The Connection between the Bigdei Kehunah,
Teshuva, and Adar
Rabbi Ahron Karr
The Gemara in Zevachim פח: says that bigdei kehunah are mechaper just like karbanos are mechaper. This is difficult to understand. One can understand how bringing a karban can bring one to regret and do teshuva, but how does wearing the glorious bigdei kahuna bring one to regret his sins? Wasn’t the purpose of the bigdei kahuna to be lekavod u’letiferes, not to atone for sins?
I heard from R’ Ephraim Wachsman that perhaps this Gemara is coming to teach us a unique way of doing teshuvah. A person can be compelled to do teshuvah when he realizes how bad his aveirah is and that he deserves to die. However, there is another way to approach the desire to do teshuva – to realize how great we can be, what heights we can achieve. The Seforim Hakedoshim say that each one of the bigdei kehunah corresponds to perfection of specific limbs. The bigdei kehunah are mechaper by inspiring us to reach great heights, our full potential.
During Elul and the Yomim Noraim we do teshuva in the standard way, through focusing on what we have done wrong, fasting and bringing karbanos. In Adar, a month filled with simcha, we can do teshuva by metaphorically donning the bigdei kahunah, by being mekabel the Torah and mitzvos on Purim, and by realizing how great we can be, what heights we can achieve, and aspiring to reach our full potential.