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ונשא אהרן את משפט בני ישראל על לבו לפני ד' תמיד

Aharon shall bear the judgment of Bnei Yisrael on his heart before Hashem, constantly. (28:30)

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The Kohen Gadol’s spiritual eminence notwithstanding, his responsibility to the congregation remains paramount. He may never act in an aloof manner towards the people. They must always be “carried” on his heart, as he empathizes with their agonies and celebrates with each and every one of them during their ecstasies.

The Kotzker Rebbe, zl, explains the prohibition for the Kohen Gadol to defile himself spiritually to (even) his seven close relatives (unlike the ordinary Kohen who may do so to his father, mother, wife, brother, sister, son, daughter). The Kohen Gadol must carry all Jews equally on his shoulders. His love for the individual Jew should not be any different than the love he would normally have for his seven closest relatives Indeed, all Jews are his close relatives – without distinction.

Horav Mordechai Pogremansky, zl, was wont to say: “One who does not share or empathize with the pain experienced by his brother is close to being considered an animal; one who shares his brother’s joy is close to being considered an angel.”

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