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A Mother of High Priests

A Mother of High Priests

Kimchit & her seven sons


Kimchit had seven sons, and all of them merited to serve in the position of high priest (at least for one day) during her lifetime.

The rabbis asked her, “How were you so fortunate to merit this? Was there a special act that you did?”

She replied, “Ever since I married, the walls of my home have not seen my hair.”

(Jewish law requires married women to cover their hair. Kimchit was so meticulous in her observance of this law that even inside her own home, her hair was covered.)

The rabbis responded, “Other women have acted similarly, and yet none have merited what you have.”1

The rabbis questioned Kimchit directly, rather than her husband, because they understood that it was solely due to her merit that she had such special sons.2

But why, then, did they question her response?

Kimchit was a completely unassuming person in every aspect of her life, including in her mode of dress. Her modesty was so inborn that she didn’t even recognize her virtue. In her own humility, the only merit she could point out about herself was the manner in which she covered her hair.

Through their statement, the rabbis were teaching us an essential life lesson. Modesty of dress is important. But modesty of being—a modesty that permeates one’s very psyche and character—is the real goal.3

Talmud, Yoma 47a.
Commentary of Maharsha loc. cit.
Shiurim b’Agadot Chazal loc. cit.
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