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  • Jodi Samuels

With Bells On

In this weeks Torah portion Tetzaveh we learn in detail about the High Priest’s - the Kohen Gadol’s - clothing.

I recently heard an interesting idea: In Jewish life, there are two things that wear bells: Daisy the cow and the High Priest. The Torah describes many bells sewn around the base of one of the High Priest's garments (Exodus 28:33).

This reason for the bells is actually quite simple, related to honor. Our Sages tell us "He who chases honor will have honor flee from him." In other words, the more we demand respect, the less we get it. Simply by wearing bells the High Priest always alerts people of his presence. Instead of demanding silence and respect or expecting people to chase him the High Priest announces his presence: the opposite of actively pursuing glory.

Similarly, consider the fact that no person has been honored for what he has received, only for what he has given then it is fitting that the High Priest does not “chase honor."

Let’s go into Shabbat focusing on what we can do for the world instead of what the world can do for us!


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