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Tetzave. Head and Heart

This week we read about the sacred garments of the High Priest. They are rich with spiritual symbolism. Interestingly, some have writing, text, emblazoned upon them. We shall speak about two garments:

The Tzitz – made of pure Gold. It sits on the High Priest’s forehead. It is engraved with the phrase: “Holy to the Lord!”

The Hoshen – the priestly breastplate. It is a knit of gold, blue, crimson and purple thread. Inset into the breastplate are twelve semi precious stones, each stone is engraved with a name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. This is worn on the High Priests heart. The fabric of the breastplate is doubled over, and inside the fold are the Urim veTumim, an oracle that allow Israel to ask questions of and receive answers from God.

The distinction between these two garments has aroused the attention of scholars throughout the ages:

"The Titz is placed upon Aaron's forehead, corresponding to the centre of intelligence and wisdom.

The Hoshen was on Aaron's heart, the centre of love and affection for Israel. All the names of the Tribes were engraved upon it, and the Torah calls it the Hoshen Mishpat – the breastplate of Justice/Judgement – the judging of Bnei Yisrael was entrusted to the Hoshen.

The Tzitz ruled questions of ritual law, the impure and the pure, obligations and prohibitions … the Hoshen would rule on very different questions: Shall we go to war or not? Do I protest against a government that has fallen short of the values of Israel or not?" (Rav Soloveitchik – The bearers of the Tzitz and the Hoshen. In Divrei Hagut VeHaaracha pg 191-2)

Here Rav Soloveitc