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The Greatness Of Modesty

Modesty, both in conduct to people and in dress and speech has always been a deeply praised virtue - especially for Jewish women. There once lived a woman in Jerusalem by the name of Kimchis, who symbolized this virtue and was blessed for it.

Kimchis had seven sons and they were the family of the Kohen Gadol, the High Priest. Indeed, the oldest son was privileged to serve in that illustrious position.

On the eve of Yom Kippur he was in the Holy Temple practicing the important and complicated ritual when a message arrived for him.

It said, "An Arab king has arrived in the city and desires to meet the Kohen Gadol."

Leaving the service for a moment, the Kohen went to meet the king. As they were speaking, however, the king was forced to spit and some of his saline tarnished the garments of the High Priest, making him impure for the holy Yom Kippur services.

The second-to-the-eldest brother was next in line and, by a strange coincidence, no sooner did he begin to reign as the Kohen Gadol, then he, too, became impure. The same thing occurred to all seven of Kimchis' sons: Each one had an opportunity to serve as the Kohen Gadol for a brief time and then was forced to relinquish it to the next brother.

The Rabbis Ponder

The rabbis met and pondered the amazing coincidence.

"What is the virtue of Kimchis which gives her the great honor of having all seven of her sons serving as Kohen Gadol?

Calling the mother before them, they asked her if she knew and she replied, "I have no particular virtues. I only try to be humble and modest both to G-d and man."

When the rabbis heard this they declared, "All kimchaya (flour) is kemach (flour), but kemach d'Kimchis (the flour of Kimchis) is soless (the purest flour of all).

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