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Daily Mitzvah

Positive Commandment 33; Negative Commandment 88, 87, 73, 163, 164

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Positive Commandment 33 (Digest)
The Priestly Garments

"And you shall make holy clothes for Aaron your brother, for honor and for beauty"—Exodus 28:2.

The kohanim (priests) are commanded to don special priestly vestments – four special garments for the regular priest, eight for the high priest – before serving in the Holy Temple.

Though these clothing were stunningly beautiful, inlaid with gold and precious gems, the priest is enjoined not to take personal pleasure from them. Rather he should wear then solely because this is G‑d's command.

Negative Commandment 88 (Digest)
Tearing the Edge of the High Priest's Robe

"It shall have [an opening] like the opening of a coat of armor; it shall not be torn"Exodus 28:32.

It is forbidden to tear the opening at the top (i.e., the collar) of the high priest's robe. For this reason also this opening was hemmed [so that the threads shouldn't unravel].

Negative Commandment 87 (Digest)
Detaching the High Priest's Breastplate from the Apron

"That the breast plate be not loosed from the apron"Exodus 28:28.

It is forbidden to detach the high priest's breastplate from his ephod (the inverted apron he wore that covered his back).

Negative Commandment 73 (Digest)
Serving While Inebriated

"Do not drink wine or strong drink...when you enter the Tent of Meeting...and when you teach the children of Israel"Leviticus 10:8-11.

It is forbidden to enter the Holy Temple or to issue a halachic ruling while inebriated—whether from wine or any other intoxicating beverage.

Negative Commandment 163 (Digest)
Priests Entering the Holy Temple with Unkempt Hair

"Do not let the hair of your heads grow long"Leviticus 10:6.

The kohanim (priests) are enjoined not to enter the Holy Temple while disheveled with unkempt hair, as is the custom of mourners who don't comb and arrange their locks.

According to an alternate version in the Midrash, this prohibition bans a priest from growing [inordinately] long hair.

The high priest is always bound by this prohibition, even when not in the Holy Temple.

Negative Commandment 164 (Digest)
Priests Entering the Holy Temple Clad in Torn Clothes

"Neither rend your clothes, and you shall not die"Leviticus 10:6.

The kohanim (priests) are enjoined not to enter the Holy Temple with torn garments [as is the custom of mourners].

The high priest is always bound by this prohibition, even when not in the Holy Temple.


Translation of (the unabridged text of) Sefer Hamitzvot by Rabbi Berel Bell, member of the Rabbinical Court of Montreal and director of Teacher Training for the Jewish Learning Institute.

From "Sefer Hamitzvot in English," published by Sichos in English.
Daily Quote
G-d, in His goodness, renews the universe and all creatures every moment with His particular Divine Providence, which constitutes - to the exclusion of all else - the reality, life-force and sustained existence of all creations
  –Hayom Yom, Sivan 29
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