Priestly Garment: Pa’amon ve-Rimon

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Dear Rabbi Simon,
In last week parashah, the Kohen Gadol’s ceremonial robe was adorned with Bells and Rimonim (pomegranates). I have read that the Bells were to alert people (or possibly the angels?), that the Kohen Gadol is approaching. What function did the Rimonim serve. I could not find any explanation. Nothing in the Torah without a reason.
Looking forward to receiving your explanation.
Shavoua Tov & kind regards

Dear Aaron,
TY for your astute question. You are certainly correct that nothing in the Torah is devoid of meaning. By way of speculation only, I would suggest the following: The Talmud (Arakhin 16a) teaches that the me’il (robe) of the Kohen Gadol atoned for lashon ha-ra. This is hinted to by the tinkling of the bells on the hem of his tunic, which evokes the prattle of gossipmongers. The silent rimonim represent the “mufflers” which suppress the sound of those who speak too readily. Note that according to some (Ramban, unlike Rashi), the bells were actually situated within and not just between the hollow spheres of the decorative rimonim.
I would also observe that, in general, in the Middle East a pomegranate is a symbol of any round fruit, just as an apple represents the same in European literature and art. Nevertheless, in Jewish thought the rimon represents fruitfulness and particularly mitzvot, as it is said to contain 613 seeds.
Tizkeh le-mitzvot!
Rabbi Rashi Simon

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Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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