As we enter the final hours of the day before Yom Kippur, archaelogist Eli Shukrun posted news on Facebook of a unique, tiny power-packed find in Jerusalem five years ago to remind the Jewish People of our ancient heritage and the future still to come.
A golden bell that belonged on the garment of the Kohen Gadol who served in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem was discovered in an excavation near the Western Wall.
Shukrun, who notes the find is of tremendous significance to the Jewish world, returned to the area to demonstrate once more with an expert audiologist, as she put it, the “only archaeological discovery that was ever in the Holy of Holies.”
In 2011, archaeologists in the City of David uncovered the little golden bell with a small buttonhole.
At that time, Shukrun and fellow archaeologist Ronny Reich announced, “It appears the bell was sewn on the garment of a man of high standing in Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple period (1 CE).”
It appeared to be possible the bell could have fallen from the hem of the garment of the High Priest who served in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem.
The archaeologists took the little bell for analysis, and were able to recreate the sound it made two millennia ago.
That is when all 72 were sewn on to the beautiful blue tunic, the me’il techelet, of the Kohen Gadol, together with the lovely woven pomegranates along the hem of the garment worn by the High Priest when he entered the Holy of Holies in the Temple just one day in the year – on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement of the Jewish People.
“And you shall make the robe of the ephod completely of blue wool. Its opening at the top shall be turned inward; its opening shall have a border around it, the work of a weaver. It shall have [an opening] like the opening of a coat of armor; it shall not be torn. And on its bottom hem you shall make pomegranates of blue, purple, and crimson wool, on its bottom hem all around, and golden bells in their midst all around. A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, on the bottom hem of the robe, all around. It shall be on Aharon when he performs the service, and its sound shall be heard when he enters the Holy before HaShem and when he leaves, so that he will not die.” Exodus 28:31-35
On Tuesday at sundown, the Land of Israel and the State of Israel will come to a complete halt as Yom Kippur, the most sacred day in the Hebrew calendar begins.
Each member of the House of Israel enters his or her own personal Holy of Holies to make a “heshbon nefesh,” a personal inventory to atone for the sins committed against God during the past year, abstaining from all food and drink, intimate relations and the wearing of cosmetics, perfumes, or leather for 26 hours. This is done to underscore the gravity of the day.
May all in the House of Israel be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life for a sweet, healthy, and prosperous year, materially and spiritually.Hana Levi Julian