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"Full hands"?

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Rabbi Ari Shvat

Question
I’ve a question about the combination of the words "maleh" and "yad" as shown in verses like Shemot 29:35, 32:29, Vayikra 8:33, Bamidbar 3:3, 1 Divrei HaYamim 29:5, 2 Divrei HaYamim 6:4, 6:15, 13:9, 29:31 etc... Why is the wording ’full of hand’ as a idiom for dedication, consecration?
Answer
“Filling the hands” or “hands are full” is an old idiom based upon the ancient custom that upon receiving an appointment (see Shmot 28, 41 and Judges 17, 12), one was given an object to hold, like a crown, scepter, etc. (an identical term is used in this context in Akkadian). Regarding the Kohanim, they were probably given, upon anointment, the kohanic clothes or sacrifices (Unkulus, Ralbag, see Shmot 29, 24). The Torah Tmima (Vayikra 16, 141) convincingly adds that its connotation is: “fill (his) place”, as a substitute fills the place of his predecessor, for yad can also mean place (as in the common: “al-yad”=near the place, “yad Avshalom” Shmuel II, 18, 18 and especially Dvarim 23, 13).
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