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Question
what are the stones on dress of Cohen Gadol and its szgulot? and its meaning.
Answer
ב"ה Shalom, I've had a similar question in the past. So, I basically will reiterate, what I've answered in the past with some additions. The names of the stones of the Cohen's breastplate appear in Shemot 28: 18-20, where Moshe was commanded to make the breastplate and to place the stones which are specified in the Torah. . There are various opinions among the commentators in identifying the stones and there is the job of then translating these names into English. I used the translation of "the Living Torah" by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan z"l , where he also added extensive notes. I strongly recommend studying them. (See Link: https://archive.org/stream/LivingTorah_201811/Bible%20OT%20condensed/LivingTorah_djvu.txt ( I should point out, I noticed discrepancies between the translation on line and the book in my possession) In addition, I think most of us would have to study some gemology to really understand what these stones are. The first row: carnelian, emerald, and a topaz. Second row: carbuncle, sapphire, and beryl. Third Row: jacinth, agate, and amethyst. Fourth Row: chrysolite, onyx, and jasper. Rabbenu Bachye in his commentary on the Torah (Shemot 28:17) speaks of qualities of the stones on the breastplate, however, according to Rav Shlomo Aviner Shlt"a, he relied upon popular medieval sources but not on Jewish sources. (See also נר באישון לילה, הרב אבינר עמ' 30) As I said, surely all these stones had symbolic and esoteric meaning when the Cohen wore them as the Torah says "… and they shall be over Aaron’s heart when he comes into the sanctuary. It shall be a constant remembrance before G-d" All the best
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