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Geshmack Dvar Torah of the Week: Inherent Similarities

Friday, 26 February 2010

Inherent Similarities

This week's Parsha begins by detailing the garments that the Kohen Gadol would wear when serving in the the Beis HaMikdash.

וְיִרְכְּסוּ אֶת הַחֹשֶׁן מִטַּבְּעֹתָיו אֶל טַבְּעֹת הָאֵפֹד בִּפְתִיל תְּכֵלֶת לִהְיוֹת עַל חֵשֶׁב הָאֵפוֹד וְלֹא יִזַּח הַחֹשֶׁן מֵעַל הָאֵפוֹד
- And they shall fasten the breastplate by its rings to the rings of the apron with a blue cord, so that it may be upon the band of the apron, and the breastplate will not move off the apron. (28:28)

Why is the Torah particular that there should be no separation between the choshen and the eiphod?

There is a Gemara in Erchin 16a that explains how each of the garments that the Kohen Gadol wore would atone for a different sin. The eiphod atoned for idol worship, while the breast-place atoned for dishonesty in monetary matters (judicial and business).

R' Moshe Feinstein (biography here) answers our question with a very sharp piece of mussar. He explains that someone who worships idols does not believe that Hashem controls the world. This is obvious. But he adds something surprising - that someone who is prepared to distort monetary matters is guilty of the same crime! How is this so? Distortion and dishonesty regarding monetary matters shows that a person thinks that he has the ability to add to a person's wealth, and more than that, he truly believes no-one knows, or otherwise he would never do such a thing. He thinks that through his illegitimate behaviour he can control financial affairs, but what he fails to realise is that this is not in his power. Only Hashem can influence and control the financial status of a person.

R' Moshe Feinstein explains that the root of both sins is the same - a belief that Hashem lacks control over the world. Therefore, since they are inherently similar, the Torah specifies that they are inseperable.

Courtesy of R' Kirsch from the JLE - thanks!

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