March 2, 2023 / 9 Adar, 5783 • Parshat Tetzaveh
Issue 759
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

You shall make sacred vestments for your brother Aaron, for dignity and splendor. 

Exodus 28:2

“Dignity” (כבוד) refers to the esteem a person inspires in others. "Splendor” (תפארת) denotes beauty resulting from a harmonious blend of contrasting colors or features. Such harmony can only be achieved if there is a higher organizing principle at work, which blends the components into a whole rather than leaving them a chaotic jumble of clashing hues.

Thus, “dignity” describes G-d’s finite revelations to us, which He adjusts according to our ability to accept and appreciate Divine consciousness. “Splendor,” in contrast, describes G-d’s infinite revelations, through which He overwhelms us with experiences beyond our ability to process.

The merging of “dignity” and “splendor” in the high priest’s garments is the manifestation of G-d’s supra-infinity--His ability to express Himself in both infinite and finite terms--in a way that our limited perception can appreciate.

The fact that the high priest’s garments are designed in order to channel these types of Divine revelation teaches us that--as members of the “kingdom of priests and a holy nation”--we are all blessed with the ability to receive G-d’s finitude, infinity, and supra-infinity, and have the ability to teach others how to achieve these types of Divine consciousness, as well.

—from Daily Wisdom 3