NOVEMBER 20, 2021
Then you shall kill the ram, and take some of its blood and put it on the tip of the right ear of Aaron and on the tip of the right ear of his sons, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood all around on the altar.
At first glance this instruction seems a bit odd and, for those not inclined to see beyond the surface of things, maybe even bizarre and troubling. Yet, we know that God has a purpose for everything He does and for everything He instructs us to do. First of all, understanding the role of blood in the process of redemption and its necessity for the forgiveness of sins is essential if we are to understand anything about the role of the priests and the Sanctuary itself. Blood is emblematic of life itself and it is through the shedding of blood that the guilt of sin is atoned for.
That something regarded as precious as blood was to be placed upon the priests begs us to consider why it was on placed on their right ear, their right thumb and right big toe. Rabbinical commentary offers an opinion on the matter. Rabbi Raphael Hirsch offered this interpretation: “Through the ear, one hears and understands; through the hand, one acts; through the feet, one moves about. All three are consecrated to show that the Cohen dedicates all his faculties to God's service.”
In other words, as the priests were being inaugurated into service, they were reminded that they were to “hear” what God said and to “do” what God said. Likewise, as representatives of the Messiah, we are consecrated to hear and to do according to His will. Our ears are not to be dull of hearing but are to be sensitive to heed and understand His voice. Our hands and feet must not be polluted with sinful deeds but be dedicated to go and to act according to His will. In short, this ritual was a reminder to them and to us that those who are called to serve the Almighty are to dedicate their entire being to Him without reservation or exception. So then, let us serve Him in the way that He expects and deserves — with all of our heart, soul and strength.