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The Greatness Of Modesty

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Modesty, both in conduct to people and in dress and speech has always been a deeply praised virtue — especially for Jewish women. In Yerushalayim there once lived a woman named Kimchis, who symbolized this virtue and was blessed for it.

Kimchis had seven sons, each of whom was privileged to serve as Kohen Gadol.

On the eve of Yom Kippur, when the eldest son was in the Bais HaMikdash practicing the important and complicated ritual a message arrived for him.

It said: “An Arab king has arrived in the city and desires to meet the Kohen Gadol.

Leaving the service for a moment, the Kohen went to meet the king. As they were speaking, however, the king was forced to spit and some of his saliva tarnished the Kohen Gadol’s clothes, making him impure for the holy Yom Kippur services.

The second-to-the eldest brother was next in line and by a strange coincidence, no sooner did he begin to reign as the Kohen Gadol, than he, too, became impure. The same thing occurred to all seven of Kimchis’ sons. Each one had an opportunity to serve as the Kohen Gadol for a brief time and then he was forced to relinquish it to the next brother.

Chazal pondered the amazing coincidence: “What is the virtue of Kimchis which gives her the great honor of having all seven of her sons serving as Kohen Gadol?”

Calling the mother before them they asked her if she knew and she replied:

“I have no particular virtues. I only try to be humble and modest both to G-d and man.”

Chazal declared: “All kimchaya (flour) is kemach (flour), but Kemach D’Kimchis (the flour of Kimchis) is soles (the purest flour of all).”

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