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ב"ה

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Klei Hamikdash - Chapter 9

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Klei Hamikdash - Chapter 9

1

How is the forehead plate made? We make a plate of gold two fingerbreadths1 wide that extends [over the forehead of the High Priest] from one ear to the other. Upon it is written, קדש לה'ה2 in two lines, קדש on the lower line and לה'ה on the upper line.3 If [the words] were written on one line it was valid. There were times when they were written on one line.4

א

כֵּיצַד מַעֲשֵׂה הַצִּיץ. עוֹשֶׂה טַס שֶׁל זָהָב רֹחַב שְׁתֵּי אֶצְבָּעוֹת וּמַקִּיף מֵאֹזֶן לְאֹזֶן וְכוֹתֵב עָלָיו שֵׁנִי שִׁיטִין קֹדֶשׁ לַה' קֹדֶשׁ מִלְּמַטָּה לַה' מִלְמַעְלָה. וְאִם כְּתָבוֹ בְּשִׁיטָה אַחַת כָּשֵׁר. וּפְעָמִים כְּתָבוּהוּ בְּשִׁיטָה אַחַת:

2

The letters would project outward. How was this done? [A craftsman] would engrave the letters on the back of the plate5 while it was pressed to beeswax6 until they project.

It had holes on each of its ends. There was a strand of sky-blue wool below it that ran from hole to hole so that it could be tied with this strand at the nape [of the neck].7

ב

וְהָאוֹתִיּוֹת בּוֹלְטוֹת בְּפָנָיו. [כֵּיצַד]. חוֹפֵר אֶת הָאוֹתִיּוֹת מֵאַחֲרָיו וְהוּא מְדֻבָּק עַל הַשַּׁעֲוָה עַד שֶׁבּוֹלֵט. וְהוּא נָקוּב בִּשְׁתֵּי קְצוֹתָיו. וּפְתִיל תְּכֵלֶת לְמַטָּה מִמֶּנּוּ נִכְנָס מִנֶּקֶב לְנֶקֶב כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה נִקְשָׁר בִּפְתִיל כְּנֶגֶד הָעֹרֶף:

3

The cloak was made entirely of sky-blue colored wool.8 Its strands were twelve-fold. Its opening was woven, and that is where its weave began.9 It did not have an opening for his arms.10 Instead, it was divided into two flaps from below the throat and downward like all cloaks.11 It is joined only directly below the throat.

One who tears the border of the opening of the cloak is liable for lashes, as [Exodus 28:32] states: "It shall not be torn."12 This applies to all the priestly garments. One who tears them with a destructive intent is liable for lashes.13

ג

הַמְּעִיל כֻּלּוֹ תְּכֵלֶת. וְחוּטָיו כְּפוּלִין שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר וּפִיו אָרוּג בִּתְחִלַּת אֲרִיגָתוֹ. וְאֵין לוֹ בֵּית יָד אֶלָּא נֶחְלָק לִשְׁתֵּי כְּנָפַיִם מִסּוֹף הַגָּרוֹן עַד לְמַטָּה כְּדֶרֶךְ כָּל הַמְּעִילִים וְאֵינוֹ מְחֻבָּר אֶלָּא כְּנֶגֶד כָּל הַגָּרוֹן בִּלְבַד. וְהַקּוֹרֵעַ פִּי הַמְּעִיל לוֹקֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כח לב) (שמות לט כג) "לֹא יִקָּרֵעַ". וְהוּא הַדִּין לְכָל בִּגְדֵי כְּהֻנָּה שֶׁהַקּוֹרְעָן דֶּרֶךְ הַשְׁחָתָה לוֹקֶה:

4

He should then bring sky-blue wool, red wool, and scarlet wool, the strands of each of these spun eight-fold. [This is necessary,] because [Exodus 39:24] states that [the pomegrantes on the cloak's] hem [should be made from strands that are] "twisted."14Thus there are twenty four threads used for the hem of the cloak.15 They should be fashioned into shapes resembling pomegranates whose mouths are not open16and hung from the cloak. He brings 72 cups with 72 clappers that are made entirely of gold and suspends them from the hems, 36 from the hem of one flap and 36 from the hem of the other flap.17 The cup with the clapper hanging in it are together called a bell. From the hems on both sides of [the flaps of the cloak are suspended series of] bells and pomegranates, bells and pomegranates.

ד

וּמֵבִיא תְּכֵלֶת וְאַרְגָּמָן וְתוֹלַעַת שָׁנִי כָּל מִין מִשְּׁלָשְׁתָּן שָׁזוּר שְׁמוֹנָה לְפִי שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בְּשׁוּלָיו (שמות לט כד) "מָשְׁזָר". נִמְצְאוּ חוּטֵי הַשּׁוּלַיִם אַרְבָּעָה וְעֶשְׂרִים. וְעוֹשֶׂה אוֹתָן כְּמִין רִמּוֹנִים שֶׁלֹּא פָּתְחוּ פִּיהֶן וְתוֹלֶה אוֹתָן בַּמְּעִיל. וּמֵבִיא שְׁנַיִם וְשִׁבְעִים זוּגִים וּבָהֶם שְׁנַיִם וְשִׁבְעִים עִנְבּוֹלִים הַכּל זָהָב וְתוֹלֶה בּוֹ שִׁשָּׁה וּשְׁלֹשִׁים בְּשׁוּלֵי כָּנָף זֶה וְשִׁשָּׁה וּשְׁלֹשִׁים בְּשׁוּלֵי כָּנָף זֶה. וְהַזּוּג עִם הָעִנְבּוֹל הַתָּלוּי בֵּין שְׁנֵיהֶם כְּאֶחָד נִקְרָא פַּעֲמוֹן עַד שֶׁיִּהְיוּ שׁוּלָיו מִשְּׁנֵי צְדָדָיו (שמות לט כו) "פַּעֲמוֹן וְרִמּוֹן פַּעֲמוֹן וְרִמּוֹן":

5

The gold that is woven in the ephod and the breastplate which is mentioned in the Torah18 was made in the following manner. A strand of pure gold was taken and placed together with six strands of sky-blue wool and [then] the seven strands were spun as one. He would do the same with one strand of gold and six of red wool, with one strand [of gold] with six of scarlet wool, and with one strand of gold with six of linen. Thus there would be four strands of gold and there would be a total of 28 strands.19

[This is reflected by Exodus 39:3]: "And they hammered out thin sheets of gold [and cut strands] to fashion into the sky-blue wool, into the red wool, into the scarlet wool, and into the linen." This teaches that there was a strand of gold woven in them.

ה

הַזָּהָב שֶׁבַּאֲרִיגַת הָאֵפוֹד וְהַחשֶׁן הָאָמוּר בַּתּוֹרָה כָּכָה הוּא מַעֲשֵׂהוּ. לוֹקֵחַ חוּט אֶחָד זָהָב טָהוֹר וְנוֹתְנוֹ עִם שִׁשָּׁה חוּטִין שֶׁל תְּכֵלֶת וְכוֹפֵל הַשִּׁבְעָה חוּטִין כְּאַחַת. וְכֵן הוּא עוֹשֶׂה חוּט זָהָב עִם שִׁשָּׁה שֶׁל אַרְגָּמָן וְחוּט אֶחָד עִם שִׁשָּׁה שֶׁל תּוֹלַעַת שָׁנִי. וְחוּט אֶחָד עִם שִׁשָּׁה שֶׁל פִּשְׁתִּים. נִמְצְאוּ אַרְבָּעָה חוּטֵי זָהָב וְנִמְצְאוּ כָּל הַחוּטִים שְׁמוֹנָה וְעֶשְׂרִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות לט ג) "וַיְרַקְּעוּ אֶת פַּחֵי הַזָּהָב" וְגוֹמֵר (שמות לט ג) "לַעֲשׂוֹת בְּתוֹךְ הַתְּכֵלֶת וּבְתוֹךְ הָאַרְגָּמָן וּבְתוֹךְ תּוֹלַעַת הַשָּׁנִי וּבְתוֹךְ הַשֵּׁשׁ" מְלַמֵּד שֶׁחוּט הַזָּהָב כָּפוּל בְּתוֹכָן:

6

How was the breastplate made? He would weave a garment that was a work of craft20 from gold, sky-blue wool, red wool, scarlet, linen, with 28 strands, as we explained.21 It is a cubit long and zeret22 wide and it should be folded into two.23 Thus it was a square a zeret long and a zeret wide.24In it should be affixed four rows of stones as described by the Torah.25 Each stone should be square and set in a setting of gold that encompasses it from below and from the four directions.26

ו

כֵּיצַד מַעֲשֵׂה הַחשֶׁן. אוֹרֵג בֶּגֶד מַעֲשֵׂה חשֵׁב מִן הַזָּהָב וְהַתְּכֵלֶת וְהָאַרְגָּמָן וְתוֹלַעַת הַשָּׁנִי וְהַשֵּׁשׁ עַל שְׁמֹנָה וְעֶשְׂרִים חוּטִין כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ אָרְכּוֹ אַמָּה וְרָחְבּוֹ זֶרֶת וְכוֹפְלוֹ לִשְׁנַיִם. נִמְצָא זֶרֶת עַל זֶרֶת מְרֻבָּע. וְקוֹבֵעַ בּוֹ אַרְבָּעָה טוּרִים שֶׁל אֶבֶן הַמְפֹרָשִׁים בַּתּוֹרָה כָּל אֶבֶן מֵהֶן מְרֻבָּע וּמְשֻׁקָּע בְּבַיִת שֶׁל זָהָב שֶׁמַּקִּיפוֹ מִלְּמַטָּה וּמֵאַרְבַּע רוּחוֹתָיו:

7

He should engrave on the stones the names of the tribes according to their order of birth. Thus on the ruby, the name Reuben is engraved and on the jasper,27 Benjamin is engraved. At the outset, above Reuben,28 he should write [the names] Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and below Benjamin,29 he should write, שבטי יה30 so that all the letters are found there.

ז

וּמְפַתֵּחַ עַל הָאֲבָנִים שְׁמוֹת הַשְּׁבָטִים כְּתוֹלְדוֹתָם וְנִמְצָא כּוֹתֵב עַל הָאֹדֶם רְאוּבֵן וְעַל יָשְׁפֵה בִּנְיָמִין. וְכוֹתֵב בַּתְּחִלָּה לְמַעְלָה מֵרְאוּבֵן אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקֹב וְכוֹתֵב לְמַטָּה מִבִּנְיָמִין שִׁבְטֵי יָהּ כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיוּ כָּל הָאוֹתִיּוֹת מְצוּיוֹת שָׁם:

8

Four golden rings are made on the four corners of the breastplate. In the two upper rings from which the breastplate is suspended, two golden cords are placed.31 They are called chains. In the two lower rings that are opposite [the High Priest's] breast32 are placed two cords of sky-blue wool.33

ח

וְעוֹשֶׂה עַל אַרְבַּע זָוִיּוֹת שֶׁל חשֶׁן אַרְבַּע טַבְּעוֹת זָהָב. וְנוֹתֵן בִּשְׁתֵּי הַטַּבָּעוֹת שֶׁל מַעְלָה שֶׁהַחשֶׁן נִתְלֶה בָּהֶן שְׁתֵּי עֲבוֹתוֹת הַזָּהָב. וְהֵם הַנִּקְרָאִים שַׁרְשְׁרוֹת. וְנוֹתֵן בִּשְׁתֵּי טַבָּעוֹת שֶׁל מַטָּה שֶׁהֵן כְּנֶגֶד הַדָּדִים שְׁנֵי פְּתִילֵי תְּכֵלֶת:

9

The width of the ephod is the width of a person's back from shoulder to shoulder. Its length extend from one's elbows to his feet. It has two bands extending from it on either side34 with which it is fastened. They are called the belt of the ephod. The entire garment is woven with gold, sky-blue wool, red wool, scarlet wool, and linen with 28 threads as described with regard to the breastplate.35He should sew36 to it two shoulder straps so that it will extend to [High] Priest's shoulder. He should affix to each shoulder a square37 sardonyx stone38 set in a setting of gold. The names of the tribes should be engraved on the two stones, six on one stone and six on the other39 according to the order of their birth.40 Joseph's name would be written as יהוסף.41 Thus there would be 25 letters on one stone and 25 letters on the other stone. They would be written in this manner.42

The stone on which Reuven's name was written was placed on his right shoulder and the stone on which Shimon's name was written was placed on his left shoulder. On each shoulder, he should make two rings: one above, one the top of the shoulder and one below the shoulder above the belt. The two golden cords should be placed in the the two upper rings, they are called chains.43 This is the form of the ephod.44

ט

הָאֵפוֹד רָחְבּוֹ כְּרֹחַב גַּבּוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם מִכָּתֵף לְכָתֵף. וְאָרְכּוֹ מִכְּנֶגֶד אַצִּילֵי הַיָּדַיִם מֵאֲחוֹרָיו עַד הָרַגְלַיִם. וְיֵשׁ לוֹ כְּמוֹ שְׁתֵּי יָדוֹת יוֹצְאוֹת מִמֶּנּוּ בָּאָרִיג לְכָאן וּלְכָאן שֶׁחוֹגְרִין אוֹתוֹ בָּהֶם וְהֵם הַנִּקְרָאִין חֵשֶׁב הָאֵפוֹד. וְהַכּל אָרוּג זָהָב תְּכֵלֶת וְאַרְגָּמָן וְתוֹלַעַת שָׁנִי וְשֵׁשׁ עַל שְׁמוֹנָה וְעֶשְׂרִים חוּטִין כְּמַעֲשֵׂה הַחשֶׁן. וְתוֹפֵר עָלָיו שְׁתֵּי כְּתֵפוֹת כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיוּ עַל כִּתְפוֹת הַכֹּהֵן. וְקוֹבֵעַ עַל כָּל כָּתֵף וְכָתֵף אֶבֶן שֹׁהַם מְרֻבָּע מֻשְׁקָע בְּבַיִת שֶׁל זָהָב. וּמְפַתֵּחַ עַל שְׁתֵּי הָאֲבָנִים שְׁמוֹת הַשְּׁבָטִים. שִׁשָּׁה עַל אֶבֶן זוֹ וְשִׁשָּׁה עַל אֶבֶן זוֹ כְּתוֹלְדוֹתָם. וְכוֹתְבִין שֵׁם יוֹסֵף יְהוֹסֵף. וְנִמְצְאוּ כ''ה אוֹת בְּאֶבֶן זוֹ וְכ''ה אוֹת בְּאֶבֶן זוֹ. וְכָךְ הָיוּ כְּתוּבִין: וְהָאֶבֶן שֶׁכָּתוּב בָּהּ רְאוּבֵן עַל כְּתֵפוֹ הַיְמָנִית. וְהָאֶבֶן שֶׁכָּתוּב בָּהּ שִׁמְעוֹן עַל כְּתֵפוֹ הַשְּׂמָאלִית. וְעוֹשֶׂה בְּכָל כָּתֵף שְׁתֵּי טַבָּעוֹת אַחַת מִלְּמַעְלָה בְּרֹאשׁ הַכָּתֵף וְאַחַת מִלְּמַטָּה לַכָּתֵף לְמַעְלָה מִן הַחֵשֶׁב. וְנוֹתֵן שְׁתֵּי עֲבוֹתוֹת זָהָב בִּשְׁתֵּי טַבָּעוֹת שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה וְהֵם הַנִּקְרָאִים שַׁרְשְׁרוֹת:

10

Afterwards, he places the ends of the cords of the breastplate in the upper rings that are on the shoulders of the ephod and he should place the two strands of sky-blue wool that are on the hem of the breastplate45 into the rings that are above the belt of the ephod. The chains that are in the rings on the shoulders of the ephod should descend until they reach the upper rings of the breastplate so that they will cleave to each other and thus the breastplate will not be separate from the ephod.46 Anyone who separates the breastplate from the ephod and disrupts their connection47with a destructive intent48 is worthy of lashes.49

י

וְאַחַר כָּךְ מַכְנִיס קְצוֹת הָעֲבוֹתוֹת שֶׁל חשֶׁן בַּטַּבָּעוֹת שֶׁל מַעְלָה בְּכִתְפוֹת הָאֵפוֹד. וּמַכְנִיס שְׁנֵי פְּתִילֵי הַתְּכֵלֶת שֶׁבְּשׁוּלֵי הַחשֶׁן בִּשְׁתֵּי הַטַּבָּעוֹת שֶׁל מַעְלָה מֵחֵשֶׁב הָאֵפוֹד. וּמוֹרִידִין אֶת הַשַּׁרְשְׁרוֹת שֶׁבְּטַבְּעוֹת כִּתְפוֹת הָאֵפוֹד עַד טַבְּעוֹת הַחשֶׁן הָעֶלְיוֹנוֹת כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּדָּבְקוּ זֶה בָּזֶה (שמות כח כח) (שמות לט כא) "וְלֹא יִזַּח הַחשֶׁן מֵעַל הָאֵפוֹד". וְכָל הַמֵּזִיחַ חשֶׁן מֵעַל הָאֵפוֹד וּמְפָרֵק חִבּוּרָן דֶּרֶךְ קִלְקוּל לוֹקֶה:

11

Thus when he wears the ephod together with the breastplate, the breastplate will be flat over his heart and the ephod will be behind him. The belt of the ephod is tied over his heart50 below the breastplate. The two shoulders of the ephod lie on his two shoulders. The two cords of gold extend down from his shoulders on either side from the shoulders of ephod to the rings of the breastplate. The two strands of sky-blue wool are tied below his elbows from the two lower rings of the breastplate to the two lower rings of the shoulders of the ephod which are above the belt.

יא

נִמְצָא כְּשֶׁלּוֹבֵשׁ הָאֵפוֹד עִם הַחשֶׁן יִהְיֶה הַחשֶׁן עַל לִבּוֹ בְּשָׁוֶה וְהָאֵפוֹד מֵאַחֲרָיו וְחֵשֶׁב הָאֵפוֹד קָשׁוּר עַל לִבּוֹ תַּחַת הַחשֶׁן. וּשְׁתֵּי כִּתְפוֹת הָאֵפוֹד עַל שְׁתֵּי כְּתֵפָיו. וּשְׁתֵּי עֲבוֹתוֹת זָהָב יוֹרְדוֹת מֵעַל כְּתֵפָיו מִכָּאן וּמִכָּאן מִכִּתְפוֹת הָאֵפוֹד עַד טַבְּעוֹת הַחשֶׁן. וּשְׁנֵי חוּטֵי תְּכֵלֶת מְרֻכָּסִין מִתַּחַת אַצִּילֵי יָדָיו. מִשְּׁתֵּי טַבְּעוֹת הַחשֶׁן הַתַּחְתּוֹנוֹת עַד שְׁתֵּי טַבְּעוֹת כִּתְפוֹת הָאֵפוֹד הַתַּחְתּוֹנוֹת שֶׁהֵם לְמַעְלָה מִן הַחֵשֶׁב:

Test Yourself on This Chapter

Footnotes
1.

A fingerbreadth is about 2 cm according to Shiurei Torah. There is no measure according to Scriptural Law. The Rabbis chose a measure of two fingerbreadths, because this is the ordinary width of a High Priest's forehead.

2.

"Sanctified unto God."

3.

The standard published text of Sukkah 5a states that God's name should be on the upper line and קדש on the lower line. Apparently, the Rambam's text of the Gemara followed a different version. Alternatively, the Rambam favored the Jerusalem Talmud (Yoma 4:1) which follows the version stated. There it is explained that although the wording is opposite that of the verse, it is like a king (God's name) sitting on his throne (the word "sanctified").

4.

Shabbat 63b and Sukkah 5a quote Rabbi Eliezar bar Yossi as saying: "I saw it in Rome (where it had been taken after the Temple's destruction) and the words קדש לה'ה were written in one line."

Likutei Sichot, Vol. 26, p. 200ff., explains that the fact that despite Rabbi Eliezar's testimony, the halachah is that the words should be written in two lines indicates that our Sages had received orally the tradition that this was the acceptable way of preparing the forehead plate. Accordingly, we must say that the reason the second view is accepted is not because of Rabbi Eliezar's testimony, but because there was an oral tradition that it was acceptable.

5.

Exodus 39:30 states: "They engraved on it writing, [like that of] a signet ring." Now the letters of a signet ring project outward and so it was required that the letters of the forehead plate project outward. On the other hand, since the verse mentions writing, the letters could not be made using a mold (Kessef Mishneh; this rebuts the Ra'avad's objection). See Gittin 20a.

6.

Beeswax was used so that it would be firm enough to support the gold and prevent it from being pierced, but flexible enough to allow it to be shaped.

7.

The Ra'avad (following the line of thinking found in Rashi's commentary to the Torah) states that there was a third hole in the center of the forehead plate and a strand extending from it over the High Priest's head. This would prevent the plate from slipping down. The Rambam (and his view is supported by the Ramban in his commentary to the Torah) maintains that only two holes were made. Apparently, the plate was held in place by the pressure generated by tying it tightly.

8.

As stated in Exodus 39:22.

9.

As ibid. 28:32 states: "Its opening for the head shall be folded over within it. Its opening shall have a border of weaver's work."

10.

The Ra'avad questions the Rambam's source for this statement. In his commentary to the Torah, the Ramban also questions the Rambam's view. The Radbaz explains that were it to have had an opening for the High Priest's arms, there would have been no difference between it and the tunic.

11.

It did not surround the High Priest on all sides, but instead hung down over the front and back of his body, with openings on either side. Here also, the Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's understanding and the Ramban supports it.

According to the Rambam's conception, the cloak bore somewhat of a resemblance to the garments worn today as a tallit kattan (except that it was much longer than those garment). Indeed, for that reason, the Radbaz questions why there was no obligation to attach tzitzit to it. He explains that since the neck portion of the garment did not extend over the High Priests' shoulders, it is not considered as a four-cornered garment.

12.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 88) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 101) includes this prohibition among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

13.

If, however, he tears them with an intent to mend the article, no prohibition is involved (Radbaz).

14.

And as stated in Chapter 8, Halachah 14, that term implies a strand made up of eight threads.

15.

Eight threads from each type of fabric.

16.

Pomegranates have a crown-like bud on their top and these spheres would not.

17.

See Exodus 28:33-34.

18.

Ibid.:5, 15; 39:2, 8.

19.

I.e., four times seven.

20.

The design embroidered on it could be seen from both sides.

21.

In the previous halachah.

22.

Half a cubit.

23.

Note the comments of the Radbaz who infers that according to the Rambam, the breastplate would be woven while elongated and then folded. Others maintain that it should be sewn folded at the outset.

Between the folds of the breastplate were placed the Urim and Tumim. See Chapter 10, Halachah 10, for a description of them.

24.

As stated in ibid. 28:15-16.

25.

Ibid. 28:17-20: 39:10-13.

26.

As will be explained in the notes to Chapter 10, halachah 10, according to the Rambam, the stones of the breastplate were called the Urim and Tumim and, in the First Temple era, served as oracles.

27.

Our translation is based on R. Aryeh Kaplan's Living Torah. There are some other renditions of this term.

28.

On the ruby itself (Shmot Rabbah, the conclusion of sec. 38). Rav Avraham, the Rambam's son writes that these inscriptions were made with smaller letters so that all the names would fit on the stone. The Radbaz suggests that they were embroidered into the breastplate.

29.

On the jasper itself (ibid.).

30.

"The tribes of God." According to Yoma 73b and other sources, the inscription was "the tribes of Jeshuron." The Jerusalem Talmud states that the inscription was "the tribes of Israel."

31.

See Exodus 28:22-24. These golden cords extend from the ephod and secure the breastplate from above as explained in the following halachot.

32.

For the breastplate is placed above the heart (ibid.:30).

33.

To secure the breastplate to the ephod from below, as stated in Halachah 11.

34.

As Exodus 25:8 states, the belt was made in the same manner as the ephod itself.

35.

See Halachah 5.

36.

In contrast to the other priestly garments which are woven, these shoulder straps are sewn to the ephod.

37.

Kiryat Sefer suggests that the stones were rectangular rather than square, for otherwise it would be difficult to fit six lines on a square stone.

38.

A crypto-crystalline quartz, related to agate with alternating red and white bands. Here also, our translation is based on R. Aryeh Kaplan's Living Torah. There are some other renditions of this term.

39.

In this way, he can fulfill the charge (Exodus 28:12): "Aaron shall carry their names on his shoulders before God as a remembrance."

40.

The order the Rambam chooses - as reflected in the accompanying drawing [which is also included in his commentary to the Mishnah (Yoma 7:5)] - has attracted the attention of the commentaries. Although it follows the simple meaning of the verse, there is a difference of opinion concerning this matter in Sotah 36a-b and the Rambam's view does not follow either of the opinions mentioned there. The Kessef Mishneh, however, offers a resolution that enables the Rambam's understanding to conform to the Talmud's text.

41.

Psalms 81:1 writes Joseph's name in this manner. The Radbaz states that the extra letter was added to Joseph's name, because he was a king, and it was appropriate to include the first three letters of God's name in his name.

42.

The accompanying drawing is a copy of one included in the Mishneh Torah by the Rambam himself.

43.

These are the same chains described in Halachah 8.

44.

The accompanying drawing was copied from drawings by the Rambam that were included in the original manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah.

45.

See Halachah 8.

46.

Since the breastplate is tied firmly from above and from below, it will not be separated from the ephod.

47.

The Radbaz implies from this wording that even if the two are not separated entirely, as long as they are moved slightly, the prohibition applies.

48.

If, however, his intent is to readjust their connection, there is no prohibition against separating them.

49.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 87) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 100) include the prohibition against separating the breastplate from the ephod among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

50.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam and maintains that the belt of the ephod was tied below the High Priest's waist. The Radbaz explains that the belt is to be positioned below the breastplate on the same level as its top. The breastplate should lie on the High Priest's heart. Nevertheless, he also explains that the Rambam's wording has to be clarified, because as stated in the following chapter (Halachot 1-2), the sash is tied over the High Priest's heart. The Radbaz therefore suggests that the sash was tied over the upper portion of the heart and the belt of the ephod slightly lower.

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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