A person having all these qualities can then delve into the spiritual. He can advance in these deep, subtle concepts, gaining a firm understanding and perception of them. At the same time, he must also sanctify himself and separate himself from the ways of the common people, who grope in the darkness of the times.
He must achieve a constant diligence in not even thinking of non-essentials or considering the vanities and intrigues of the times. He must work upon himself until his mind is constantly clear and directed on high. He must bind his intellect to the Throne of Glory, striving to comprehend the purity and holiness of the spiritual beings. He must furthermore contemplate the wisdom of G-d in everything and understand its significance, whether it be the highest spiritual entity or the lowliest thing on earth. One who does this immediately becomes worthy of ruach hakodesh. When he attains this spirit [of inspiration], his soul becomes bound up in the level of the angels, called ishim, and he becomes a different individual completely Obviously, much more was required in order to attain prophecy than to become Kohen Gadol.
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This is also reflected in the different ways that ruach hakodesh was revealed to them. When one would ask a question of the urim v'tumim, the Kohen Gadol would stand facing the ark, gaze at the letters engraved on the stones of the choshen, "and see with prophetic vision They received ruach hakodesh directly. This superiority is stressed in the fact that their ephod was made of linen.
The Kohen Gadol normally wore an ephod woven with gold and dyed wool. On Yom Kippur, though, in order to enter the Holy of Holies, he had to don linen garments. The linen ephod of the b'nei ha'nvi'im therefore showed that they were higher even than a regular Kohen Gadol, and reached the level of a Kohen Gadol as he was in the Holy of Holies.
This answers the question mentioned previously: The answer is that the linen ephod showed that they had indeed reached that level, and had even surpassed it. A similar idea is expressed elsewhere in Mishneh Torah. In the end of Hilchos Shemittah V'Yovel, the Rambam explains that any person who dedicates himself wholeheartedly to serving and knowing G-d, "niskadesh kodesh kodashim," "becomes sanctified [like the] Holy of Holies. This is similar to our law, which shows that this level can also be reached by the b'nei ha'nvi'im, as signified by the linen ephod.
This also answers our last question: If, in order to avoid jealousy, there could not be two Kohanim Gedolim, how could there be so many b'nei ha'nvi'im? The answer is now clear: Only the Kohanim Gedolim could have such a problem, since they did not need so much spiritual refinement in order to qualify for their position.
To join the b'nei ha'nvi'im, on the other hand, one needed lengthy preparation, as quoted above from Mishneh Torah. On their level of spiritual advancement, there was no danger of jealousy.
This is similar to the state of affairs in the Messianic Age, when, as the Rambam describes, there will be, "no famine or war; no rivalry or jealousy. This includes laws which will be applicable only in the Messianic Age, during which prophecy and Divine inspiration will once more exist, as written in the book of Yoel 3: This also presents the obvious lesson that we should increase in all actions which hasten the arrival of Moshiach.
This includes the path of the b'nei ha'nvi'im, as quoted above from the Rambam, and thereby to automatically prevent any feelings of jealousy. This is also connected with our discussion last Shabbos of avoiding any such negative feelings and instead adding on in ahavas Yisrael.
At this point, however, one might want to present a question. Even when speaking of people fit to be appointed Kohen Gadol, one could not have two simultaneously because of the possibility of hatred arising. If so, how can it be demanded of everyone to avoid such feelings?!
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This gathering, one could claim, includes children, and certainly many who have white beards, but are still "intellectually children" k'tanim b'da'as! How could one make such unreasonable demands?! The answer is that there is no other choice. The nassi doreinu already ruled and announced that the redemption is being held back by the lack of ahavas Yisrael. This being the case, twisted intellectual reasoning p'shetlach must be totally ignored. This is even more true since we are not speaking of an inward emotional love p'nimiyus halev or even an external love chitzoniyus halev -- but only in action, by refraining from acting, writing, speaking, etc.
We are not going to dwell on the negative aspects, but only on the positive side. Everyone must increase in ahavas Yisrael, beginning with the easier things and gradually progressing. First of all, there must be control in the realm of action, as mentioned above; and then, one must begin to greet others with a pleasant, rather than sour countenance seiver panim yafos , since this also affects how other people feel.
We see the necessity of this from the laws of charity, where it is stressed that not only must a person give, but he must give with an expression of happiness. Parenthetically, it should be pointed out that the reason one would give charity in a grudging manner is because he feels that the money he is giving could be otherwise used for his own needs.
But how could anyone think such a way? May it be G-d's will that the nullification of all jealousy and hatred will be the preparation and make the vessel kli for the coming of Moshiach. The notification of all this will come through the prophet Eliyahu, which is related to this week's parshah, as our Sages relate, "Pinchas is Eliyahu. And since Pinchas was a Kohen, and "Kohanim act with swiftness z'rizus ," certainly he will quickly announce the arrival of Moshiach. It might be added that Pinchas has an advantage over other Kohanim when it comes to z'rizus.
Other Kohanim obtained their status at birth, and could always claim, "No one asked me if I wanted to be a Kohen In addition, the act of killing Zimri was itself associated with z'rizus, since "Only the zealous may kill the offender" kanayim pogin bo.
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And if he was swift to enforce something of that nature, how much moreso for the good -- to announce to the Jewish people that Moshiach has finally arrived. In the portion of Rambam which we begin to study today, Hilchos Biyas HaMikdash, there is mention of a subject which relates to Pinchas becoming a Kohen. A Kohen who was about to serve in the Tabernacle and the Temple had to first wash his hands and feet in the kiyor washstand.
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Sichos In English: Volume 36 - Tammuz-Elul, 5747
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