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Exodus Tetsaveh
  Ki Tisa
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28:38 [This plate] shall be worn on Aaron's forehead. Aaron shall thus carry the device that expiates [errors] in the sacred offerings that the Israelites consecrate as holy gifts. It shall be on his forehead at all times to make [these offerings] acceptable for [the Israelites] before God.
Vehayah al-metsach Aharon venasa Aharon et-avon hakodashim asher yakdishu bney Yisra'el lechol-matnot kodsheyhem vehayah al-mitscho tamid leratson lahem lifney Adonay.
28:39 Knit the tunic out of linen.

[Also] make the turban out of linen and an embroidered sash.
Veshibatsta haktonet shesh ve'asita mitsnefet shesh ve'avnet ta'aseh ma'aseh rokem.


  Specifically, ritual uncleanliness (Menachoth 25a; Rashi).

  (cf. Midrash HaGadol). This was a patterned weave that could best be attained by knitting (however, see Yad, Kley HaMikdash 8:19). Some write that it had a pattern of depressions, like settings for precious stones, (Rashi on Exodus 28:4). Others say that it was a diamond-shaped pattern, like an array of small eyes (Saadia; Ibn Janach; cf. Ibn Ezra). According to another opinion, it was a hexagonal pattern, like a honeycomb or the lining of a cow's second stomach (Yad, Kley HaMikdash 8:16).

This kethoneth had arm-length sleeves that were made separately and sewn on (Ibid.). It sat close to the body, and came down to the feet (Ibid. 8:17; Josephus Antiquities 3:7:2). The sleeves were tied at the wrists (Josephus) (see figure).

  (Ibn Janach; Radak, Sherashim). This consisted of a strip of linen 16 cubits (24') long, which was wound around the top of the priest's head (Yad, Kley HaMikdash 8:19).

Josephus notes that after being wound around, it was sewn, and then covered with a piece of fine linen to hide the seams. This was true for both the high priest and the common priests (Antiquities 3:7:3). In the case of the High Priest, however, this linen turban was covered with a layer of sky-blue wool (see note on Exodus 28:37). Over this was a crown consisting of three horizontal golden bands, with a sort of flower or cup on top. The crown was open in the front to allow for the forehead-plate (Antiquities 3:7:6).

According to others, however, the mitznefeth here was a simple conical hat (Rashi on Exodus 29:4).

  Avnet in Hebrew. This is described as being 3 fingerbreadths (2 1/4') wide and 32 cubits (48') long (Yerushalmi, Yoma 7:3; Yad, Kley HaMikdash 8:19). Some say that it went twice around the body (Tosafoth, Arkhin 15b, s.v. Avnet). It was made of linen embroidered with colored wool (Yoma 12b; Yad, Kley HaMikdash 8:1). Although this is normally forbidden (Leviticus 19:19), it was permitted for the priestly garments.

Josephus (Antiquities 3:7:2) describes the sash as being worn over the heart, slightly above the elbows. It was four fingers wide and loosely woven, so that it appeared like the skin of a snake. Its main body was linen, and it was embroidered with a floral design of linen and blue, dark-red and crimson wool. When it was worn, its ends were allowed to hang down to the ankles, except during the service, when the ends were thrown over the left shoulder.

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