Have you ever noticed that people with specific jobs often wear uniforms that make them stand out in the crowd? Think about the clothes worn by policemen, firefighters, soldiers, airline pilots or doctors. Their clothes send us a clear message – these people have a special status, skill, or important task.
Similarly, the Kohanim wore distinctive clothing so that the Kohanim themselves would feel how important their jobs were, and so Bnei Yisrael would treat them with utmost respect. Truthfully, giving the proper respect to the Kohanim was a form of respect to HaShem’s special home – the holy Mishkan.
Interestingly, we have no idea about what type of clothes our forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov wore. How about Yosef’s special coat given to him by his father, Yaakov? Besides the fact that it had many colors, the way it looked is a complete mystery. And how did Moshe and his wife Tzipporah dress? Once again, we have no idea.
Yet, when it came to the clothes of the Kohanim and the Kohen Gadol, HaShem elaborated and gave Moshe specific instructions, “You shall speak to the expertly skilled weavers, and have them make the clothes of the Kohanim, for dignity and splendor. Every Kohen serving in the Mishkan shall wear four special garments:
1) Kesones – a long, floor-length shirt made of white linen.
2) Avnait – a very long, multicolored belt, wound many times around the waist.
3) Michnasayim – white linen pants.
4) Migba’as – a white linen turban wrapped many times around the head, forming a point at the top.”