75 words for 75 years of Israel – Tiferet/Beauty

In honor of Israel’s 75th birthday, Israel365 is excited to launch a new series of essays that will unlock the secrets of the Hebrew Bible!

Excerpted from Rabbi Akiva Gersh’s forthcoming book, 75 Hebrew Words You Need to Understand the Bible (available now!) these essays illuminate the connection between related Hebrew words, revealing Biblical secrets only accessible through Hebrew.

Enjoy the series – and happy 75th birthday to the State of Israel!

תִּפְאֶרֶת

TIFERET

TEEF-EH-RET

BEAUTY

“Make sacral vestments for your brother Aaron, for dignity and beauty.” (Exodus 28:2)

ועשית בגדי קדש לאהרן אחיך לכבוד ולתפארת.

“And He said to me, ‘You are My servant, Israel in whom I glory.’” (Isaiah 49:3)

ויאמר לי עבדי אתה ישראל אשר בך אתפאר.

The Bible uses the word tiferet, Hebrew for “beauty” or “glory,” to describe the special garments that the priests wore in the Tabernacle and the Temple during the performance of their service of God. These garments beautified the priests’ appearance and brought glory to God through the presence of such beauty in His sanctuary.

“And He said to me, ‘You are My servant, Israel in whom I glory’” (Isaiah 49:3). Though God is infinite and transcends this physical world, mankind can and must bring Him glory through holy deeds. When we beautify our service and worship of God, we bring God even greater glory. 

The sages teach, “Which is the straight path that a man should choose for himself? One which is tiferet to the person who follows it, and which also brings tiferet to him from others.” This means our actions should be beautiful, both to us and to those observing us. By serving God with tiferet, we not only glorify God but also inspire others to do so as well. 

In Kabbalistic thought, the attribute of tiferet is the “golden mean,” representing the balance between the attributes of giving and kindness on the one hand, and the attributes of concealment and restraint on the other. There are times when we must give with abundant kindness, and there are times when love requires that we hold back and restrain ourselves from giving. Balancing these attributes requires great wisdom. This holy balance is represented by the attribute of tiferet, for it beautifies our world and glorifies God.

The Israel Bible Team

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