What are they for bells that bring the priests in exodus and Leviticus? I find no comments about Rashi or other rabbis.

  • Do you mean the bells tied around the priest's ankles in case he dies in the holy of holies?
    – SolaGratia
    Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 23:36
  • Yes I mean exactly this
    – Ootsutsuki
    Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 23:54
  • torahmitzion.org/learn/…
    – mbloch
    Commented Mar 29, 2021 at 3:21

1 Answer 1


I think you're referring to the bells that hung on the edge of the High Priest's tunic.

The Rashbam wrote:

"ונשמע קולו בבאו אל הקדש, the golden bells will knock against each other even though they are separated from one another by the woolen pomegranates. And because the Holy One, blessed is He commanded "When he goes in to make expiation in the Shrine, nobody else shall be in the Tent of Meeting until he comes out" - for this commanded the Holy One, blessed is He "that the sound of it is heard when he comes" and those that hear will leave."

Chizkuni wrote:

"ונשמע קולו, “its sound would be audible;” [the High Priest did not wear these garments inside the Tabernacle on the Day of Atonement. Ed.] The sound was meant to alert the people that the time for him to perform the service in the Tabernacle had arrived. According to another interpretation, the sound was necessary to warn the other priests not to enter the Holy of Holies. On the Day of Atonement there was no need for it, seeing that only the High Priest performed sacrificial service on that day."

The Ktav v'Hakabbalah wrote:

"...כי ע"י שמיעתו קול הפעמונים שבמעיל יתעורר לתת דעתו ולבו לפני מי הוא מתלבש בבגדים אלו ומי הוא אשר צוה לו להתלבש בהם, ולתכלית מה הוא לבדו מצויין בבגדים כאלה, בזה יתפיס כל מחשבותיו ורעיונותיו לעבודת המלך העליון ית', ולא בלבד בהיותו בקדש לעבודה, כי גם בצאתו מן הקדש אל ביתו ובקרב חוצות, יצלצלו הפעמונים בקול לאזנו להזכירהו כי הוא בחיר האומה הישראלית, ומעלתו עליהם בחשיבות יתירה לאין שיעור, ולא ישכח כי הוא עומד תמיד לפני ה' ואין לו להסיח דעת מן הקדושה אף רגע..."

Translation: "...for by his hearing the sound of the bells in the tunic he will become aware that he must concentrate on before Whom he dresses in these clothes, and Who is the One Who commanded him to dress in them, and for what purpose he alone is distinct in these clothes, and thus he shall concentrate all of his thoughts into the worship of the Blessed High King, and not only when he is performing his duties in the Holy [sanctuary], but also when he leaves the Holy to go home and outside, the bells will ring in his ear to remind him that he is the chosen of the Nation of Yisrael, and his level is superior to theirs infinitely, and he shall not forget that he stands eternally before Hashem and he must not be distracted from the holiness for not a single moment..."

He further notes later that the Rashbam's interpretation is mistaken, because when the High Priest enters the Kodesh Hakodashim, he's dressed in white clothes, thus bell-less:

"...והרשב"ם אמר לפי שצוה הקב"ה וכל אדם לא יהי' באהל מועד בבואו לכפר בקדש עד צאתו (ויקרא ט״ז:י״ז) לכן צוה כאן שישמע קולו בבואו ויתרחקו השומעים, ע"כ. ויש לגמגם קצת, דבשעה שהי' מקטיר קטורת לפני ולפנים, ובשעה שיכנס בדם חטאת הפנימית, שכולם פורשים מן האולם ולמזבח, אז לא הי' מלבוש רק בבגדי לבן, ובשעת הקטרת הקטורת בהיכל בכל יום שפורשים מההיכל ומבין האולם ולמזבח, זה הי' נעשה אף בכהן הדיוט שאין לו מעיל..."

Translation: "...and the Rashbam said that because the Holy One, Blessed is He commanded "When he goes in to make expiation in the Shrine, nobody else shall be in the Tent of Meeting until he comes out" (Vaykira 16:17) for this He commanded here that its sound be heard when he approaches and those that hear will know to distance themselves, until here. And one must mumble somewhat at this, for at the time that he burned the incense in the innermost sanctum, and at the time that he brought the blood of the atonement sacrifice, which is when everyone left the sanctuary and distanced themselves past the altar, this was when he did not wear but white garments, and when the incense was burned every day in the sanctuary, when everyone then distanced themselves, this could be done even by a regular priest..."

The Natziv in Ha'amek Davar wrote that the bells were intended to bring respect to the position of the High Priest. So this respect would not get into the High Priest's head, his tunic was made entirely from techelet, which brings about holy thoughts and counteracts the bells.

  • Excellent answer, is it possible have, please, the text where Ktav v'Hakabbalah disputes Rashbam about the bells in Kodesh Hakodashim? Thanks! SHalom.
    – Ootsutsuki
    Commented Mar 29, 2021 at 20:42
  • @Ootsutsuki it's all there in the link, but if you want it translated, that'll have to wait for tomorrow. :)
    – Harel13
    Commented Mar 29, 2021 at 21:02
  • Yes thank you! :)
    – Ootsutsuki
    Commented Mar 29, 2021 at 21:25
  • @Ootsutsuki I added the section you requested.
    – Harel13
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 19:41
  • Thanks! You are very kind.
    – Ootsutsuki
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 20:04

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