The taste of Shabbat – Tetzave Zachor 5778
Rav Mordechai Elon
The coat of the Kohen Hagadol was coloured in sky blue, Techelet, from head to tail. This colour connects the Kohen to heaven and earth. On the fringe of the coat were hung bells and pomegranates, with a defined purpose:
…וְנִשְׁמַ֣ע ק֠וֹל֠וֹ בְּבֹא֨וֹ אֶל הַקֹּ֜דֶשׁ לִפְנֵ֧י הָ֛' וּבְצֵאת֖וֹ וְלֹ֥א יָמֽוּת.
and its sound shall be heard when he enters the Holy before the Lord and when he leaves, so that he will not die.
The phrase “so that he will not die” is true not just for the bells and pomegranates, but for all the priestly garments. It is mentioned specifically here, when we talk about the lowest fringes of the coat.
Our rabbis teach that pomegranates represent the Jewish people, especially those who are called “sinners of Israel”, as we learn from Shir Hashirim
'כפלח הרמון רקתך'. מאי רקתך? אפילו ריקנין שבך מלאים מצות כרמון.
“Your temple is like a split pomegranate” – maybe be read “your empty ones” (רקה temple, is also ריק empty), even your empty ones are full of mitzvoth like a pomegranate