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Midot Hayom 5770 Day 33: Hod in Hod

“Behold Miriam was leprous as snow” (Numbers 12:10). Aaron also deserved that [punishment], but he was wearing the coat that atoned for evil speech. [Furthermore,] upon seeing his sister [become leprous], he would draw a lesson for himself (Sifri Zuta, Bamidbar 12:9,10)

As much as Aaron would “draw a lesson for himself” from Miriam’s leprosy, he would also draw a lesson from the fact that his coat, “the garment that atoned for evil speech” protected him from punishment.  He appreciated his coat in a new way once he experienced its power to bring atonement. There are tiny bells on the hem that would ring as Aaron walked. Rashi describes the ringing as a reminder not to chirp as a bird. A tiny “chirp” can cause devastating damage. A short, not necessarily negative, comment can hurt someone else. It is only when we pay attention to, and apply the message of the bells, that constantly chirp through the day, we can achieve atonement.

It seems to me that the only way that Aaron’s coat could bring immediate atonement to him was if he was wearing the Bigdei Cehuna, The Priestly Garments, when Miriam and he spoke to Moshe. At the very least, he would have spoken to Moshe in Aaron’s role as Cohen Gadol.

We have the man of Hod, in his role as the man of Hod, who can see the inner essence of everyone, still unable to see his own brother’s Hod! God explained to Aaron and Miriam that they had spoken to Moshe without proper appreciation and awareness of his greatness. They didn’t see Moshe’s Hod!

The moment Aaron saw that his sister was stricken with leprosy, he realized that to speak to someone without proper regard for their Hod was a form of Lishon Harah, hence the leprosy. He became aware of a level of Hod that is in a category beyond any other, Hod in Hod, an inner essence that simply must be appreciated as being beyond comprehension.
Hod in Hod is to sense the “Beyond” that lies in everyone and everything’s Hod.

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai saw everything in Torah and the physical world through the eyes of Hod in Hod. Whatever he saw or studied was through the lens of Hod in Hod. It was on this day that Rabbi Shimon revealed the “Beyond” of all of creation.


  1. Take a moment when learning, praying, or performing a Mitzvah to focus on the “Beyond” of the words and actions.
  2. Try to sense the “Beyond” of the people closest to you.


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