June 23, 2021

Yoma 73

Today’s daf (Yoma 73a) begins by exploring the relationship between the Kohen Gadol and the Kohen Mashuach Milchama (the Kohen anointed for battle) and the importance of avoiding enmity between the two, and it then proceeds to discuss the Urim V’Tumim – the divine communication tool that featured on the Choshen (breastplate) worn by the Kohen Gadol.

On first glance, these two topics are seemingly unrelated. However, the Midrash (Shemot Rabbah 3:17) teaches us that the reason why Aharon was ultimately privileged to wear the Choshen, with the Urim V’Tumim, ‘over his heart’ (Shemot 28:30) was because he ‘rejoiced in his heart’ (Shemot 4:14) when greeting his younger brother Moshe after he had been appointed by God as leader of Am Yisrael.

As Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz explains, “A heart that had the capacity to truly rejoice in the good fortune of another – that heart was the appropriate place for the Urim V’Tumim. Through the Urim V’Tumim, God revealed to Aharon the solutions to the most difficult problems in a manner all but incomprehensible and unfathomable – except to one whose heart could so totally identify with the problem of his supplicant as to feel that problem as his own.”

What we learn from here is that it is due to the sensitivity, positivity and generosity of spirit that we show others that God grants us wisdom, understanding and insight – which we are then tasked to use to assist, guide, help and inspire others.

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