Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Acharei Kedoshim I

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This week’s Parshah, Acharei-Kedoshim, begins by describing the service of the High Priest on Yom Kippur in great detail. The Torah tells us which priestly vestments the Kohen Gadol had to wear while performing this service. The Torah says,[1] “He shall wear a holy linen shirt. Linen pants shall be upon his flesh. He shall gird himself with a linen sash and wear a linen cap. These are holy garments …”

Rashi cites the words “a linen shirt” and explains that, “This tells us that he (the Kohen Gadol) does not perform the service inside (in the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur) wearing the eight garments with which he performs the service outside (the Holy of Holies) because those (garments) contain gold. A prosecutor cannot become a defender[2]. Instead, he wears four garments like an ordinary Kohen, all of which are linen.”

Rashi’s comments provide us with a vital lesson in our service of Hashem. At times a Jew strives to reach a higher level. He would also like to bring those around him to this level. The first step is to go “inside” the Holy of Holies. He must “enter,” serve with the most profound parts of his soul. It is only with this strength that he will be able to affect another Jew.

How can he enter with the depth of his soul? He must first take off his own “honor and glory[3],” his golden clothing. One cannot reach the depths, the innermost intention of Hashem, as long as he is involved with his own “honor and glory.” Only when he feels like an ordinary Kohen, with simple, white linen clothing rather than vestments of gold, can he accomplish his goal. It is only then that the pure simplicity of G-d and his soul shine[4].

In this manner, he accomplishes atonement and purity, not for himself alone. As the Torah says,[5] “…he shall bring atonement upon himself, his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.

I wish one and all a good Shabbos and a healthy summer!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 22, Page 89

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris

חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. Our Parshah, Vayikroh 16:4.

[2]. The Kohen Gadol enters the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur to atone for all the Jews. Therefore, he may not enter wearing gold, which is reminiscent of the sin of the golden calf.

[3]. Parshas Tetzaveh, Shemos 28:2.

[4]. See Likkutei Torah, Vayikroh beginning with page 28 at the end of side 2. See also Atteres Rosh at length, in the section dealing with Yom Kippur beginning with Chapter 5.

[5]. Our Parshah, Vayikroh 16:17.

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