Priestly Garments
Garments play an important role in the life of a Jew. But in no area is the significance of clothing more pronounced than in the Bais Hamikdash. When a Kohain-Priest offered sacrifices or lit the Menorah, he had to wear the four Priestly garments. The Kohain Gadol-High Priest could not officiate without an additional four garments.
The Priestly garments endowed the Kohain with dignity and beauty and pointed to the ultimate state of perfection in which the external appearance mirrored the internal.
The Talmud ascribes another quality to the priestly garments. Each one of them brought atonement for a specific sin.
The Me’il-the Robe with its bells, the Talmud (Arachin 16a) states, atoned for lashon hara, slander. “The Holy One, blessed is He, said, ‘Let something that emits sound come and atone for acts of emitting sound.’”
One is entitled to ask, how does the mere wearing of garment effect atonement for any sin, let alone the sin of lashon hara, which our Sages equate with idolatry, adultery and bloodshed?
It may be suggested that the answer is actually provided for in the very detailed requirements of the robe mentioned in the Torah, in this week’s parsha:
You should make the Robe of the Apron entirely out of t’cheiles (turquoise wool). Its collar at the top should be hemmed inside, the work of a professional weaver, like the collar of a coat of armor. It must not be torn. On its bottom edge you should make pomegranate shapes… and golden bells… [W]hen he performs the service, and its sound should be heard when he enters the Holy Place before G‑d…
Negating Idolatry
The first description of the robe in this verse is that it was associated with the Ephod/Apron. It was worn underneath the Apron. The Apron, the Talmud states atoned for the sin of idolatry.
The message then is, to be enrobed and enveloped with holiness that would sensitize us to not see the faults of others; we must negate idolatry in all of its forms, particularly self-worship. When a person is so full of himself he sees the negative in others. Sadly, exposing the other’s negativity enhances one’s own sense of importance.
To wean ourselves off the need to see and speak of the other’s deficiencies we must be garbed with the power to remove every vestige of self-glorification from our heart. 
Redirecting Love and Fear
The second description of the robe in this verse is that it had to be made entirely out of t’cheiles.  In Chassidic literature this material is seen, alternately, as a metaphor for love of and fear/reverence for G‑d. T’cheiles  is related to a word that means to be consumed with passion for G‑d. Conversely, the Talmud sees the bluish color of the t’cheiles as a reminder of the blue heavens to foster an awareness of and reverence for G‑d.
Thus, to buttress our efforts at combatting the obsession with seeing the negative in others we must transform our emotions of love and fear and divert them in the direction of G‑d. Without that redirection we allow our hearts to focus on our own interests and fears. When we are full of anxiety we look for enemies that don’t exist; we see the negativity in others. When we are consumed with self-love we feel compelled to justify it by demeaning others. This makes us look good and worthy of that self-love.
When we channel our love at G‑d and G‑dly things and our fear/reverence to G‑d we no longer have the need to look down at others, which is the root of lashon hara.
“Head in the Mouth”
The third description of the Robe is that its collar should be hemmed at the top.
The Chassidic work Ohaiv Yisroel provides a novel interpretation of the symbolism in this requirement, following its literal rendition:
Its head shall be inside its mouth; a hem shall be made around its mouth.
This, the Ohaiv Yisroel states, is to suggest that we must place our heads in our mouths. We must think before speaking and thereby create a hem, a guard and protection for the words that emit from our mouths.
Get Professional Help!
The fourth description of the Robe is that it must be the work of a professional weaver.
This effort at creating this Robe that transforms our idolatrous way of thinking and self-serving emotions cannot be entrusted to amateurs. We must seek the counsel of professionals. As our Sages state (Ethics of the Fathers Chapter one): “Make for yourself a teacher.” Every individual has to look for someone who can inspire, guide and support this transformation.
Coat of Armor
The fifth description of the Robe is that it must be like the collar of a coat of armor.
All of the preceding measures are based on the need to transform ourselves by ceasing idolatrous self-worship and the redirection of our passion and anxiety with the assistance of our mentors.
All of the above, however, does not necessarily protect us from external threats. We must therefore create spiritual armor that will deflect all of the poisonous arrows of hatred and division that come from the environment.
There are two ways of creating a protective shield. The first is to withdraw from society, live a totally insular life and shun all influences from the outside world. 
The problem with this approach is that it cannot fully succeed in preventing all of the outside influences from getting through. A bullet proof vest can shield one’s torso from an assassin’s bullet, but it doesn’t shield the head. Without even realizing it, the insidious hostile influences find ways of entering our minds and from our minds into our speech and every other part of our lives.
This is particularly true in this day and age, when it has become virtually impossible to keep out all of the most negative influences from our homes, schools and children.
The Best Defense is a Good Offense!
There must be another form of armor that can protect us.
This second approach is based on a Biblical verse that describes tzedakah/charity as armor. The Talmud (Bava Basra 9b) cites the prophet Yeshayahu’s declaration: “And he garbed himself with tzedakah as a coat of mail…” as an ode to the power of tzedakah to shield us.
The ideal fashion to protect ourselves from outside influences is as the famous adage goes, “the best defense is a good offense.”
When we reach out to others and give them both material and spiritual tzedakah, we become impervious to the outside influences.
First of all, we are too busy reaching out to others with a positive message that we have no time and energy to absorb the negative vibes. To paraphrase a Talmudic principle regarding the kosher laws: When a pot is busy spewing out its contents it cannot simultaneously absorb new flavors.
Second, little by little, every effort at spiritual tzedakah neutralizes, refines and transforms the environment.
Don’t Rip it!
The sixth description of the Robe is that it must not be torn.
There are people who, in the process of influencing others, have the need to rip them. This is not the way we get rid of the negativity in others. We may not rip the Robe. Some even apply the idea of “ripping the Robe” in dealing with their own negative traits and actions. While Judaism does advocate rebuking others along with serious soul-searching and repentance it does not want us to rip the other or ourselves in the process. Any effort at strengthening our defenses must not be destructive.
Pomegranates and Bells
The seventh description of the Robe is that it had to have woolen pomegranates and golden bells on its bottom edge. These bells were designed to ring when the High Priest would enter the Holy Place.
The Rebbe explains that the bells worn by the High Priest convey a message, specifically, for these last days of exile. Our mission today is to bring the light of Torah and Mitzvos to those who have yet to appreciate their value. These Jews are represented by the pomegranates, about which the Talmud states, “Even the sinners among you are filled with Mitzvos as a pomegranate is filled with seeds.” The way we educate them must involve making a lot of noise represented by the bells on the bottom of the Robe.
We cannot be content with quiet and deliberate action to reach all of our lost brethren. We must employ all forms of publicity and fanfare to reach the largest number of Jews and bring them back into the fold.
This message assumes even more importance after the Rebbe told us that our mission now is to prepare ourselves and the entire world for the coming of Moshiach and the Final Redemption. To accomplish this we have to harness every form of modern technology and ring the bells of our Robe.
Getting Rid of Galus—the Ultimate Lashon Hara
The message of how to deal with lashon hara through wearing the Robe is especially poignant today. Galus/exile is one big lashon hara  experience. In Galus we, our Torah and our G‑d are continually slandered by the enemies of Israel. The connection of lashon hara to Galus can be understood, mystically as well. Divine speech, responsible for the creation of the world, is now cloaked and concealed so that evil can exist. T
To counter the slander and usher in the ultimate age of lashon tov, positive speech, the above seven steps are necessary:
a) Negate idolatrous self-worship.
b) Redirect our passion and anxiety into love of G‑d and fear/reverence for Him.
c) Put our heads in our mouths; having our minds control our speech.
d) Avail ourselves of the help of mentors.
e) Wear protective armor. Mount a vigorous offense by reaching out and transforming the dark world.
f) We must not rip others or ourselves.
g) Our “offensive” must avail itself of every means at its disposal, with as much fanfare, to introduce the world to Judaism, with particular emphasis on preparing for Moshiach.



Moshiach Matters!


Within the soul of every Jew there is a spark of the soul of the King Moshiach. Perceived from the other side, it thus goes without saying that the soul of Moshiach is based and built on the souls of all the individual Jews, regardless of their tribe of origin and regardless of their actual spiritual state. The very existence of a Jew is connected with Moshiach.