In this parasha, G‑d commands Moses to make the eight priestly garments of the High Priest and the four of the ordinary priest. One of the eight garments of the High Priest is the headband [or "tzitz"]:

Make a pure gold headband and engrave on it [the words]: "Holy to G‑d [Havayah]". Put it on a turquoise sash so that it rest on the turban; it shall be opposite the front of the turban. It shall remain on Aaron's forehead, and thus Aaron will bear the iniquity of [the community with regard to] the sacred things that the Israelites consecrate for all their sacred gifts. It shall be on his forehead to always elicit divine favor. (Ex. 28:36-38)

When the mentality of Abba enters Zeir Anpin, [residual] radiances [of this light] issue from its sides [and shine] outside the forehead of Zeir Anpin.

The transcendent light of Abba…surrounds the mentality of Zeir Anpin, acting as an inspiration….

Zeir Anpin is the partzuf of the emotions; Abba is the partzuf of chochma, i.e. of transcendent insight. Although something of the mentality of Abba does inform (or "shine into") Zeir Anpin, in order that the emotions follow the dictates and lead of the new, divine insight, Zeir Anpin cannot contain all the intensity of the mentality of Abba that enters it. The aspects of the Abba-mentality that it cannot contain overflow, so to speak, and diffuse out of its brain.

Thus, the mentality (or "light") of Abba present in Zeir Anpin subdivides into two aspects: the immanent light, that is absorbed into and directly influences the mentality of Zeir Anpin, and transcendent light, that is not and does not.

[This light] acts as enveloping light surrounding the mentality [of Zeir Anpin], and this enveloping light is manifest [physically] as the headband of the High Priest.

The transcendent light of Abba is not lost, however. It surrounds the mentality of Zeir Anpin, acting as an inspiration and influencing it indirectly.

[The headband] is called the "tzitz", a noun in the masculine form, because it embodies the mentality of Abba, which is also masculine.

The word "tzitz" bring immediately to mind the word "tzitzit", ["tassle" or "fringe"], the wool tassle required to be affixed to four-cornered garments. The noun "tzitz", lacking any feminine suffix, is in the masculine form. "Tzitzit" is the same word but with a final tav, which indicates the feminine form.

Abba, the source of insight that "impregnates" the partzuf of Imma (bina) to develop a new way of looking at reality, is considered male relative to Imma.

Therefore, the headband of the High Priest was placed on the forehead above the [head-]tefillin, for the tefillin embody the mentality of Imma, while the headband embodies the mentality of Abba.

The Exodus from Egypt is the 'birth' of holy emotions from the womb of the mind….

The Torah calls the tefilin "a [means of] remembrance between your eyes" (Ibid. 13:9). From this we see that the head-tefillin are meant to influence our mentality, to keep the Exodus from Egypt and all it signifies in our consciousness at all times. As we have seen previously, the significance of the Exodus from Egypt is the release (or "birth") of holy emotions from the womb of the mind, allowing us to express our divine mentality in our emotions rather than having non-holy emotions that are the product of constricted consciousness. The Exodus is thus a function of Imma, the mother of the emotions. The tefillin, whose purpose is to keep this process going, are thus also an expression of Imma. The tefillin-straps are the means by which the mentality of Imma descends into the heart and body, where the emotions are felt.

Therefore, the tzitz is placed higher than the tefillin, to indicate that it embodies the mentality of Abba while the tefillin embody the mentality of Imma.

(All that was said above with regard to tefillin applies in particular to Rashi-tefillin. Rabbeinu Tam-tefillin, in contrast, are said to embody the mentality of Abba, just like the headband.)

Therefore, the words "Holy to G‑d" were inscribed on it, since the word "holy" refers always to the intellect, as is known, and particularly to the mentality of Abba, which is called "holy". As is known, the word "holy" refers particularly to chochma.

"Holy" [in Hebrew, "kadosh"] means "set above", "separate", "removed", or "beyond". Relative to the emotions, the intellect is considered "holy", since the intellect is objective and takes a person beyond himself, whereas emotions are inherently subjective and self-oriented. Within the realm of the intellect itself, chochma is considered "holy" relative to bina, for chochma is the transcendent insight that carries the person beyond himself, while bina is the development of his own intellect per se.

To explain: Within Abba is manifest the name Havayah spelled out with the letter yud.

The headband would read…the mind of the person passing in front of it….

This is the name Ab (= 72), spelled yud-vav-dalet hei-yud vav-yud-vav hei-yud. The fact that the name Havayah is spelled out in this case with the letter yud indicates that it is associated with chochma, for in the name Havayah itself, the yud embodies chochma; the first hei, bina; the vav, the emotions, and the final hei, malchut.

This [spelling-out] contains four yud's, each of which possesses [an expanded] numerical value of 100. Thus, the combined [expanded] numerical value of the four yud's of the name Ab is 400.

The normal numerical value of yud is 10. Each yud is thus taken to signify the array of ten sefirot, which sub-divides via inter-inclusion into 100 sub-sefirot.

If we add 4 for the four yud's themselves, we reach the numerical value of the word for "holy" [in Hebrew, "kodesh"], as we have explained elsewhere.

400 + 4 = 404.

"Kodesh" is spelled: kuf-dalet-shin = 100 + 4 + 300 = 404.

The light of the four internal mentalities of Abba [that cannot be contained with Zeir Anpin] pierces outward [at the level of] the forehead of Zeir Anpin, specifically, from the two sides of the forehead adjacent to the ears. The [transcendent] radiance of chochma of Abba and the states of chesed within daat of Abba issues from the [right] side. The [transcendent] radiance of bina and the states of gevura with daat of Abba [issue] from the [left] side.

The head-tefillin contains four compartments, into which are inserted four strips of parchment onto which have been written the four passages from the Torah that mention tefillin. (Ex. 13:1-10, 13:11-16, Deut. 6:4-9, 11:13-21) This indicates that there are four aspects of the consciousness of the Exodus that we are to maintain. These four mentalities are identified in Kabbalah as the four aspects of the intellect: chochma, bina, the source of chesed within daat, and the source of gevura within daat. The sources of chesed and gevura within daat are referred to as "the states of chesed within daat" and "the states of gevura within daat", respectively.

Just as the intellect in general is divided into these three/four sefirot, the mentality of Abba is also sub-divided into these four aspects. Two of them, chochma of Abba and chesed of daat of Abba, are masculine and therefore issue to the right; the other two, bina of Abba and gevura of daat of Abba, are feminine and therefore issue to the left.

They then all spread around the forehead [of Zeir Anpin], forming the headband of the High Priest.

It seems to me [Rabbi Chaim Vital] that I also heard from my master [the Arizal], of blessed memory, that the name Havayah was engraved on the headband as follows: the yud and the vav were engraved on the right side, one above the other, and the two hei's on the left side, one above the other. But I do not remember this well.

This would fit in well with what was previously explained, that the masculine "lights" issued via the area around the right ear and the feminine light via the area around the left ear.

Now, the High Priest was modeled after Supernal Man, and therefore would wear the garments of Supernal Man.

"Supernal Man" is Zeir Anpin, the arrangement of the sefirot in the human form.

[Regarding] anyone who would pass in front of the headband, if he was a righteous person, it would be evident on his [own] forehead, for his bina would be revealed on his forehead. Letters are at the level of bina, as we have stated previously, and that is why letters are revealed on the forehead, which is [the individual's] bina.

The holiness of the headband would "call forth" the holiness of the person's intellect, causing it to be manifest on that person's forehead. Thus, the headband would "read" the "letters" or "words" in the mind of the person passing in front of it.

While the experience of chochma is essentially beyond articulation (i.e. beyond "letters"), the task of bina is to take this transcendent experience and translate it into language ("letters").

If the person was wicked, his face would fall into the Other Side, and he would be embarrassed before the holiness [of the headband] and would repent.

"The Other Side" [Sitra Achra] refers to the realm of evil. The wickedness of the individual, when confronted with the holiness of the headband, would be manifest on his forehead, and this embarassment would spur him to repent.

[Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Ta'amei HaMitzvot, parashat Tetzaveh; subsequently published in "Apples From the Orchard."]

Reprinted with permission from Chabad of California. Copyright 2004 by Chabad of California, Inc. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work or portions thereof, in any form, without permission, in writing, from Chabad of California, Inc.