Bemidbar May 25, 2017

The Kohathites were a clan within the priestly Levite tribe who were tasked with carrying the parts of the Mishkan (the Tabernacle in the wilderness) from encampment to encampment.  In the very last verse of this week’s parasha, we are told that they were not to see the Holy of Holies (the innermost sanctum of the Mishkan) after it had been dismantled.  (Numbers  4: 20) Why would this be so?  If they were going to carry the pieces, wouldn’t they see the holy place in pieces anyway?   Perhaps, but they would not see what the Holy of Holies actually looked like in a disheveled state.  Much like we might not mind if a guest sees our pajamas hanging on a door, but we would not like to be seen wearing them, so, too, the Kohathites were protected from seeing the holy place in a state of “undress” to maintain its dignity and the high esteem in which they held it. Perhaps they would no longer regard it as holy. (After the commentary of Samson Raphael Hirsch.)