Torah Portion: Shemini
“ובגדיכם לא תפרומו” (ויקרא י ו)
It is a negative commandment that kohanim not enter the Sanctuary wearing torn garments, as it is written, and do not rend your garments (Vayikra 10:6).
Among the roots of the mitzvah is the idea written above, in the mitzvah of not entering the Sanctuary with grown hair.
The laws of the mitzvah include: The Sages taught that the forbidden type of rip in this prohibition is the same as one rips in mourning over the dead. This, apparently, is a tear of at least one tefach long.
The mitzvah applies when the Temple stands, to male kohanim. One who transgressed this and entered the Sanctuary at any point from the Altar and in while wearing ripped [priestly] garments and performed the Service, is liable to death at the hands of Heaven. If he merely entered there but did not perform any service in that state, he transgressed a sin and receives lashes. This is in accord with the opinion of Rambam, of blessed memory.