Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

The eight vestments of the Kohen Gadol serve as atonement.

כתונת – שפיכות דמים
מכנסיים – גילוי עריות
מצנפת -גסי הרוח
אבנט – הרהור הלב
חושן – דינין
אפוד – עבודת כוכבים
מעיל – לשון הרע
ציץ – עזות פנים


The list is interesting, as it includes the 3 cardinal sins, as well as law-related sins, Lashon Hara, thoughts of the heart, and the traits of haughtiness and brazenness.

Rabbi Chanina teaches that the Mitznefet (mitre, or priestly turban) is placed at an elevation, shall come to atone for an elevated heart (Zvachim 88b).

Maharsh”a explains that covering one’s head brings one to fear of heaven.

He cites the story of the astrologists who informed the mother of Rav Nachnan bar Yitzchak that her son is a thief. From that point onward she insisted that little Nachman always cover his head to promote Yir’at Shamayim, and she davened for his spiritual strength.

Nachman bar Yitzchak never understood why, until one day his cloak fell of of his head. He saw a palm tree, climbed up and detached a bunch of dates with his teeth. Apparently he had a strong yetzer hara, that his mother was able to shrewdly temper.

Haughtiness, “Ga’ava”, and Yir’at Shamayim are antithetical. We should utilize whatever means we have to remain humble and God-fearing.

Shabbat Shalom


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Rav Korn is a senior Rabbi at Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh