Bells and Pomegranates
Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10 )
Our parsha tells us of the making of the clothing of the priests and the High Priest, the objects which were used in the Mishkan, and the construction of the Mishkan itself. Among the garments worn by the High Priest we find the Robe. Below is a Rashi-comment and the Ramban's argument with it.
And on its lower hem, you shall make pomegranates of blue wool, dark red wool and crimson wool, on its lower hem around. And bells of gold in their midst all around.
A gold bell and pomegranate, a gold bell and a pomegranate on the lower hem of the robe all around.
And bells of gold - RASHI: Bells together with their clappers in them.
In their midst all around - RASHI: Between them all the way around. Between every two pomegranates there was one bell attached and hanging from the hem of the robe.
A gold bell and a pomegranate, a gold bell and a pomegranate - RASHI: Next to it.
WHAT IS RASHI SAYING?
This is a typical Type II comment. Rashi weaves his words in between the Torah's words. Its purpose is to dispel a wrong understanding of the verse.
A POSSIBLE MISUNDERSTANDING
An Answer: Were the bells inside these woolen pomegranates or were they placed, each one, in between the pomegranates on the hem of the garment? Rashi states his view clearly – the bells were on the hem in between the pomegranates. They were not within each of the pomegranates.
This view is not held by all commentators. The Ramban, for example, disagrees with Rashi and says that the bells were, in fact, placed within the pomegranates themselves.
What evidence would you cite to support Rashi's view?
Hint: See the surrounding verse.
SUPPORT FOR RASHI'S VIEW
An Answer: Look at verse 28:35. When the Torah speaks of this robe with its bells and pomegranates it says:
... and its sound shall be heard when he comes into the Holy place which is before Hashem and when he goes out so that he shall not die.
Certainly if we want the sound of the bells to be heard, it would be best to have them hanging out in the open. Were they placed inside the woolen pomegranates their sound would be muffled. This seems to support Rashi's view of the position of the bells over that of the Ramban.