About 20 years ago, I was the shaliach tzibbur in a shul in Newburgh, NY on Yom Kippur. As I was davening, I hear behind me, "jingle, jingle". I turn around, and behold, there is a man dressed in a long white robe with gold trim, a "breast plate" with colored stones on it, and the bottom of the robe had "pomegranates" and bells. In other words, he was dressed like the Kohen Gadol!

When he got the Kohen aliyah, I verified that he was a Kohen.

I didn't have a chance to ask him why he was wearing his "outfit", as I didn't want to embarrass him. (some people were laughing at him, and he may have been conscious of that.) I'm curious if there is any minhag anywhere for a Kohen to dress this way on Yom Kippur, or was this guy just dressing this way on his own "whim"?

  • 4
    Considering that YK is the day on which a larger fraction of the kohen gadol's avoda is done without those clothes than any other day, it seems to me unlikely that there would be a custom to wear reminiscent clothes on YK specifically.
    – msh210
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 20:59
  • Isn't there a gezeirah against recreating tashmishei kedushah and bigdei kehuna from the Mishkan/Beit Hamikdash? Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 2:17
  • @NoachmiFrankfurt Not that I'm aware of. There is a biblical prohibition of making the ketoret and shemen hamishcha for personal use. There is also a prohibition on making replicas of the building and the keilim (ex). I don't think the clothing are included.
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 4:07
  • @DoubleAA, Michoel's answer ad loc. seems to imply that the bigdei kehuna are also included. Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 11:38

1 Answer 1


The Vilna Gaon taught that Yom Kippur is called Yom Kippurim - a day "like Purim" (See http://www.aish.com/h/pur/t/dt/48949286.html). Clearly Purim is at least as Holy of a day as Yom Kippur if not Holier because Yom Kippur is a day which is only "like Purim". Perhaps this person in shul misunderstood the Vilna Gaon to mean that one should dress up on Yom Kippur as one would on Purim.

I cannot imagine otherwise as even the kohen gadol himself wore the bigdei kehuna for a minimum amount of time (see kiddushin 54a). Unless this person felt that this was a way for him to have proper kavanah and made a cheshbon that it wouldnt distract anyone else.

  • 1
    Great first paragraph!
    – user6591
    Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 16:43

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