Daniel and Karl are joined by Rabbi Daniel Vaisrub, and many things are revealed about Judaism that Karl never knew. Such as the apocalyptic hope that the third temple will descend from on high and that the ephod might just look like the costume of a French princess. You can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes or any other fine podcast distributor, or you can listen to it using the player below. Midrash about Exodus 28 is below the player.
(Midrash Rabbah) There was once a prince whose tutor would enter into the presence of the king on behalf of the prince; but the tutor was afraid of those who stood by the king, lest one of them should attack him. What did the king do? He clothed him in his royal purple cloak, so that all who saw him might be afraid of him.
Similarly, Aaron used to enter [into the presence of G‑d] . . . and had it not been for the many merits which entered with him and aided him, he would have been unable to go in, on account of the angels that were there. For this reason G‑d provided him garments after the pattern of the Divine garments . . . as it says (Isaiah 59:17): “[G‑d] donned righteousness as a coat of mail, and a helmet of salvation upon His head, and He put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as with a cloak.”
(Rashi) They shall make the ephod. . . . It shall have its two shoulder-pieces joined at its two edges . . . And the finely wrought girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same (28:6–8)
I haven’t heard, nor have I found in the Talmud, an explanation of [the ephod’s] form. My heart tells me that it is tied on the back, its width the width of a person’s back, its form like the apron worn by princesses when they ride horses . . .
Ruby, chrysolite, beryl . . . turquoise, sapphire, diamond . . . ligure, agate, jasper . . . emerald, shoham, jade (28:17–20)
…In addition to the names of the tribes, the Talmud states that the stones also contained the words “Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, shivtei yeshurun (‘righteous tribes’),” so the breastplate should contain all 22 letters of the Holy Tongue.
(The Lubavitcher Rebbe) The breastplate shall not budge from the ephod (28:28)
The ephod was worn in back and below the waist; the breastplate, on the front and upper part of the wearer. Thus the deeper significance of the commandment “The breastplate shall not budge from the ephod” (which ranks as one of the 365 prohibitions of the Torah) is that there must be no “gap” between the upper and lower aspects of life, or between its forward and backward elements. True, the human being consists of both the sensitive heart and the functional foot; true, life is composed of sublimely spiritual moments as well as the daily tending to one’s material needs. But the “ephod” must be securely bound to the “choshen.” The upper must permeate the lower, and the external must never lose sight of its inner essence and purpose.
(Rashi; Talmud) You shall put into the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Tumim (28:30)
The Urim and Tumim (“illuminator and verifier”) was an inscription of the name of G‑d. Inserted in the folds of the breastplate, it caused the letters inscribed on its stones to light up in response to queries posed by the community leaders, as it is written (Number 27:21): “[Joshua] shall stand before Elazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of the Urim before G‑d: by this word shall they go out and by this word they shall come in, both he and all the children of Israel with him.” This is why it was called the “breastplate of judgement,” since it decided and determined things for the people.
(Midrash Rabbah) On the hem [of the cloak] you shall make . . . bells of gold . . . and its sound shall be heard when he goes in to the Holy (28:33–35)
Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai said: There are four things which the Holy One, blessed be He, hates, and I too dislike them . . . [the fourth thing is,] one who enters his house suddenly—how much more so his neighbor’s house . . .
When Rabbi Yochanan went to inquire after the welfare of Rabbi Chanina, he would knock at the door, in conformity with the verse “Its sound shall be heard when he goes in.”
You shall make the sash, embroidered work (28:39)
The Sash was 32 cubits (approximately 48 feet) long (Midrash; Maimonides). It was wound 32 times around the waist (Tosafot). Other say that it was 36 cubits long (Midrash). It was 2, 3 or 4 fingers wide (Maimonides; Josephus).