Embracing Imperfection
1א
(טז) וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר ה' אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר׃ (יז) דַּבֵּ֥ר אֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֖ן לֵאמֹ֑ר אִ֣ישׁ מִֽזַּרְעֲךָ֞ לְדֹרֹתָ֗ם אֲשֶׁ֨ר יִהְיֶ֥ה בוֹ֙ מ֔וּם לֹ֣א יִקְרַ֔ב לְהַקְרִ֖יב לֶ֥חֶם אֱלֹקָֽיו׃ (יח) כִּ֥י כָל־אִ֛ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־בּ֥וֹ מ֖וּם לֹ֣א יִקְרָ֑ב אִ֤ישׁ עִוֵּר֙ א֣וֹ פִסֵּ֔חַ א֥וֹ חָרֻ֖ם א֥וֹ שָׂרֽוּעַ׃ (יט) א֣וֹ אִ֔ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־יִהְיֶ֥ה ב֖וֹ שֶׁ֣בֶר רָ֑גֶל א֖וֹ שֶׁ֥בֶר יָֽד׃ (כ) אֽוֹ־גִבֵּ֣ן אוֹ־דַ֔ק א֖וֹ תְּבַלֻּ֣ל בְּעֵינ֑וֹ א֤וֹ גָרָב֙ א֣וֹ יַלֶּ֔פֶת א֖וֹ מְר֥וֹחַ אָֽשֶׁךְ׃ (כא) כָּל־אִ֞ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־בּ֣וֹ מ֗וּם מִזֶּ֙רַע֙ אַהֲרֹ֣ן הַכֹּהֵ֔ן לֹ֣א יִגַּ֔שׁ לְהַקְרִ֖יב אֶת־אִשֵּׁ֣י ה' מ֣וּם בּ֔וֹ אֵ֚ת לֶ֣חֶם אֱלֹקָ֔יו לֹ֥א יִגַּ֖שׁ לְהַקְרִֽיב׃ (כב) לֶ֣חֶם אֱלֹקָ֔יו מִקָּדְשֵׁ֖י הַקֳּדָשִׁ֑ים וּמִן־הַקֳּדָשִׁ֖ים יֹאכֵֽל׃ (כג) אַ֣ךְ אֶל־הַפָּרֹ֜כֶת לֹ֣א יָבֹ֗א וְאֶל־הַמִּזְבֵּ֛חַ לֹ֥א יִגַּ֖שׁ כִּֽי־מ֣וּם בּ֑וֹ וְלֹ֤א יְחַלֵּל֙ אֶת־מִקְדָּשַׁ֔י כִּ֛י אֲנִ֥י ה' מְקַדְּשָֽׁם׃
(16) The LORD spoke further to Moses: (17) Speak to Aaron and say: No man of your offspring throughout the ages who has a defect shall be qualified to offer the food of his God. (18) No one at all who has a defect shall be qualified: no man who is blind, or lame, or has a limb too short or too long; (19) no man who has a broken leg or a broken arm; (20) or who is a hunchback, or a dwarf, or who has a growth in his eye, or who has a boil-scar, or scurvy, or crushed testes. (21) No man among the offspring of Aaron the priest who has a defect shall be qualified to offer the LORD’s offering by fire; having a defect, he shall not be qualified to offer the food of his God. (22) He may eat of the food of his God, of the most holy as well as of the holy; (23) but he shall not enter behind the curtain or come near the altar, for he has a defect. He shall not profane these places sacred to Me, for I the LORD have sanctified them.
2ב

(ח) ולהגדיל הבית עוד - הגדיל מעלת עובדיו ונבדלו 'הכהנים והלוים' וציוה להלביש ה'כוהנים' בגדים נאים ומלבושים יפים וטובים "בגדי קודש לכבוד ולתפארת" ושלא ישמש ב'עבודה' 'בעל מום' ולא בעל מום לבד אלא הכיעורים גם כן 'פוסלים' ב'כהנים' - כמו שהתבארה בתלמוד זאת ה'מצוה' - מפני שההמון לא יגדל אדם אצלם בצורתו האמיתית אלא בשלמות איבריו ויפי בגדיו; והמכוון - שתהיה לבית גדולה ותפארת אצל הכל.

(8) In order to raise the estimation of the Temple, those who ministered therein received great honour: and the priests and Levites were therefore distinguished from the rest. It was commanded that the priests should be clothed properly with beautiful and good garments, "holy garments for glory and for beauty" (Exod. 28:2). A priest that had a blemish was not allowed to officiate; and not only those that had a blemish were excluded from the service, but also--according to the Talmudic interpretation of this precept--those that had an abnormal appearance; for the multitude does not estimate man by his true form but by the perfection of his bodily limbs and the beauty of his garments, and the temple was to be held in great reverence by all.

3ג

אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל מפני מה לא נמשכה מלכות בית שאול מפני שלא היה בו שום דופי דאמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יהוצדק אין מעמידין פרנס על הציבור אלא אם כן קופה של שרצים תלויה לו מאחוריו שאם תזוח דעתו עליו אומרין לו חזור לאחוריך

As Rabbi Yoḥanan said in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yehotzadak: One appoints a leader over the community only if he has a box full of creeping animals hanging behind him, i.e., he has something inappropriate in his ancestry that preceded him. Why is that? It is so that if he exhibits a haughty attitude toward the community, one can say to him: Turn and look behind you and be reminded of your humble roots. This is why David’s kingdom lasted while Saul’s did not, as David descended from a family with problematic ancestry, namely Tamar (see Genesis, chapter 38) and Ruth the Moabite (see Ruth 4:18–22).

4ד
אמר ליה אימת אתי משיח אמר ליה זיל שייליה לדידיה והיכא יתיב אפיתחא דקרתא ומאי סימניה יתיב ביני עניי סובלי חלאים וכולן שרו ואסירי בחד זימנא איהו שרי חד ואסיר חד אמר דילמא מבעינא דלא איעכב
Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said to Elijah: When will the Messiah come? Elijah said to him: Go ask him. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi asked: And where is he sitting? Elijah said to him: At the entrance of the city of Rome. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi asked him: And what is his identifying sign by means of which I can recognize him? Elijah answered: He sits among the poor who suffer from illnesses. And all of them untie their bandages and tie them all at once, but the Messiah unties one bandage and ties one at a time. He says: Perhaps I will be needed to serve to bring about the redemption. Therefore, I will never tie more than one bandage, so that I will not be delayed.