For an explanation of the methodology of this series, see the introduction.

"And you shall make a Tzitz [showplate] of pure gold, and you shall engrave upon it like the engraving of a seal: 'Holy to G‑d'". (Ex. 28:36)

Peshat (basic meaning):

Rashi:"a showplate"
It was a sort of golden plate, two fingerbreadths wide, encircling the forehead from ear to ear.

Remez (hinted meaning):

Maggid Mesharim: One can say that the 4 garments of the ordinary priest hint to netzach, while the 4 white garments of the High Priest hint to chesed.

Derash (interpretive meaning):

...Israel as a whole are devoted and dedicated to G‑d.

Ohr HaChayim: The Tzitz was worn on the forehead: "that they may be accepted on their behalf by G‑d with good will." We need to understand why the two words "Holy to G‑d" possessed the ability to attract G‑d's good will. Perhaps the word Holy refers to Israel. We find Israel being referred to as "holy" by Jeremiah. (2:3) The words "unto G‑d" mean to convey that Israel as a whole are devoted and dedicated to G‑d. This fact and not merely the words on the showplate ensure G‑d's good will toward the people. This is the secret of the verse, "I am to by beloved, and he is to me", (Songs 6:3) meaning that "if I am devoted to G‑d, namely my Beloved, then he will turn his benevolent attention toward me."

"You shall make holy garments for your brother Aaron for tiferet (splendor)and kavod (glory)" (Ex. 28:2)

Ramban: The mystical explanation of glory and splendor, that they should make holy garments for Aaron to minister in them to the Glory of G‑d, Who dwells in their midst and Who is the Splendor of their strength, as it is written, "For You are the Glory of their strength". It is also said, "Our holy and beautiful house, where our fathers praised You", (Isaiah 64:10) meaning G‑d's…Sanctuary shall be splendorous, and the place of His feet, the place of the Holy Temple, shall be glorious with the Divine Presence, that He will show His splendor only there.

Sod (esoteric, mystical meaning):

Zohar Vayakhel 218:
Come and see, it is said that all the impudent, those without shame, have no portion in this world or in the World to Come. All the impudent in Israel, when they looked upon the plate, their hearts broke and they searched their deeds. Since the plate was based on a letter, and whoever looked at it, felt ashamed for what he has done; thus the plate atoned for the impudent and shameless.
Whoever looked upon the radiance of the letters, his face would fall in terror...
The letters of the secret of the Holy Name engraved upon the plate shone with glittering emitting light. Whoever looked upon the radiance of the letters, his face would fall in terror, and his heart would break. Then the plate atones for them that way, for it caused their heart to break and them to surrender before their Master. So is the incense. Whoever smelled the smoke coming from the pillar rising from the smoke raiser, would cleanse his heart totally to worship his Master, and the filth of the Evil Inclination would pass from him. He would have only one heart towards his father in heaven. Since incense breaks the Evil Inclination on all sides; as the plate is miraculous, so is the incense, for nothing in the world breaks the Other Side except incense.

BeRahamim LeHayyim:
Shame gets a bad rap. Wearing the "dunce hat", sitting in the corner, making the student put his chewing gum on his nose, the Scarlet Letter, being placed in stocks, all these call out to us as barbaric types of punishment. But wait a second! Don't these too call back to a kinder, gentler time, when parents and teachers [even if they were factually wrong] were treated with more than a modicum of respect? And these punishments perhaps worked as a disincentive for transgression. See, the thought of shame can inhibit negative action. It is future oriented.

Guilt, on the other hand, keeps one locked and stuck in the past. We all know all too well how guilt is a disabling, immobilizing emotion. Teshuva can help to rewrite this past. But shame, on the other hand, can create consciousness to do the right thing, always. This lower level of fear of punishment—public punishment—probably stops most criminals at some stage of their life. Then it wears off, and offenses occur.

The Tzitz perhaps worked more on a shame mechanism than a guilt trigger. It was a public reflection of one's actions, one felt a-shamed for what they did. Not guilty about some past misdeed, but shame, shame, shame, shame on you.

We need to develop more a sense of shame. Guilt keeps us stuck way back there. Shame keeps us focusing on the future, how to be better, and thus closer to the Master, in the words of the Zohar.

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