This letter was sent to R. Efraim Eliezer HaKohen Yallis, one of the leading Rabbis in Philadelphia.

B”H, 25 Iyar, 5710

Greetings and blessings,

I was sorry to hear of the passing of your sister, the Rebbetzin.

Note the statements of Kehilas Yaakov, entry achosi (“my sister”), that the word אחות (sister) is an acronym for the words ephod, choshen, Tiferes and Malchus.1 As is well known, Taamei HaMitzvos from R. Chayim Vital (Parshas Tetzaveh) and several other sources in the writings of the AriZal identify the ephod with Malchus and the choshen with Z’eir Anpin.2

It can be explained that this is the reason that the beginning of the destruction (which is referred to as mourning in our Sages’ words) was noticeable in the ephod in that the urim and the tumim were lacking. For this reason, the prohibition “The choshen shall not be separated from the ephod3 applied only in the time of the Beis HaMikdash. In the era of exile, by contrast, “the river was destroyed,”4 [referring to] the first Beis HaMikdash and “dried up,”4 [referring to] the second Beis HaMikdash. Moreover, even in the era of the Beis HaMikdash, one receives lashes only when [the separation is made] in a destructive manner, for the union between Z’eir Anpin and Nukvah5 is not continuous. Rav Saadia Gaon did not include this commandment in his enumeration of the mitzvos at all. (See the explanations of R. Perlow [in his commentary to Sefer HaMitzvos,] negative commandment 212.) Therefore the correction must be fundamentally in the inner and external dimensions of Malchus, or in [the connection between] Yesod and Malchus,which are identified with Zion and Jerusalem,6 as explained in Likkutei Torah, Bamidbar, p. 60a, and Devarim, p. 1c.

May the Omnipresent comfort you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and may we all merit the fulfillment of the promise: “A kohen will appear in Zion,”7 serving with the ephod and the choshen,and they will not be separated from each other at all.