After directing the first five chapters of instructions to the Jewish people, Moshe now turns to the Kohanim, the elite tribe of holy servants of God, to instruct them in their exalted service. Starting with- taking out the garbage. The kohen’s first job of the day, at the crack of dawn, after donning the glorious priestly vestments, is to deal with the junk left over from yesterday’s work. And this, too, is holy.
Those vestments he wears, Rashi explains, in a seemingly superfluous comment, are ‘kemidato’– they are fitted to his size. Why does this need to be said?
The theme of much of these first instructions to the priests is how to keep them ‘fitted to size’, how to maintain a humble perspective despite their honored office which comes with so much glory and privilege. After the privilege of taking out the garbage, after making their own donation, teruma, the first fringe benefit the Torah describes is the mincha, the flour offering which the Torah insists on being unleavened, a symbol of humility. This is the offering, the Torah continues, which every priest offers upon his induction, conveying the fundamental message that to partake of God’s table must mean a regular diet of humble pie.
For the high priest, he of the golden, azure, and crimson garments, one reminder is not enough. He is called upon to offer the mincha at the beginning and end of every single day of service- a twice daily reminder to check his privilege.
This is my own little insight about the 929 chapter of the day, in 300 words or so. I’d love to hear your comments and start a conversation
What’s 929? A near-impossible challenge of consistency. A song of Jewish unity. A beautiful project worth checking out. Learn more at 929.org.il