The Sound of Silence

September 30, 2014 at 12:20 AM ,

“….He shall wear a holy linen shirt and linen pants shall be upon his flesh, and he shall grid himself with a linen sash and wear a linen cap…..” (Yom Kippur Torah reading, Vayikra 16:4)

״….כתנת בד קדש ילבש ומכנסי בד יהיו על בשרו ובאבנט בד יחגור ובמצנפת בד יצנוף…..״ – קריאת התורה ליום הכיפורים, ויקרא טז,ד

This tells us that the Kohen Gadol does not serve inside the Kodesh Hakadashim, the Holy of Holies, wearing the eight garments with which he performs the service outside (see Shemos Chapter 28). Instead, he wears four garments, like an ordinary kohen, all of which are made of linen. —Rashi

On all but one day of the year, bells that hung from the hem of the Kohen Gadol’s robe would chime as he went about his service in the Temple. According to the verse in Shemos 28:35, this noise was so significant that the Kohen Gadol’s very life depended on it – ‘Its sound shall be heard when he enters the Holy… so that he shall not die’. Yet, no such bells were attached to the special garments of plain white linen that the Kohen Gadol wore when entering the Kodesh Hakadashim on Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur

The bells on the fringes of the Kohen Gadol’s robe symbolize that the Kohen Gadol represented all elements of the Jewish community. The righteous might be better represented by silence, denoting humility and a sense of nonexistence before G-d, but those who feel distant and estranged from G-d are best represented by noise. The penitent’s surge toward G-d is not a silent and still absorption in G-d’s perfect Oneness, but a rushing and roaring return from a life devoid and distant from G-dliness and holiness. Like a drowning man facing the horror of imminent death, the “distant” Jew kicks and screams trying to escape his current state of detachment from G-d – the Source of life. Noisy bells therefore represent this Jew who feels distant.

This is true of every day but Yom Kippur. On the holy Day of Atonement, the Jewish people are compared to angels, for a core and unbreakable bond with G-d is revealed within every single Jew on this day. On Yom Kippur, even the Jews on the fringe feel attached and stand close and near to G-d. Without exception, on this day the entire Jewish community has representation in the Holy of Holies in perfect silence.

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— Likutei Sichos vol. 16, pp. 338-339






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