 12,000 garments of the Levites with their belts, and the Ephod (vest) and Meil (robe) of the Cohen Gadol which he wore when he performed the Temple service. In addition, there were 70,000 garments worn by the Cohanim, with their belts, their turbans, and their pants. David made all of these for them to atone for Israel. And the fittest [men] of Israel took them secretly, as they had been instructed. All this service-gear was [concealed] until the future to atone for Israel [in the end of days].
The Secret Hiding Places for the Garments of the Priests
and the High Priest
Let us not forget that this was not the only secret place in which the articles of the priestly garments were hidden. In the first Mishnah, we also discovered that part of the articles of the High Priest’s garments was hid with the Wilderness Tabernacle.
The articles of the Mishkhan (Sanctuary) included the Tabernacle itself, the Veil that separated the Holy and the “Sanctified” or separated premises of the complex, the holy Menorah, the Ark of the Testimony, a Silver Trumpet, the Cherubim that resided over the Ark, the Golden Altar of Burnt Offerings (Incense?), the Curtain of the Communion Tent, the Golden Table of Showbread, the Forks and Bread Molds, the Curtain of the Gate, the Copper Altar, the Holy Vessels that Moses made on Mount Sinai under direct command of the Lord of hosts, the Rod that was given to Moses, and the Jar of Manna.
What a sacred and sanctified hiding place this must be! Everything is ready and intact to be erected at the time of the end. But why? Why is it being preserved to the time of the end? Is it to be erected just to restart the sacrificial services that had become such a barrier and a stumbling block to the Jewish people? Everything that is sacred can be misused and so it was. Is it to be erected to restart the entire festival season of the Lord?
No, the festivals of the Lord have continued to be observed by the Jewish people even though the temple of the Lord was destroyed. While the Gentile (goyim) have developed a “Spiritual Israel” worship experience with the Name of Jesus, using the ideology of the Hebrew religion but divorced from the Hebrew philosophy, the Jews have also developed a “Spiritual Israel” religious experience without the Name of Yeshua, using also the ideology of the Hebrew religion and developing a more spiritual attachment to its Hebrew philosophy. At the end of times, we must consider, what will be the nature of the Hebrew religion, when the House of Judah already redeemed in the Land of Israel is united with her brethren, the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel?
And then again we ask? We do not have any clues of what happened to the golden altar of incense of Solomon’s temple. Yet the Mosaic golden altar appears to be hidden and intact. Whereas the Mishnah One appears to have the golden cherubim that resided over the ark of the testimony, it is unclear if the ark of the testament is recognized as a separate object than the cherubim that reside over it or does this hiding place of the Mishkhan also include the large cherubim that were made to cover over the ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holiest in the Temple of Solomon? We also have not found the Brazen Laver or the Bronze Altar of Burnt Offering for we know that they were destroyed, but we did find the Copper Altar of Burnt Offering.
Of the sacred furniture of the Temple of Solomon hidden in other hiding places, we have found numerous Tables of Showbread. We have also found one of the ten magnificent 49 lamped Menorah lamps. Yes at the same time we did not find the molten menorah made by Bezaleel for the Wilderness Sanctuary in any of these secret chambers. If the Mishkhan has been hidden fully erect and fully intact, what happened to the molten menorah made under the direction of Moses for the Sanctuary?
And then we have found numerous additions to the Temple that made it one of the most glorious monuments in the entire world, all dedicated to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. These included: the Margolit pearls, the Margolit bread molds, the Almugim Coral Trees overlaid with gold, the Almugim trees overlaid with gold in the Garden of Eden, the Golden Tapestries in the Garden of Eden, the lyres and harps made by King David and the industrial gemstones used in building the Temple of the Lord.
We have already looked at the inventory of the First Mishnah and in this separate, sacred and hidden place, we also find several articles pertaining to our present topic on the garments of the High Priest;
· the Golden Nameplate on the Forehead,
· the Golden Crown of Aharon the Cohen,
· the Breastplate of Judgment,
· the Sacred Garments (White Garments) of Aharon which were worn by the Cohen HaGadol (High Priest) on the Day of Atonement,
· Pa'amonim (bells) and
· Rimonim (pomegranates) on the hem of the robe [of the Cohen Gadol],
Yet in this the Eight Mishnah, we now complete the wardrobe of both Levites and priests and the High Priest. These articles include:
The garments of the Priests and the Levites
· The Linen Tunics of the Priests
· The Linen Turbans of the Priests
· The Linen Belts of the Priests
· The Line Pants or Breeches of the Priests
The Golden Garments of the High Priest (Cohen Gadol
· The Me’il or Blue Tunic
· The Ephod
· The Urim and the Thummim
· The Remembrance Stones
· The Belt and Sash
What we do see is that the secrets of the both hiding places will have to be revealed before the garments of the priests and High Priest will be complete and functional. All of these articles were hidden and dedicated for a distant and future day to be used in the sanctuary services described in the Torah needed to atone for the national and corporate sins of Israel. This is an era that has historically not occurred in any past events.
Articles Used to Atone for Israel
What we now have been revealed is that this Sanctuary, the articles within it and the garments of the priests were to be used to atone for Israel. What does it mean to
The word ‘Atone’ is not found in the Holy Scriptures, but the word, ‘Atonement’ is. The Hebrew, kaphar (kaw-far) in Strong’s 3722, comes from the root word, ‘to cover’. The literal sense was to cover with bitumen as when Noah covered the Ark of Noah with bitumen and thereby sealed and protected it and all the animals and human inhabitances within it during the cataclysmic era of the Great Flood of Noah.
As we shall see in the next Mishnah, which is hidden in Ein Zidkiyah, that the lyres and harps of David were to be hidden and concealed “until the day when Israel will return to their former stature and reclaim (eternal) honor and worldly glory, and they find a man whose name is David, son of David.”
Then we will come to the final Mishnah, in which the purpose of the entire Emeq HaMelekh is revealed. The restoration of all the vessels will not occur “until a righteous king arises over Israel…… David, son of David, arises.” This will occur “when the exiles of Israel will be gathered from the four ends of the earth, and they ascend with greatness and exaltation to the land of Israel. At that time, a great river will issue forth from the Holy of Holies of the Temple. Its name is Gihon….”
This atonement has nothing to do with the Sin Offering of the ashes of the Red Heifer, or the sin offering of the Pesach Passover Lamb. The ashes of the Red Heifer are already prepared and hidden ready to be revealed for the final purification of the temple of the Lord. The Son of the Living God, Yeshua, offered Himself up as the Passover Pesach Lamb around 30 AD and the legal requirements for sin were fulfilled and the process of redemption and restoration was begun. The shadow picture in the spring festival of Pesach, the Passover, met its fulfillment when the type met the anti-type as the symbolic Passover Lamb met the real Pesach Lamb, Yeshua.
Yet in the festival cycle, the Day of Atonement did not come until the fall festival of Yom Kippur, a moment in time in which Jewish and Biblical scholars see as the Day of the Coming of the Moschiach, the Messiah. Yes, at this time, Lost House of the Tribes of Israel will be restored and as such the exile of about two thousand five hundred years will be over. The Israelites lost in the gentile nations will be redeemed and restored. Was it not Paul, known as Rabbi Shaul, who stated,
Romans 11:25 - “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob
(House of Israel and House of Judah);
For this is My covenant with them (the House of Jacob),
When I take away their sins.”
So, now let us go back to the word, Atone. At the time of the end, the Lord of Host will ‘cover’, shield and protect His own people, the House of Jacob. The Jewish people who are restored already in the Land of Israel, the House of Israel seen first in the restoration of the House of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) in the enlargement of the borders of Israel in Zechariah Nine and Zechariah Ten, and the final restoration of ‘All Israel’ seen after the Coming of the Messiah. During this time, the Time of Atonement will be in progress.
When then will all of these “Vessel” be revealed? Will it be before the coming of Yeshua as the Moschiach ben David (messiah, son of David)? Will Yeshua be revealed as the Messiah of Israel before the actual coming or Return of the Messiah at Armageddon, such as when He touches down on the Mount of Olives and the a great earthquake will split the Mount in two and a mighty river will emit or flow from where the Zion and the Temple of Lord as depicted in Zechariah Twelve? What about the sages of Israel, who state that at the time of the end, their will arise two messiahs? The Moschiach ben Joseph will come before the end and will give His life for the restoration of the House of Jacob. Then the Great Day of the Lord will come in which the Moschiach ben David will return and destroy all the wicked that are amassed around Jerusalem and set up His kingdom here on this earth?
The Garments of the Priests and Levites
Exodus 28: 1-4 - "And draw near to yourself Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to me in the priest’s office; Aaron, Nadav, and Avihu, Elazar, and Itamar, the sons of Aaron.
”And you shall make sacred garments for Aaron your brother, for honor and for beauty. And you shall speak to all who are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him that he may minister to me in the priest’s office.
“And these are the garments which they shall make: a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a quilted undercoat, a mitre, and a girdle; and they shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, and his sons, that he may minister to me in the priest’s office …"
The garments the Lord of hosts instructed Moses to make for the High Priest depicted the unique details of substance and symbolism that were to inspire honor and glory to the sacred office of the high priest. There was not garment in the royal armoire of the ancient kings and emperors that matched the beauty and awe of what was called the ‘golden garment’ of the Cohen Gadol (High Priest).
Modern scholars tend to overlook the priestly garments and as such miss the essence of the sacred duties of atonement that the cohenim (priests) and the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) performed daily in the ritual of the sanctuary and temple services. Without these garments, the sacred symbolism and in essence the validity of the services that they performed would have no doubt been nullified. The meaning of the garments gave a powerful statement of the Almighty One to whom they were offering atonements.
The Hebrew philosophy stated that the power of the priesthood was in the garments and not in the person. Without these garments, any Levite would be unfit for the priestly office. As the Talmud states:
BT Zevachim 17: B - “While they are clothed in the priestly garments, they are clothed in the priesthood; but when they are not wearing the garments, the priesthood is not upon them”
As such the sanctity of the office of the priest was elevated by the garments and the symbolic meaning that they represented. Sacred garments were always apart of the Hebrew tradition: the cloak of Elijah and Elisha and the mantle of John the Baptist. Jesus as the Rabbi followed this Jewish philosophy in that his garments were recognized to carry certain sanctity. Was not the woman with a ‘bloody issue’ healed who touched the garment hem of Yeshua (Jesus)? Was not the young daughter of the Roman centurion raised from the dead when the tallit of Yeshua was wrapped around her?
Yet this Mishnah states very eloquently that this hiding place with the garments of the Levites and the High Priest was not just an armoire to contain a collection of garments to be eventually housed in a museum for religious spectators to file by in awe and wonder, but they were there for a purpose: “to atone for Israel” at the time of the end.
“David made all of these for them to atone for Israel. And the fittest [men] of Israel took them secretly, as they had been instructed. All this service-gear was [concealed] until the future to atone for Israel [in the end of days].”
As implied in BT Zevachim 88:B, these priestly garments that were worn by the cohenim and the Cohen Gadol in the daily sacrifices and the festivals of the Lord, were, like the sacrifices themselves, to atone for the sins of the people. Yet the daily rituals were not to mollify a petty god of a confederate of tribes, but transcended the Hebrews to accomplish a universal purpose; the Israelites were to bring atonement and spiritual reconciliation to all mankind. They were to be the priests for all humanity.
The four garments of the Priests
The first four garments that the priests wore in their daily activities before the Lord. The breeches, coat, the mitre, and girdle, were to be worn by the all the priests and the high priest.
Each of these garments also was symbolic of certain acts of atonement.
The fine linen tunic - atonement for accidental killing or intentional murder.
The girdle or belt - atonement for a sinful heart, improper thoughts and theft
The turban or hat and the mitre of the High Priest - atonement for haughtiness or pride of countenance. (Ps. 10:4)
The breeches - atonement for unchastity and sexual transgressions (Matt 5:28)
There were eight garments that were to be made for Aaron the high priest as ordered by the Lord of hosts. These included: the breeches, coat, the mitre, girdle, breastplate, ephod, robe and the golden plate. Yet the additional four garments that the high priest wore were for the additional acts of atonement. The latter four garments, the breastplate, ephod, robe and the golden plate, were reserved for the sanctity of the highest spiritual office in Israel. These were called the “golden garments”.
The breastplate - atonement for partial verdicts and errors of judgment.
The ephod - the atonement for idolatry.
The robe of the ephod and the golden bells - atonement for evil speech and slander (Col. 3:8)
The golden plate - atonement for arrogance of attitude.
When the Torah stated that the sacred garments were made for “honor and beauty”, in true Hebrew idiom, this was not such a spiritual refection, but a literal reality. Each garment was made tailor fit for each cohenim. The tribal families that were the tailors and weavers of the priestly garments were part of a thriving industry. If any garment became stained or damaged, it was rendered unfit for the sacredness of its duty and that certain priest had to quickly have a replacement. This was not just a cottage industry, but a sacred industry vital to the temple ministry. As stated to Moses,
Exodus 28:3 - “And you shall speak to all who are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister to me in the priest’s office.”
These were not just garment manufacturers, but tailors filled with the Spirit of God who not only knew all 613 mitsvoths (commandments) of the Lord, but the spiritual and mystical meanings for every little detail of clothing design. This included how to weave the edges of the garments, the exact number of threads and styles of weaving for each garment, but also the proper wool dyeing techniques, the proper and improper mix of linens and wool, the proper blending of colors in order to make each garment kosher.
Let’s turn our minds to the first century services of the Temple of Herod, when about 5 BCE, Zechariah was standing before the daily altar of incense and he was approach by Gabriel, the archangel of the Lord. This was a one special moment in his life, for it was the only time in his priestly career that he would have the privilege to perform the duty of the daily altar of incense and it was the Festival of Pentecost. As known by the rabbabim, even though there were two daily sacrifices for 365 days of a year, there were thousands of priests, so they only had the privilege to perform the sacrifice at the altar of incense only once in their lifetime.
Tremendous care was needed for services performed by each priest. Discipline, care and neatness were all a part of the sacred routine. If there clothing became soiled, it was disqualified for service and a new tailor made outfit would have to be put on. The garments were never washed, neither were they destroyed.
The priestly tunics were shredded and then made into wicks for the menorah. The belts and pants were shredded and warehoused in preparation for the Grand Parade of lights in the Festival of the Water Libation during the Festival of Succot in the women’s court. Yet the garments of the High Priest, when they became not usable were hidden away in the archival vaults so no other priest would be able to use them.
In a world where we have garments for every mood, every emotion, and every engagement, it seems strange to be limited to clothes with the extreme simplicity of the average cohenim (priest) or the exotic beauty of the garment of the High Priest. Yet even in a temple ritual, where day after day the same spiritual rhythm continued an inward and sensory seeking individual would eventually become enveloped with boredom and cynicism. This is the challenge of the spiritual seeker in modern life. We desire to satisfy our senses, to seek constant changes in our daily routine and to ‘expand our horizons’. Yet we fail to comprehend that out of the simple comes the complex. The complexity of the music from the orchestra, the chorus or the band yields the simple reality that all music begins with the sound frequency rhythm of one simple tone mixed with another simple tone. The journey of the mystic and the sages was to cut through the complexities of life, layer by layer, and analyze the meaning and essence of each layer. We see it today as we watch the complex dating and mating behavior of young couples. Yet the sociologist when they cut through the taboos and social mores of any given society find that the ritual of dating is quite simple and mundane.
The High Priest had two styles of garments in his wardrobe.
The Golden Garment of the High Priest’s uniform was two layered set of clothing which included the four garments of the regular priests plus four additional accruements that were added to enhance the ritual beauty and honor of the sacredness of the duties of the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) in his work of atonement for the children of Israel. The golden garments were worn all year in the rituals performed as the High Priest when he was a visible presence before people of Israel in the morning and evening sacrifices.
Yet the Cohen Gadol also had another set of garments, called the “White Garments”. There was only one time of the year that the High Priest wore the white garments. That day was the highest and most holy day of the year, the Day of Atonement, a day also called the Day of Judgment.
Leviticus 16:4 - “He shall put on the holy linen tunic and he shall have the linen pants upon his flesh, and he shall be girded with a linen belt, and with the linen turban he shall be attired.”
On the most awesome and holy day of the year, the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) took on the sacred garments of the regular priest made from six-ply flaxen linen and he alone in the Holy Place and then into the Holy of Holiest, he officiated in atonement for all the nation or tribes of Israel seeking to bring his people in alignment with the Holy Presence of the Lord of hosts. Atonement was also Judgment as the people of Israel could remain in the presence of the Lord of hosts or they could be judged, separated and exiles from the Lord and Creator.
In the picture of the High Priest at the beginning of this article, we find a composite picture with all of its artistic inaccuracies. Here stands the High Priest before the ark of the Covenant with the radiant Shekinah glory as he begins to sprinkle the blood of the sin offering of the goat upon the mercy seat in the Most Holy Place. Also the High Priest is attired in this picture with his ‘Golden Garments’. How human this painting is. We always want to come before the Lord of host with all of our supposed human glory. Yet on this day, the Day of Atonement, the Cohen Gadol stood before the Lord as a common man, stripped of all the vestiges and royal trappings of his important, elevated and sacred religious office. Yet there was one difference, he came before the Lord with the Mitre or the turban of the High Priest. For what reason?
Let us consider the fact that when man in his lower three dimensional state, comes before the Lord of hosts, his body is the least consequential part of his being. This is well accepted spiritual humans who have not been influenced by the Greek ideal of glorifying the human body as the highest essence of mankind. On the other side, the Greek philosophical ideals of Plate demoted the human body to that of a prison that enslaved the essence of humanness, the soul, which was only released from its human body prison at the time of death. This conflict between the spirit, soul and body is portrayed in a million ways in modern American and European culture.
Yet the Hebrew, in harmony with the Image of God that was given to Adam and all of his descendants, we find the elevation of the human mind without deprecation of the human body, a harmonious whole akin to the Sefirot of the Living God, where the mind represents the Keter or the Essence of the Unknowing God in kingship, wisdom and knowledge and the rest of the seven emanations or attributes of the Holy One flow down from the Keter or the Mind of God Himself. Yet all ten emanations represent the Unity and Totality of the World of the Divine. So also, the spiritual use of the mind is the closest we will come to the presence of the Lord, yet the mind is of little use unless it works in harmony with the rest of the seven emanations of man represented in the hierarchical function of the human body.
So also the High Priest stood before the Lord of hosts in his simple linen garments. He did not need the Royal Blue Tunic for he stood in the symbolic realm of heaven itself. He did not need the Stones of Presence on his shoulder, the Ephod or the Breastplate, for he alone represented all of Israel is his very person. Yet he wore the Mitre of the High Priest, for the mind of man alone can ascend to the presence of the Almighty.
It has been stated that the High Priest had two tunics that he wore on the Day of Atonement, one in the morning and one in the evening. Was this for cleanliness or did it have a ritual and symbolic significance, we do not know. What the rabbis do suggest is that at the end of the Day of Atonement, these ‘white garment’ would never be used again.
Exodus 28:23 - “And Aaron shall come into the Tent of Meeting, and he shall take off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy place and he shall leave them there.”
The Lord of hosts developed a ritual of spiritual experience in the Temple of the Lord that commanded all the five senses of the religious pilgrim and the hierarchy of emotions of the saint and the sinner that entered its doors. It was ritual of harmony that synthesized rather than competed. As the totality of the beauty of a flower cannot be separated from the plant stalk, the leaves and the stem, so the simple priestly linen garments added rather than detracted, enhanced rather than competed as the Lord of hosts sought to elevate the religious life of the Hebrew pilgrim to a higher and higher plane spiritual plane. Let us begin to analyze layer by layer the garments of the priesthood.
And so, let us know look at the four garments of the cohenim (priest) that was also worn by the High Priest on the Day of Atonement.
Exodus 39:27 - “And they made the tunics for Aaron and his sons by weaving them of fine linen.”
Exodus 28:39 - “You shall skillfully weave the tunic of fine linen thread, you shall make the turban of fine linen and you shall make the sash of woven work.”
All the priests including the high priest wore linen tunics. Each garment was individually made making this light garment of flax linen produced from the finest linen in Israel. It was made by ‘fine weaving’ in which there was no sewing except to sew the arm sleeves on. This ‘skillful weave” was not the routine cross-weave pattern found in most linen garments made from the looms of Israel. Rather it was made into a weaving pattern of small boxes or cells, or diamond shaped, in which Maimonides stated had the ‘appearance of a honey-comb.
The fine linen tunic as it cloaked the torso and the hands; it was to be a spiritual atonement for accidental killing or intentional murder. We usually think of these acts committed by the upper body and hands as truly literal acts of homicide and genocide. Then as also today, we use our upper bodies and our hands to evoke fear, oppression and to commit acts of psychological murder with our whips to beat another into submission, our hands to choke and to intimidate, and our fingers to write out falsehoods and accusations, to intimidate with the power of the pen, destroy a person’s credit, usurp their physical identity and to destroy other people’s reputations with innuendos, fabrications, and slander.
Exodus 39:27 - “They made tunics, artistically woven of fine linen, for Aaron and his sons, a turban of fine linen, exquisite hats of fine linen….”
The art of making the High Priest’s turban was a skill in itself. This verse suggests that the turban and what is called a ‘tall headdress’ in other translations, were probably two parts of the same headpiece. Twenty-four feet (16 cubits) of a thin strip of white linen was wound around the head. It appeared that the high priest’s turban was more flat while the priestly turban wrappings were more conical in shape. The most picturesque description of the priestly turban is by Flavius Josephus.
Josephus, Antiquities 3:7:3 - “Upon his head he wears a cap, not brought to a conic form, nor encircling the whole head, but still covering more than the half of it…that it seems to be a crown, being made of thick swathes, but the contexture is of linen; and it is doubled round many times, and sewed together: besides which, a place of fine linen covers the whole cap from the upper part, and reaches down to the forehead …so that it may not fall off during the sacred service about the sacrifices.”
If that was not complex enough, according to Josephus, in the mitre of the High Priest there was now added a sky-blue wool cap, and over that three gold bands upon which were placed a flowered ornament on top. In front there was an opening where the High Priest could place the phylacteries or the tefillin and also the ‘crown’ the golden plate on his forehead with the Name of God inscribed in bold relief in the front.
Josephus, Antiquities 3:7:6 - “The high priest’s mitre was the same….above which there was another, with swathes of blue embroidered, and round it was a golden crown polished, of three rows, one above the other; out of which arose a cup of gold, which resembled the herb which call Saccharus; but those Greeks that are skilful in botany call it Hyoscyamus, …which fruit…send out a flower that may seem to resemble that of poppy.”
The regular priestly turbans were potentially the same as the turban of the High Priest. Daily each priest had to wind these twenty feet of linen around his head into was became probably more of a conical shape. The turban of the ordinary priest with the addition of a blue wool cap, a golden crown and topped with a gold flower ornament became the mitre of the High Priest. It was this High Priest turban, known as the mitre of the High Priest that he wore also in the Holy of Holiest at the Day of Atonement.
The turban, as it sat on the head of the priest was to be atonement for haughtiness and the pride of countenance.
Psalms 10:4 - The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.”
Yeshua (Jesus) had this spirit in mind when as he was observing the poor widow giving her last mite for an offering for the temple said to those around him,
Mark 12: 38-40 - “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”
It is the brain in the crown of our head that determines the countenance of our being and our actions which we bear upon society. It is also the crown of our head where man has the most direct contact with the Divine. As Adam and Eve stood in the Garden of Eden, they may not have actually lived in an other dimensional spiritual realm, but their spiritual perception were open so that their ‘eyes to could see and their ears could hear’ the activity of the angels, the archangels and even the ‘footsteps’ of the Lord of hosts in the outer reaches of the spiritual dimensions.
We have already seen why the High Priest wore his High Priest Mitre in the Holy of Holiest on the Day of Atonement. Here in the recesses of the human brain, the High Priest could use his ‘Keter’ or ‘Crown’ and allow the Lord of hosts to open his mind to the spiritual realm and the Source of the Shekinah Glory.
The Belt or Sash of the Priest
The belt-sash of the priests also was three in number:
The High Priest’s “Golden Garment belt it is believed was in harmony with the entire unity of the golden garment of his office. As stated:
Exodus 39:29 - “And a belt of fine twisted linen, and sky-blue, dark-red and crimson dyed wools, the work of an embroiderer.”
The belt worn by the High Priest on the Day of Atonement was a part of his “White Garments”. This belt like the rest of the garments was made with six-ply twisted linen.
The belt worn by the regular cohenim (priest) there is a divergence of opinion. One set of Torah scholars suggest that the belt of the priest was the same as the belt of the High Priests’ golden garment. As such they were linked in a hierarchical presence with the highest spiritual leader in the land. Other scholars suggest that the belt worn by the ordinary priest were made only of flaxen linen like the rest of his garments.
Yet when you read literally the text as stated, both the High Priest and all the rest of the priests had a sash of ‘fine woven linen with blue, purple, and scarlet thread…”
Exodus 39:27 - “They made tunics, artistically woven of fine linen, for Aaron and his sons, a turban of fine linen, exquisite hats of fine linen, short trousers of fine woven linen, and a sash of fine woven linen with blue, purple, and scarlet thread, made by a weaver, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
Josephus, also a priest, and knowledgeable of the garments which he wore in his priestly duties gave us a primary source opinion of the belt or sash of the priests.
Josephus, Antiquities 3:7:2 - “It (linen vestment) is girded to the breast a little above the elbows , by a girdle often going round, four fingers broad, but so loosely woven that you would think it were the skin of a serpent. It is embroidered with flowers of scarlet, and purple, and blue, and fine twined linen; but the warp was nothing but fine linen.
The beginning of its circumvolution is at the breast; and when it has gone often round, it is there tied, and hangs loosely there down to the ankles; I mean this all the time the priest is not about any laborious service, for in this position it appears in the most agreeable manner to the spectators; but when he is obliged to assist the offering sacrifices, and to do the appointed service, that he may not be hindered in his operation by its motion, he throws it to the left (over the heart), and bears it on his shoulder.”
According to the Talmud and also Maimonides, the belt was only “three (3) fingerbreadths” (2 ¼ inches) in width yet according to Josephus it was four fingerbreadths. It was also extremely long at 32 cubits or about 48 feet long. This garment implement was not designed to produce form to a garment or to hold the garment in any particular position. As we have seen above, the sash was to ‘atone for the sins of the heart” and as such was worn over the heart. It was to separate the upper half of the body from the lower half of the body as it was wrapped many times around the body below the heart. From Jewish Torah law, there was to be an obligatory separation between the upper and the lower body as there was a separation between the upper and lower realms in the spiritual world. Here we see the separation between the holy and the profane. Yet for all the symbols and spiritual meanings that were gleaned from the temple garments and the services, they were all portrayed out in literal fact.
Exodus 28:42 - “And make for them linen pants to cover their nakedness; they shall reach from the loins to the thighs.”
Here we now see the breeches or pantaloons that the priests wore. Here is a description from the Talmud.
BT Niddah 13: b - “We were taught: To what can the priest’s pants be likened? To the knee breeches (riding pants worn by horsemen; wide from the hips to the thighs, tied with a lace, and without an opening - neither in back nor in front.”
It was a therefore a loosely fit garment, tied at the waist by a lace running through a hollow hem. It extended from the waist and hips to the knees or the bottom of the thighs. As Josephus describes:
Josephus, Antiquities 3:7:1 - “It is a girdle, composed of fine twined linen, and is put about the privy parts, the feet being to be inserted into them, in the nature of breeches; but above half of it is cut off, and it ends at the thighs and there tied fast.”
While the pants were part of the whole garment ensemble “for honor and beauty”, it specifically states that they were to cover. That covering was for modesty and to cover nakedness. Is it no wonder that the pants were to atone for unchastity and sexual transgressions.
Now that we have covered the four basic garments of the cohenim (priest) and the basic inner garment of the High Priest, we will now begin to describe the Golden Garment of Israel’s mediator and God’s representative on this earth.
Exodus 28: 31-35 - “You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. There shall be an opening for his head in the middle of it; it shall have a woven binding all around its opening like the opening in a coat of mail, so that it does not tear.
And upon its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet, all around its hem, and bells of gold between them all around: a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe all around. And it shall be upon Aaron when he ministers, and it’s sound will be heard when he goes into the holy place before the Lord and when he comes out, that he may not die.”
The high priest, known as the Cohen Gadol, wore the same two garments, the breeches and tunic plus the turban and the girdle that the regular priests wore. There is some suggestion that the linen was of a higher quality, suggesting that the looms of the ancient world also knew the distinction of “quality”. Also the mitre of the High Priest may have been wrapped on the head differently and did have different other head attachments, such as the blue cap, the crown and the golden flowered cup, but these articles of clothing were essentially the same.
What distinguished the Cohen Gadol was the Me’il, or the blue robe worn over the tunic. Whereas the tunic of the priest was six-ply linen, according to the BT Yoma 71, the blue tunic of the High Priest was 12 ply, and it was not woven with flaxen linen but with sky-blue wool. Along the bottom hem of the garment were placed woven ‘pomegranates’ of sky-blue, crimson and purple wool, along with golden bells of ‘pure’ gold. Also the hem was doubled over and woven instead of sewn with a thread.
The first thing we notice is the rich colors of the blue robe and the pomegranates on the hem of the robe of the Cohen Gadol: gold, sky-blue wool (techelet), dark-red wool, crimson wool and six-ply twisted linen.
Gold: The designation of ‘pure gold’ signifies that a special type of gold, noted for its chemical and symbolic purity was used in the woven matrix of the garments of the high priest. The gold was beaten out in the finest of micro-thickness sheets of gold and then cut into fine threads. To do so, the artisan’s knives would have had to be razor thin with the technological tools needed to cut long threads on a straight edge.
Sky-Blue: This radiant blue was noted as the Color of Sapphire from beneath the Throne of God likened to the color of the Sea of Glass before the Throne of God and the firmament in the heavens.
This sky-blue dye, or sapphire blue, was called techelet, according to the BT Menachot 42: b resembled the brilliant color of indigo blue. This dye was extracted from the secretions of an oceanic invertebrate called the chilazon, now known to be the murex snail, murex trunculus, found on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. This snail disappeared and was felt to be extinct for almost two thousand years since the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE. Only after the restoration of the Nation of Israel, in 1948, have there been the re-discovery of the snail and the secret of the extraction process of the secretion of the murex trunculus. From these secretions came the royal purple, the royal blue and the dye used to make the blue cord for the tzit-tzit on the hem or fringe of the prayer shawls of the Hebrews as commanded by HaShem, the Lord of hosts.
Numbers 15:37 - “HaShem said to Moses saying, Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tzit-tzit on the corners of your garments, and with a blue cord on each tzit-tzit, You will have these tzit-tzit to look at and you will remember all the commands of the Lord, and you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lust of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God.’”
The rediscovery of this snail and dye extraction technology has been recounted in the article, called “True Colors” by Jim Long. What is known is that the sky-blue color of the dye when placed on a spectrometer and light rays are fractionated according the measurement of the visible length of the color spectrum, the sky-blue comes out to an exact 613 nanometers. Is it not unique that the Lord of hosts in the Torah gave the Israelites 613 commandments which they were required to keep in order to receive the blessing of the Lord?
Purple or Dark Red: The royal purple in the ancient days was known as argaman in Hebrew and also came from the same murex snail, the murex trunculus. Within the extraction process, the secretions in the gland of the snail when exposed to oxygen undergoes a chemical transformation from yellow, to a green, a greenish blue, aquamarine, then blue and ultimately ends up a dark purple.
How the children of Israel obtained this dye while in the Sinai desert suggests a dye technology that was known in Egypt, while they were living near the Mediterranean in the Nile delta or had access to the barter and trading along the trade routes from the Mediterranean to the Far East.
Crimson or Scarlet: This brilliant scarlet red was felt to be produced by a worm known in the Bible as the ‘crimson worm” or tola’at Ha-shani in Hebrew. It was thought that it came from a mountain worm called the kermes biblicus, the cochineal insect.
Like the sky-blue and purple due from the murex snail, the source of the scarlet dye was also unknown for two thousand years. On December 2002, Dr. Zohar Amar, a researcher at the Bar-Ilan University Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies announced that the process to extract this color had been discovered from the a coccid, a scale insect discovered in Neve Tzuf, similar to another coccid located in Upper Galilee. This dye was valued in the Biblical times in the following:
BaMidbar, XIX, 6 - “And the priest shall take cedar-wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer.”
Exodus 26:1 - “Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains: of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, with cherubim the work of the skillful workman shalt thou make them.”
I Samuel 2:1 - “Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put ornaments of gold upon your apparel.” (Samuel II, I, 24)
The Israeli investigators eventually identified the Kermes oak coccid and by it developed a scarlet pigment of an orange hue from the insect. The last recorded testimony of the tola0at ha-shani in the Temple is the record of the scarlet thread by Josephus.
The Pomegranates and the Golden Bells were aligned along the bottom of the hem of the blue tunic of the Cohen Gadol.
Besides the use of blue threads in the curtains of the tabernacle (Exodus 26;1), the veil before the ark of the covenant (Exodus 26:31), the screen on the door of the Tent of Meeting (Exodus 26:36), the Ephod (Exodus 28:5-6), the headdress for the High Priest (Exodus 28:37), and the sash or girdles for the priests (Exodus 39:29), there was also commanded by the Lord of hosts, tassels with blue threads that were to be worn by the children of Israel.
Numbers 15:37-38 - “HaShem said to Moses saying, Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tzit-tzit on the corners of your garments, and with a blue cord on each tzit-tzit, You will have these tzit-tzit to look at and you will remember all the commands of the Lord, and you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lust of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all my commands all my commands and will be consecrated to your God.’” (Tanakh)
Deuteronomy 22:12 - “You shall make tassels on the four corners of the clothing with which you cover yourself.”
This was not such a unique custom as most of the nations of the ancient world used fringes as part of their dress wardrobe and most were also packed with symbolic meaning.
The ancient Assyrians and Babylonians felt the fringes evoked the protection of the gods. Along with the fringe was the fringed hem that was used on the garments of the rich and famous, denoting their symbols of status and power. Along with this came the meaning of family or tribal belonging, in that a husband when divorcing his wife would cut off the fringed hem of her robe.
In the city state of Mari, in the land of present day Syria, it was recorded that a professional diviner or prophet would enclosed with his prophetic report to the king, also a lock of his hair and a piece of the hem from the bottom of his robe. This hem or fringe also became at times a part of his signature as it would be impressed within the clay tablet itself. The profession exorcists in the ancient days would use the hem of the robe of the person exorcized in their ceremonies as though the soul or image was part of the hem. In a classed society, a person of a lower class as they knelt before a person of higher rank, if they would clasp the fringe at the bottom of the hem of the noble, their request cold not be refused. Yes, the fringed hem was part of the I.D. of the royal and the nobles.
The Scribe by Rabbi Karro
Yet the Torah evokes not only the symbolic power of the tzit-tzit with its identity with the priesthood and nobility, but with its inclusion as part of the 613 commandments of the Torah given to all Israel, even the Hebrew peasant who wore one blue thread in a tassel on each of the four corners of his garment would elevated the wearer as part of the noble and royal race of Israel. This blue colored dye which in Hebrew was called, Tekhelet, was extracted gland of the Murex trunculus, a snail in the Mediterranean and when put under the modern spectrograph of the scientist, the visual length of the spectrum of the sapphire blue would come to exactly 613 nanometers of light. The exact details given by the Lord of hosts who sits on Throne of God over a crystalline blue platform of sapphire giving his chosen ones 613 commandment to keep and by looking at the colored blue thread which has a spectrum of 613 nanometers of light on their tzit-tzit, would remind them of the 613 commands that they were to remember and to keep is just amazing.
This fact of royal chosenness was reemphasized by the Apostle Peter to the Jews of the Dispersion and the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel who through faith in Jesus as Yeshua their Lord and Master, also accepted the Father of Yeshua as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Here the Apostle Peter writing to the “pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia” exclaimed:
1 Peter 2:9 - “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light: who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”
The Israelites were not only to recognize their nobility of birth as sons and daughters of the living God, but the dyeing of the threads of the tzit-tzit also showed that they were part of a royal priesthood, truly a holy nation. The ancients though did not have the technology perfected to dye linen so in order to have a dyed thread, it had to be dyed on wool. Yet there was also a prohibition against sha’atnez, in which the ordinary person could not wear a garment containing both wool and linen. The citizens of Israel could wear a linen garment or a woolen garment, depending on the season, but only the priest could wear a garment in which linen and wool were mixed. As we have seen the garments of the regular priests were white linen but they did wear a multi-colored belt or sash which was a mixture of linen and wool. The High Priest undergarments as we have noted were white linen but the four outer garments were richly embroidered in multiple colors not akin but richer in beauty and ornamental designs than the kings of the nations surrounding them. As a theocracy, their King was to be YHWH Elohim and the High Priest was the highest spiritual and political emissary on earth. In a way, with the command of the Lord of hosts for every Israelite to wear a tzit-tzit, or mixing woolen thread on a linen garment, they were also wearing a priestly garment.
The Prophet Zechariah was given a prophecy concerning the Time of the End, when he wrote:
Zechariah 8:22-23 - “Yes, many peoples and strong (multitudes of) nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord.’
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve (corner of the cloak) of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’”
Here we have the word ‘sleeve’, or kanaph , meaning corner, extremity or wind of a garment. This is another word for fringe or tzit-tzit on the corners of the Jewish garments.
Here we gain several meanings. In the days of Zechariah when the Jews were returning back to their homeland in the 5th to 4th centuries BCE, it was still their custom to wear fringes or tzit-tzit on their garments. At the Time of the End, it will once again be a custom for the Jew and Israelite to wear a fringe or tzit-tzit on the corners of their garments.
It also confirms that the gentile from a nation speaking one of the seventy languages on earth will at the time of the end look upon the Israelite as having a special connection with that other-dimensional power Who is realigning the nations, restoring Israel as the central axis of spiritual axis of spiritual and political power and restoring the continents of the earth to that land once called the Garden of Eden.
In the days of Yeshua, the Greek Hellenistic cultural and the Roman political power was omnipresent. During this era the Tallit as an article of clothing was designed. It was to be a ‘cover, sheet or cloak’. Designed as a prayer shawl, the four corners were placed a blue-thread fringe or tzit-tzit. An adaptation to this was the tallit katan, called the ‘small tallit’ or the arba kanfot or called the ‘four corners’. It was designed to be worn under the outer garments and in a world of persecution upon an identified Jew, it allowed them to assimilate in the regular populations yet not loose their identity as a chosen one of the Lord.
As noted, the outer cloak or mantle worn by a righteous man or Tzaddik, carried the power or divine energy that flowed through the body of the Tzaddik.
It reminds us about Jesus as he was returning from across the Sea of Galilee in the land called Gadarenes in Decapolis, where he cast the ‘Legion’ of two thousand unclean spirits out of a demented man and upon entering into the herd of swine, all of the pigs made a kamikaze dive off a cliff into the sea. As Jesus landed back on the other side of the sea, he was met by Jairus, the ruler of the local synagogue.
Mark 5:23 - “My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.”
As they traveled to the home of Jairus, we recount this scene:
Mark 5:25-30 - “Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was not better, but rather grew worse. And she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “if only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”
“Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes.”
In the tradition of the ancient Tzaddiks, upon touching the hem with the tzit-tzits or fringes on the garment of Jesus, the woman was healed. How is the power of the Almighty transferred through the body and even the garment of a righteous man?
Jesus continued and soon entered the home of Jairus in the midst of the mourners who were making ‘tumult’, weeping and wailing outside. Jesus, stating briefly:
Mark 5: 39 - “Why make this commotion and weep? this child is not dead, but sleeping.”
With the child’s father and mother plus Peter, James and John, Jesus entered the residence. The description of the event is very brief.
Mark 5:41-42 - “Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement.”
It one of the most fascinating puns in scripture, Jesus took his tallit, or prayer shawl with the fringed hem at the bottom and wrapped it around his hand. This very garment that minutes before had healed the endometrial lining of a woman who had hypermenorhea or a heavy menstrual period for twelve years, was now wrapped in the hands of Yeshua. He reached forth and the tzit-tzit of the tallit touched the two hands of the young girl who had just celebrated her bat mitzvah and he called forth, “Talit-ha” - “cumi”, “rise up”
Exodus 28: 5-6 - They shall take the gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and the fine linen, and they shall make the ephod of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, artistically worked. It shall have two shoulder straps joined at its two edges, and so it shall be joined together.”
Each string on the garment was composed of 28 threads: 6 threads of techelet
6 threads of argaman
6 threads of tola’at shani (scarlet),
6 threads of white twisted linen, and
4 threads of pure gold.
This garment worn by the Cohen Gadol was more like an apron which fitted over the blue high priest robe. In the front it extended down to his knees while on the back, it went from the waist all the way down to his ankles.
On the shoulders was a strap, one on each side that was sewn into the sash or belt. On these shoulder straps two sardonyx stones were set in golden settings. The names of the tribes of Israel, six on each side were engraved on each sardonyx stone.
Exodus 28:9-10 - “Then you shall take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel: six of their names on one stone and six names on the other stone, in order of their birth.
With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engraving of a signet, you shall engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel. You shall set them in settings of gold. And you shall put the two stones on the shoulders of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. So Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord on his two shoulders as a memorial.”
These memorial stones were also called remembrance stones because as the high priest would stand in the presence of the Lord, He would be moved to have mercy upon His people. The golden settings for the two onyx/sardonyx stones were then connected with golden chains golden hooks on the breastplate.
Exodus 28:15-21 - “You shall make the breastplate of judgment. Artistically woven according to the workmanship of the ephod you shall make it; of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, you shall make it.
It shall be doubled into a square: a span shall be its length, and a span shall be its width. And you shall put settings of stones in it, four rows of stones.
The first row shall be Sardis (ruby), a topaz (jade), and an emerald (topaz/agate);
The second row shall be a turquoise (carbuncle), a sapphire, and a diamond (quartz crystal);
The third row shall be jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst;
The fourth row, a beryl (crysolite), an onyx, and jasper (opal).
(NKJV with bracketed names by the Temple Institute)
They shall be set in gold settings. And the stones shall have the names of the sons of Israel, twelve according to their names, like the engraving s of a signet, each one with its own name; they shall be according to the twelve tribes.”
One of the challenging aspects of the Tanakh (Old Testament) is the meaning of the names of these twelve stones. The Hebrew of several is obscure and over thirty different scholarly opinions are known for these twelve stones.
According to the sages of Israel, the stones were selected because of their brightness and hardness, plus were representative of regions around the world.
According to Bamidbar Rabbah 2:7, one thing that was known is that the colors of the stone corresponded to the color of the tribal banners or ensigns.
The only eye-witness account of the breastplate, outside the Tanakh (Old Testament) is the written description of Josephus, who himself was a priest and served in his priestly duties in Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem.
Josephus, Antiquities 3:7:1 - “Twelve stones were also on the breastplate, extraordinary in largeness and beauty; and they were an ornament not to be purchased by men, because of their immense value. These stones, however, stood in three rows, by four in a row, and were inserted into the breastplate itself, and they were set in (p)ouches of gold, that were themselves inserted in the breastplate, and were so made that they might not fall out.
Now the first three stones were a sardonyx, a topaz, and an emerald. the second row contained a carbuncle, jasper, and a sapphire. The first of the third row was a ligure, than an amethyst, and the third an agate being the ninth of the whole number. The first of the fourth row was a chrysolite, the next was an onyx, and then a beryl, which was the last of all.
Now the names of all those sons of Jacob were engraved on these stones, whom we esteem the head of our tribes, each stone having the honour of a name, in the order according to which they were born…There was also a girdle sewed to the breastplate. which was of the aforementioned colours, with gold intermixed which, when it had gone once round, was tied again upon the seam, and hung down.”
In agreement with Josephus, Yonatan ben Uziel, according to an Aramaic translator of the Tanakh, the gemstones in the Breastplate were placed in their golden setting according to their birthdates. There order and color would be as such.
1. Ruby Reuben Red
2. Jade Shimon Green
3. Agate Levi Red, White and Black Striped
4. Carbuncle Judah Bluish -Green
5. Turquoise Daniel Blue
6. Amethyst Naphtali Purple
7. Agate Gad Grey
8. Aquamarine Asher Blue-Green
9. Lapis-Lazuli Issachar Blue
10. Quartz Crystal Zebulun Clear
11. Onyx Joseph Black
12. Opal Benjamin Multi-colors
According to the Midrashic description in the Bamidbar Rabbah 2:7, the color of the gemstones matched the color of the background on the tribal banners (ensigns and later flags) from each tribe in accordance with how they camped in the wilderness around the Mishkhan (Wilderness Sanctuary).
This exhaustive research by the Temple Institute includes first the order of the stones according to son of the Matriarchs: six sons by Leah, two sons by Bilhah, two sons of Zilpah and two sons of Rachel. This seems to be the conclusion of the Aramaic translation, the “Targum Yerushalmi.”.
Six Sons by Leah
1. Ruby Reuben Red
2. Jade Shimon Green
3. Agate Levi Red, White and Black Striped
4. Carbuncle Judah Bluish -Green
5. Lapis-Lazuli Issachar Blue
6. Quartz Crystal Zebulun Clear
Two Sons by Bilhah
7. Turquoise Daniel Blue
8. Amethyst Naphtali Purple
Two Sons by Zilpah
9. Agate Gad Grey
10. Aquamarine Asher Blue-Green
Two Sons by Rachel
11. Onyx Joseph Black
12. Opal Benjamin Multi-colors
A third consideration must be understood that what ever order is used, the alignment of the stones will also be in the opposite from the conventional western visual field. They will be set from the right to the left. Other rankings of order include from top to bottom or according to how they were ranked in order on how they set up camp around the Mishkhan or the Wilderness Sanctuary in the wilderness.
NKJV Temple Inst Josephus Birth-order Maternal-Banners
1. Sardius Ruby Sardonyx Ruby Ruby
2. Topaz Jade Topaz Jade Jade
3. Emerald Topaz/Agate Emerald Agate Agate
4. Turquoise Carbuncle Carbuncle Carbuncle Carbuncle
5. Sapphire Sapphire Jasper Turquoise Lapiz-Lazuli
6. Diamond Quartz Crystal Sapphire Amethyst Quartz Crystal
7. Jacinth Jacinth Ligure Agate Turquoise
8. Agate Agate Amethyst Aquamarine Amethyst
9. Amethyst Amethyst Agate Lapis-Lazuli Agate
10. Beryl Crysolite Chrysolite Quartz Aquamarine
11. Onyx Onyx Onyx Onyx Onyx
12. Jasper Opal Beryl Opal Opal
Whereas the Talmudic traditions, such as the BT Sotah 48:B, suggest that the gemstones were set in the breastplate while ‘in the fullness’ than it appears that the faceting and size of these stones appear to be uniform and equal. According to tradition, a special worm, called the shamir, was rediscovered by Solomon, saved since creation by a hoodie-bird or a woodcock. The process of engraving by the shamir included a special process of ‘splitting the gemstones open but at the same time not missing any part of the stone.
Using the Tosefta, the Emeq HaMelekh, as our guide, it strongly suggests that it was a gemstone, such as the diamond or the corundum, that was used in the building, construction and the preparation of the temple and the artifacts including the garments of the Cohen Gadol. This would include bronze tools set with cutting points of corundum or diamond, sharp pointed graver for incising and etching on stone, large bronze saw blades embedded with diamond saw bits plus straight saws, circular saws, tubular diamond drills and lathes.
Sometime one has to go to the world of legends to find the revelation of truth. The sages of the Hebrews puzzled long over the apparent difficulty of building the grandeur of the temple of Solomon without the known building tools of the iron chisel and hammer. Yet the very use of these instruments was forbidden by the Lord of hosts. In the Pesikta Rabbati 6, 28a, it was also revealed that a hidden technology for moving large stones was also known to the ancients.
Pesikta Rabbati 6, 28a - The stones moved of their own accord; they flew and rose up by themselves, setting themselves in the wall of the Temple and erecting it."
Yet Solomon puzzled on how the temple of the Lord would be built without these building instruments. The altar and the temple were to be an emblem of peace while the tools of iron had been corrupted as instruments of war, death and destruction.
According to Rabbi Judah, we have the Legend of the Shamir. Solomon learned of an amazing little worm, no bigger than the grain of barley that could cut through any stone on earth. It was better than the sharpest iron instrument known. Solomon also learned that Moses also used this ‘worm’ in order to engrave the ten commandments on the stone that Yahweh had entrusted to him. Since that day, the ‘worm’ was kept in the custody of the demon Ashmedai, the Prince of the Sea, who in turn kept it in the safe custody of the hoopoe bird (or woodcock).
In the Mishnah Avot 5:6, the Shamir was created on the sixth day of creation and was given to the hoopoe-bird (woodcock) who kept it in her custody throughout the ages in the Garden of Eden. This marvelous bird would on occasion take this worm and carry it across the earth, carrying it tightly in her beak, letting it down only to create a fissure on a desolate mountain peak so that the seeds of plants and trees could sprout and provide her food.
When the Israelites were camped near Mount Horeb/Sinai, the Lord brought the Shamir and gave it to Bezaleel to engrave the names of the twelve tribes on the twelve stones of the breastplate of the high priest, Aaron. Then the Lord gave it back to the custody of the hoopoe-bird. Here she kept it in a leaden box, with fresh barley, wrapped in a woolen cloth. That is until Solomon needed it to build the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. Since that day, the Shamir has been lost.
As with all good rabbinic Talmudic debates, there was always a dissent. Judah R. Nehemiah claimed that the stones were quarried and then brought to the temple in a finished condition for the building of the temple. It appears that Rabbi Nehemiah’s argument carried the debate as most scholars today believe this also to be true.
Of course, most Talmudic arguments were debated during the Roman imperial rule. In Latin, the Shamir was known as smiris corundum, the substance of sapphires and rubies and the hardest known gem next to the diamond. The substance of legends has a kernel of truth and now we know the ‘rest of the story’.
This story took tremendous play in the middle ages and was retold by Ellen Frankel in The Classic Tales: 4.000 Years of Jewish Lore, Publ. Jason Aronson, 1996. It is also found in English language sources: Ginsburg, Legends of the Jews I, 66-69 and the Hebrew sources in Pirkei Avot 5:6; Sifre Deut. (ed. Friedmann), 355; Midrash Tannaim 219; B. Pesahim 54a; Avot de Rabbi Natan 37, 95; Pirke de Rebbe Eliezer 19; Tosefta Sotah 15:1-Bavli 48b; Yerushalmi 9, 20d.
Maybe within the hoard of the treasures of Solomon’s temple, we will find evidence of the technological sophistication, such as diamond drills, diamond and corundum bit saws that scholars have long felt did not exist in the 11th century BCE.
The Urim V’Tummin
Exodus 28:30 - “And you shall place the Urim V’tummim in the breastplate of judgment, and they shall be over Aaron’s heart when he comes before God”
The most mysterious of all the temple services, rituals, furnishings and garments was the Urim and the Thummin, the famed oracular stones. The breastplate of judgment (Hoshen ha-mishpat) was actually made of two pieces in which a pouch or a bag was made. Within this pouch, the High Priest could look down and see the two stones, the Urim representing light, excellence, and revelation and the Thummim representing perfection, completion, and truth.
These two stones were not to be used for personal oracular purpose but were to be used for the purpose of inquiring of God to pronounce His will for the welfare of His people. Several references are made about the Urim and the Thummim, but there are no descriptions of the stones themselves.
Although most scholars consider these stones to be two jewels or gemstones, that opinion is not universal. As we shall see later, some of the most notable sages of Judaism felt that the Urim and the Thummim were the stones of the breastplate of judgment.
Deuteronomy 33:8 - Blessings of Moses on the tribe of Levi: “ And of Levi he said: Let your Thummim and your Urim be with your holy one, whom you tested at Masah (tempted) and with whom you contended at the water of Meribah (contention).
(Exodus 17:7 - When the tribes murmured for water and Moses in anger hit the Rock at Horeb to get water for the Israelites.)
1 Samuel 14:41 - “Therefore Saul said to the Lord God of Israel, “Give a perfect lot.” So Saul and Jonathan were taken but the people escaped.”
According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, this text was retranslated by Wellhausen and Driver used the latest translations of the Septuagint, “and Saul said: Lord, God of Israel, why hast thou not answered thy servant this day? If this iniquity be in me or in Jonathan my son, Lord God of Israel, give Urim; but if it be in thy people Israel, give Thummim. Then Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot; and the people escaped.” (Driver, “Notes on the Hebrew text of the Books of Samuel. pg. 89. Oxford, 1890)
It was a fateful day, when David, recently released from the services of the Philistine ruler, Achish, king of Gath, when the Philistines were going to make war with Saul and the Israelites. Returning to his mountain fortress at Ziglag, David and his 600 Cherithite mercenaries found that the Amalekites not only had raided their homes, burned them to the ground, but had taken their women and children hostage. David, the anointed of the Lord by Samuel, immediately summoned the High Priest of Israel, Abiathar, to bring the ephod with him the Urim and the Thummim.
I Samuel 30:7-8 - “Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, “Please bring the ephod here to me.” And Abiathar brought the ephod to David. So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?” And He (the Lord) answered him “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.”
When a decision was inquired of the Lord of hosts and the High Priest was summoned to seek that decision, the High Priest would usually stand before the Menorah in the Holy Place holding the Urim in one hand and the Thummim in the other. A flash of light would emit from the Great Lamp stand and would reflect off both the Urim and the Thummim and then radiate to one of the twelve stones on the Breastplate.
With the two reflecting or transmitting stones, the Urim and the Thummim and twelve receiving stones, the gemstones on the breastplate, there were in essence 24 combinations of answers; 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet and a ‘yes’or a ‘no’ answer. The High Priest with the inquirer of the Lord facing him could read the answer from the Lord as any conceivable arrangement of words from the Hebrew alphabet could be spelled out.
This was not the first time David had inquired of the Lord through His priest, Abiathar. Saul was seeking David’s life, and after he had saved the citizens of the town of Keilah from the guerrilla assaults by the Philistines, he stayed a few days in the town. David anticipated that Saul would receive word of his deliverance of the city and send troops to try to capture him. Abiathar the priest, who had now proclaimed his loyalty to David was seeking refuge also in Keilah. It was here that David sought an oracle of the Lord from the ephod.
1 Samuel 23:9-11 - When David knew that Saul plotted evil against him he said to Abiathar the priest. “Bring the ephod here.” Then David said, “O Lord God of Israel, Your servant has certainly heard that Saul seek to come to Keilah to destroy the city for my sake. Will the men of Keilah deliver me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as Your servant has heard? O Lord God of Israel, I pray, tell Your servant.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.”
As David stood facing Abiathar, the High Priest clothed in his golden raiment, reached into his ephod and pulled out the Urim and the Thummim. With his arms outstretched, a Divine Light radiated from either the Urim or the Thummim and sent a blot of light to the Breastplate. The letter Yod in Judah’s name on the blue-green carbuncle gemstone lit up, then the letter Resh in Reuben’s name on the red ruby gemstone lit up and then the Dalet in Daniel’s name on the blue turquoise gemstone lit up. The answer from the Lord of hosts was: Yered, yrd, or “He will pursue.”
At the inauguration of Joshua to be the leader to follow in the steps of Moses, special instructions were given to him. Moses was the only Tzaddik, or righteous man, since the exile in Egypt that could speak directly with the Lord of hosts. So HaShem (God) gave specific instruction on how Joshua would be able to communicate with Him.
Numbers 27:21 - “He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the Lord for him by the judgment of the Urim; at his (Eleazar’s) word they shall go out, and at his (Eleazar’s) word they shall come in, he (Joshua) and all the children of Israel with him - - all the congregation.”
Here was theocracy in action. It was not in a democratic vote, but by inquiring of the word of the Lord through his servant, the High Priest. Yet three hundred years later when King Saul, rejected the word of the Lord of hosts and refused to kill Agag, the king of the Amalekites and all the women, children, the oxen and the cattle and destroy all of their possessions, the Lord withdrew away from the king of Israel. When Saul sought advice from the Lord, there was a deathly silence.
I Samuel 28:6 - “And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets.”
Urim and the Thummim.
An inquiry or decision could be made to the oracle only by a king, the head of the Sanhedrin, or a prominent leader or military general in the country. (Yoma 7, end, 73a; ‘one appointed for war”, Targum pseudo-Jonathan to Ex. 28:30: “in case of need”)
The breastplate could be consulted to predict in advance or to proclaim victory in battle. (Targum pseudo Jonathan to Ex. 27)
The high priest who permitted the oracle in the ephod to be questioned must be “one upon whom the Shekinah rested.” (Yoma 73b)
The answer to an inquiry of the Lord would be given by letters on the names of the tribes that were engraved on the breastplate of the high priest. (Yoma 73a,b; Yer. Yoma 44c; Sifre, Numbers. 141)
The revelation of the oracles were revealed through rays of light because the Shekinah Glory was a transmission of the Energy of the Divine and revealed in the frequencies of the photons. (Yoma 73a)
The division of the land of Israel by Joshua was accomplished by the Urim and the Thummim. The high priest, ‘filled with the Holy Spirit” would proclaim the division of the land and to which tribe it belonged. Then the tribes bid upon their portion of the land by lots. These lots were drawn from two urns, one with the name of the tribe and one with the name of the territory in which they were to possess. Finally these lots were to harmonize with the proclamation made by the high priest in consultation with the Urim and the Thummim. (B.B. 122a; Sanhedrin 16a; comp. Yer. Yoma 41b)
To extend the boundaries of the Holy City (Jerusalem) or to enlarge the courts of the temple, orders from the king, the prophet or from the Lord through the Urim and the Thummim were necessary. (Sheb.2,3,16a; Yer. Sheb. 33d,
The Urim and the Thummim ceased to exist with the destruction of the Temple of Solomon and were among the five things lacking in the Second Temple of Zerubbabel. (Sotel ix. 10 , Yoma 21b; Yer Kid. 65b)
The priestly garments consisted of three different sashes or belt that were worn.
The High Priest Daily Sash - Multi-Colored: As part of the daily ‘golden garments’ the high priest wore was an embroidered sash.
Exodus 39:29 - “And a sash of fine woven linen with blue, purple, and scarlet thread, made by a weaver, as the Lord had commanded Moses.”
Leviticus 16:4-5 - “Thus Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering. He shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body; he shall be girded with a linen sash, and with the linen turban he shall be attired. These are holy garments. Therefore he shall wash his body in water and put them on.
The Priestly Sash - White Linen
There is dissenting opinion on the priestly sash. Some suggest it is of white linen while other scholars suggest it replicated the sash of multi-colors that the high priest wears on a daily basis.
Exodus 28:36 - “And you shall make a crown of pure gold, and engrave on it in the manner of a signet ring: ‘Holy to the Lord’”
This crown or headband was constructed with one piece of gold in which was engraved the simple message, ‘Holy to the Lord’. One eyewitness account on this crown was the testimony of Rabbi Eliezer the son of Rabbi Yose (BT Sukkah 5) who saw the crown of the high priest in Rome where it plus many of the sacred vessels had been taken after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 BC. As his testimony, “Rabbi Eliezer said: I saw the crown in Rome, and the words; ‘Holy to the L-rd’ were written in one line.
Exodus 28:37 - “And you shall put it (crown of pure gold) on a blue cord, that it may be on the turban; it shall be on the form of the turban. So it shall be on Aaron’s forehead that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on the forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord.”
The engraving on the crown according to the BT Gittin 20 in the Talmud, was an engraving process done in bold relief in which the letter were raised and not excavated into the gold itself. According to Maimonides in the Laws of the Temple Vessels, Ch. 9) he writes, “they would pound out the letters in a form until their shapes were formed on the other side.”
Here sky-blue thread was woven through holes through the side in the upper front in order to tie it to his head. Therefore the Cohen Gadol, had a band of gold around his forehead and above his ears. There was then a small space of skin and hair and then the turban was placed over the head. Between the mitre and the golden crown, phylacteries with prayer verses could be placed on the head.
for the Priest and High Priest are Hidden
These are the vessels dedicated and concealed when the Temple was destroyed: The Tabernacle and the Curtain, the Holy Menorah, the Ark of Testimony, the golden forehead Nameplate, the golden crown of Aharon the Cohen, the Breastplate of Judgment, the silver Trumpets, the Cherubim, and the Altar of burnt offerings, the Curtain of the Communion Tent, the forks and the bread molds, the Table [of the Showbread], the Curtain of the Gate, the Copper Altar, the sacred garments of Aharon which were worn by the Cohen Haggadic (High Priest) on the Day of Atonement, Pa'amonim (bells) and Ramona (pomegranates) on the hem of the robe [of the Cohen Gadol], the holy vessels that Moses made on Mount Sinai by the command of the Holy One, the Staff, and the Jar of the Manna.
There were 7 golden Curtains that contained 12,000 talents of gold. There were 12,000 garments of the Levites with their belts, and the Ephod (vest) and Meil (robe) of the Cohen Gadol which he wore when he performed the Temple service. In addition, there were 70,000 (70) garments worn by the Cohanim, with their belts, their turbans, and their pants. David made all of these for them to atone for Israel. And the fittest [men] of Israel took them secretly, as they had been instructed. All this service-gear was [concealed] until the future to atone for Israel [in the end of days].
Here we now can write the rest of the story. Hidden from the reaches of the Babylonian military forces, the entire garments to conduct the entire sacrificial services of the temple of the Lord were taken. Even so they are hidden in two separate locations waiting for the coming of the messiah (Moschiach) when they will be needed to atone for the return of not only the House of Judah but also the House of Israel.
Here is the inventory of the priestly garments and where they will be found:
The garments of the Priests and the Levites
Linen Tunic - Mishnah 8
Linen Turbans - Mishnah 8
Linen Belts - Mishnah 8
Linen Pants or Breeches - Mishnah 8
The garments of the High Priest (Cohen Gadol)
The White Garments to be used on the Day of Atonement - Mishnah 1
The Golden Garments of the High Priest
The Meil or Blue Tunic Mishnah 8
The Ephod Mishnah 8
The Breastplate of Judgment Mishnah 1
The Urim and the Thummim Mishnah 8 (implied - Ephod)
The Remembrance Stones Mishnah 8 (implied - Ephod)
The Belt and Sash Mishnah 8 (implied - Ephod)
The Mitre - the Golden Crown Mishnah 1
The Golden Forehead Nameplate Mishnah 1
Monetary Conversion Table
Talent- In the Hebrew system of measurement we have the following: The talent, mina, shekel, Öpim, beka, and gerah.
Talent - 3000 shekels 75.600 pounds.
Mina - 50 shekels (60 Babylonian) 1.260 pounds.
Shekel (‘to weigh’) 0.403 ounces
Öpim, beka and gerah.
12 English tons = 2000 pounds
1.00 pound = 12 troy ounces
Bible Searchers Sites
The Oracles of Zechariah by Robert D. Mock MD
Jeremiah and the Five Guardians of Solomon’s Temple Treasures by Robert D. Mock MD
Vendyl Jones Research Institute Sites
Vendyl Jones Research Institute Home Page
Emeq HaMelekh by the Vendyl Jones Research Institute
The Copper Scroll and the Excavations at Qumron by Vendyl Jones
Dead Sea Scroll Deception Part One by Vendyl Jones
Dead Sea Scroll Deception Part Two by Vendyl Jones
Dead Sea Scroll Deception Part Three by Vendyl Jones
The Ark of the Covenant by Vendyl Jones
A Door of Hope by the Vendyl Jones Research Institute
Ashes for Beauty--The Mysterious Ashes of the Red Heifer by Jim Long
The Gate Between Two Walls, by Vendyl Jones
Vendyl Jones and the Ark of the Covenant by Gerard Robins
Temple Mount Sites
The Temple Institute on recreation the Furnishing for the New Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple Mount in Jerusalem by the Temple Mount Organization
The Gihon Springs Temple Site by Ernest Martin
Emeq HaMelekh Sites
Emeq HaMelekh by Robert D. Mock MD
Emeq HaMelekh by the Vendyl Jones Research Institute
The Temple and the Copper Scrolls by the Order of the Nazorean Essenes
The Treasures in the House of the Lord by Lambert Dolphin
The Tallit and Tzit-Tzit
What did it mean to wear fringes in ancient cultures by Rosemarie Falanga and Cy Silver.
High Priests from Mount Sinai to the Destruction of Herod’s Temple
High Priests from Aaron to Uzzi (1-6) by the Jewish Encyclopedia
High Priests from Eli to Abiathar (King David’s rule) (7-11) by the Jewish Encyclopedia
High Priests from Zadok ( (King Solomon’s rule) to the Exile (12-30) by the Jewish Encyclopedia
High Priests from Return from Babylon to Herod the Great (31-56) by the Jewish Encyclopedia
High Priests from Herod the Great to the Destruction of Herod’s Temple (56-82) by the Jewish Encyclopedia
Garments of the Priests and the High Priest (Cohen Gadol)
Temple Institute -The Priestly Garments by the Temple Institute
The High Priests Garment by Parashat Tetzaveh
The High Priest by the Jewish Encyclopedia
Garments of the High Priest by Parashat Tetzaveh/Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetsky
The High Priest’s Breastplate by Studies by Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
The Garments of the High Priest
Ephod, Breastplate and Robe by The Chassidic Dimension
The Priestly Garments by Maimonides Halachah Overview
The Priestly Robe by Legends of the Jews
The High Priest and his garments by Martyn Barrow
The Breastplate of the High Priest by Harold Meij H.P.
The Human Form of King Solomon’s Temple by Temple Mount/Badillo
King Solomon’s Astonishing Temple Secrets by Tony Badillo
Our High Priest by McDonald Road SDA Church
The Significance of Symbolism in Dance Garment Design by Patti Amsden
The Ephod by the Catholic Encyclopedia
The Urim and Thummim by the Jewish Encyclopedia
Head-Dress by the Jewish Encyclopedia
Torah - Holy Garments of the High Priest by Jewish Bulletin
Mishnah - Garment Regulations of the Priests by Sacred Texts
The Priestly Garments by Carl Schulz
High Priest, Rope around his ankle by Christian Answers
Message from BibleSearchers
BibleSearchers scans the world for information that has relevance on the time of the end. It is our prayer that this will allow the believers in the Almighty One of Israel to “watch and be ready”. Our readiness has nothing to do trying to halt the progression of evil on our planet earth. In our readiness, we seek to be prepared for the coming of the Messiah of Israel so that goodness and evil will be manifested in its fullest. Our preparation is a pathway of spiritual readiness for a world of peace. Our defender is the Lord of hosts. The time of the end suggests that the Eternal One of Israel’s intent is to close out this chapter of earth’s history so that the perpetrators of evil, those that seek power, greed and control, will be eliminated from this planet earth. The wars of the heavens are being played out on this planet earth and humans will live through it to testify of the might, power, justice and the love of the God of Israel. In a world of corruption and disinformation, we cannot always know what the historical truth is and who is promoting evil or mis-information. We cannot guarantee our sources but we will always seek to portray trends that can be validated in the Torah and the testimony of the prophets of the Old and the New Testament.
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This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
Ghost Walk (Sing, Dance, Gather) with us (where you are) each New Moon.
From the darkness we arise a heavenly child.
(solar and lunar calender align, January 1, 2014, a cycle of renewal)
Rainbow Warriors of Prophecy
Pray With Elders around the World
http://weblessyou.blogspot.com/2013/09/prayer-date-09142013-yom-kippur-day-of.html (part one)
labels: Kohen Gadol, high priest, Parshat Tetzaveh, Yom Kippur, Twin Deer Mother
Sacred Song Blessings, gift all a good song, because you are perfect in all that does song. Our hearts reach into heaven, and we flood, with a sound, the music of Angels, that gift us pure sound. I want you to know, that you are part of God, the echo, that lingers till light hits the "Dawn". And we are the magic, that children who know, the heart always has pureness, like the blessed snow!