On Yom Kippur, the Kohen Gadol would change into his regular gold vestments or into his white linen garments. He changed his clothing a total of five times, each time immersing himself in the mikveh. He wore the simple white garments when he performed the service inside the Sanctuary. In contrast, he wore the gold ones outside. Horav Moshe Swift, z.l., remarks that in everyday life we, too, perform both ohbp ,sucg, service on the inside, and .uj ,sucg , service on the outside. Service to one another within the parameters of our homes and community defines avodas penim, while the manner in which we act towards society at large, the world community, and our fellow man reflects avodas chutz.
Our ultimate challenge is to realize our ability, to maintain focus and to differentiate between the interior service in our homes and the service outside in our routine endeavor. We must retain the sublime glory within and the dignity without. The Kohen Gadol stood outside attired in gold vestments, while inside he was robed in the simplicity of white linen. We, too, must present an image of gold, splendor, prestige and dignity to the outside world. Jewish distinctiveness must be apparent, shaping and developing the national character of Am Yisrael. We must carry ourselves high, resolutely exerting our influence in any way that can effect the development of a better world.
Within ourselves, in our own world and in our homes, we must clothe ourselves in the simplicity of Jewish practice and observance. Our lives must be pure, our homes replete with the sublimity of Jewish tradition. The religious idealism which has characterized our nation should not be exchanged for the “golden” vestments of career, financial security and political stature. The simplicity of Jewish life and faith which had been the hallmark of the Jew throughout the ages has suddenly been viewed with snobbish contempt by his contemporary descendant. Too many individuals have exchanged the primacy of the pure and simple for the enticing glitter of the gold of the outside world. This transformation will destroy our Jewish future. The balance between the outside and inside must be adjusted, so that our future will not become unbalanced.