One of the garments worn by both the Kohen Gadol and the regular Kohanim was an Avneit – a sash. The Avneit was 32 Amos (approx. 16 metres) long and was wrapped around and around the Kohen’s chest (heart).
Clothing, which surrounds the body from without, represents transcendent light (Ohr Makif). The body of the Kohen represents inner light (Ohr Penimi). The Avneit held the clothing of the Kohanim firmly around their body, representing the joining of the transcendent light to the inner light.
Chassidus discusses 5 different levels of the soul. The lower 3 are the conscious levels of the soul that are enclothed and manifest within our body; Nefesh – expressed in our actions, Ruach – expressed in our emotions and Neshama – the intellectual dimension. These are also called the inner Kochos (capabilities) of the soul.
The fourth level of the soul, Chaya, is transcendent (Makif), lying beyond our consciousness. It is expressed in Emunah and in a supra-logical desire of the soul for G-dliness.
The Makif experience is lofty, but detached. Chassidus illustrates this with the Talmudic example of a thief praying to Hashem for success in his robbery. Because his Emunah is transcendent, it is divorced from his conscious thinking and does not influence his actions; so, he can believe and steal at the same time.
We need to draw down the transcendent to pervade the conscious; to channel our Emunah and deep desire, into the inner levels of the soul.
Fusing two opposites requires a power that is greater than both of them. Beyond Makif, there is the ”Makif of the Makif”. This refers to the Yechida, the essential core of the soul. The essence is the essence of all levels of the soul; both conscious and transcendent. On this level, they are no longer opposites and can be united. This is the lofty source of the Avneit.
~ Based on Maamar Admor Hazaken 5572 and Sicha Vayakhel Pekudei 5750
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