On its hem make pomegranates of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, all around the hem, with bell of gold between them all around: a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, all around the hem of the robe. Aaron shall wear it while officiating, so that the sound of it is heard when he comes into the sanctuary before the LORD and when he goes out — that he may not die.
Pomegranate bell found in Shiloah Pool, Jerusalem, Second Temple Period
James Kugel, Weekly Torah Reading, 2/24/2018, “Clothes Made the Kohen”
Letter of Aristeas, 2nd Century BCE
[The priests’] appearance makes one awestruck and dumbfounded. I emphatically assert that anyone who comes near the spectacle of what I have described will experience astonishment and amazement beyond words, his very being transformed by the hallowed arrangement of every single detail.
Ben Sira, 2nd Century BCE
A glorious splendor and stunning appearance, a delight to the eyes, the very height of beauty.
Philo of Alexandria, 1st Century CE
[it] seems to be a likeness and copy of the universe.
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
The Tabernacle is meant to be an instrument that connects the earth with heaven. … Everything had its own specifications: where it should stand, what its function is, etc. This is what makes the Tabernacle an instrument for receiving the Divine Presence. If it is made a little differently, if the Menora is placed ever slightly to the side, it will not work. Every one of these details forms the greater whole.
The passages describing the Tabernacle proceedings are so full of details that they are often perceived as some of the most boring parts of the Torah. Yet these details are repeated over and over again. Why does the Torah need to say exactly how the pants should be and where exactly the bells should be attached to the robe?
when a diving suit or space suit is produced, if it is not sewn properly and as a result a small tear develops, the result is catastrophic. … Every detail in the parasha is intensely serious. To go too far is a fatal mistake. … it is just like electricity … On Yom Kippur, … all the fuses are lit, the current is flowing, and those who enter risk their lives.
You shall further instruct [alt trans.: command] the Israelites to bring you clear oil of beaten olives for lighting, for kindling lamps regularly.
Rabbi Yehudah Leib
The souls of Israel are the wicks that draw the oil after the light. Moses our Teacher, peace be upon him, the root of Torah, is the light. Thus we read: “Let them take olive oil unto you” [Shemot 27:20]–drawn toward the wick. The mitzvot are the lamps, vessels in which oil and wick are joined to the light. [The mitzvot join the physical and the spiritual — the body and the soul.]
All these elements exist within every person … God made humans upright, bearing within themselves the perfect totality (shelemut) of all creatures, for the deepest depths to the greatest heights. Aaron the priest was chosen to serve God … through whom purity would flow
[Like Aaron] You too can do the same. Set aside one quality, or one special mitzvah, about which you take fabulous care. Through this you will be able to draw light and redemption to all your qualities.