Daily Aliya for Pekudei, Sheni (2nd Aliya)
Aliya Summary: The high priest’s ephod — a reversed apron which covered the back — and its precious-stone-studded shoulder straps were made. The High Priest’s Choshen Mishpat (“Breastplate of Judgment”) was assembled. It contained four rows of precious stones, each row containing three stones. Artisans engraved the names of the Twelve Tribes of Israelupon these twelve stones. The Choshen Misphat was then secured by straps which connected it to the ephod.
The names of the 12 tribes were engraved on the stones, six on each stone. How the names were divided is the subject of dispute among our various sources. One reason why this could be imporatnt is because the stones were very useful in answering questions and helping in battle, and the tribes’ name placement could be the reason. Not because of where each name was, but because each name was represented equally. The dispute is geared toward dividing the names equally, so everyone can get credit for the stones’ helpfulness.