In yesterday’s post, we discussed how the Bigdei Kehuna are “garments of light” which reveal G-dliness. In truth, every garment creates some degree of concealment. So why are they called “garments of light” and why were they needed in the Beis Hamikdash which was a place of revelation?
In Chassidus, garments illustrate the paradox that it is necessary to conceal in order to reveal.
Light that is too intense cannot be received in a meaningful way. Its intensity will overwhelm the receiver and remain inaccessible in their experience. To be ‘revealed’ within their reality, it is necessary to veil or filter the intensity of the light.
An opaque curtain, like the “garments of skin”, blocks out the light entirely. But a sheer curtain allows the light through. With the subtle layer of concealment, the light becomes useable and can be of benefit to the recipient. This is the function of the “garments of light” – concealment for the purpose of meaningful revelation.
In Chassidus, the Kohen Gadol represents the lofty level of Ahava Rabbah, an intense revelation of G-dliness that is completely beyond the worlds. In order for this light to be drawn down and manifest within the worlds, it needs to be enclothed within garments – the Bigdei Kodesh that the Kohen would cover himself with.
In our interactions and relationships with others, we also need garments.
Sometimes in our desire to share, we may be too intense and overwhelm those around us by not giving them enough space or consideration. We may come across too strong in our opinions. Or we may share our emotions too intensely, smothering the other with our love and closeness.
Before we share our inner self with someone else, we need to think about it from their experience; how it will be received in the most meaningful way – for them.
If we ‘hide’ ourselves too much, it defeats the objective; a concealment that conceals. But a considered level of toning down will ensure that our desire to give, is meaningfully received; a concealment that reveals.