Fasten Your Avnet – Parashat Tetzaveh

February 17, 2016 at 1:31 AM , , ,

“…And you shall make a sash of embroidery work…” – Shemos 28:39

וְאַבְנֵט תַּעֲשֶׂה מַעֲשֵׂה רֹקֵם – שמות כח, לט

In a splendid manner, the vestments of the Kohanim each garb a specific part of the body. Even the Kohen Gadol’s additional garments each serve a defined purpose: wearing the Tzitz brought atonement for Bnei Yisrael, the breastplate is made of twelve stones corresponding to the Twelve Tribes, and so on. The Avnet, the sash worn by all the Kohanim, is the exception, as it seemed to not serve any specific purpose. The other garments did not require a belt to hold them in place, and even those for which a belt might be useful certainly did not need a belt that was thirty-two cubits long, requiring the Kohen to wrap it around himself numerous times in order for it to be wearable (see Rambam, Klei Hamikdash 8:19)!

The spiritual theme of the Avnet is thus not a particular mode of Divine service associated with the specific limb upon which it is worn (as are the other garments,) but a general readiness to serve before G-d. We similarly find regarding prayer, the Talmud (Shabbos 10a) states that wearing a belt for prayer is a means of fulfilling the directive of Amos (4:12), “prepare yourself to greet your G-d, O Israel.” Girding your body signifies that all the necessary arrangements have been made, and that you are now mentally readying yourself to stand and serve before the King of all kings.

the vestments of the Kohanim
Wrapping the Avnet is thus uniquely representative of the general humility and submission to G-d with which the Kohanim served in the Mishkan. This is not as evident in the other vestments of the Kohanim, which each serve a distinct purpose and correspond to a particular aspect of the worship and worshipper.

This explains why the Avnet was so long, requiring it to be wrapped repeatedly. This symbolized complete and absolute dedication to G-d, such that the Kohen did not merely gird himself once, but again and again until his sense of humble devotion to G-d was perfect and complete.

—Likutei Sichos vol. 36, pp. 155-159


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