Priest on a Rope
I heard something about tying a rope to the High Priest in the Holy Temple. What was that all about?
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
In the Second Temple period, some people who were unfit took the position of High Priest. When they entered the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur, they died, since they lacked the ability to handle the spiritual power of that place.
The other priests had to devise a plan to pull the dead body out, since no one other than the High Priest was allowed to enter in the Holy of Holies. So they tied a golden rope to the High Priest’s leg when he entered the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur.
Those waiting outside the Holy of Holies would listen for the bells on the bottom of the High Priest's robe, to see if he was still alive.
(sources: Zohar – Acharei Mot 67a, Emor 102a; Talmud – Yoma 53b; Me'am Loaz; Arbanel – Exodus 28:33)