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Sunday, 19 January 2014

Getting Richer

Yoma 73

Am I doing better today than I was five years ago?

When the nation of Israel would go out to war, a specially anointed Kohen would accompany them as their spiritual guide.   How many priestly vestments would he wear?  The Talmud says that he would not wear four, for that was the number that a regular Kohen would wear.  He could not wear eight, for that was how many the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) wore.

Why could he not match the regular number of Kohen vestments? The Talmud offers the famous dictum, “We increase in holiness and we do not decrease.”  Since he was accustomed to ordinarily donning four garments, his newly sanctified task called for an increase the number of his holy vestments. 

Throughout our lives, many of us strive to improve upon our material situation.  When we are in college, we are happy to see the world via youth hostels and hitchhikes.  In the early stages of our career, we progress to motels and buses.  As our stations in life improve, we will have nothing less than the finest hotels and rental cars.  Likewise with our clothing – in our youth we might have sufficed with looking rugged and good.  By our later years, we are making more quality choices.

If this is true of our material lives, then how much more so must it be true of our spiritual lives.  Every spiritual matter has its representation and manifestation in the physical and material.  That is why the Kohen was required to perform his spiritual service in beautiful vestments.   But the Talmud reminds us that one must forever be increasing in one’s relationship with the Almighty.

If we expect that our material lot in life should always grow, do we have the same expectations of our spiritual station in life?  Can I look back five, ten years ago and say that there is a remarkable improvement in my spiritual position? 


Every day we are here on this earth, we must seek to improve not only our material lot, but more importantly, our spiritual lot.  After all, isn’t that why we’re here?