Parashat Tetzaveh: Exodus; Chapter 27 Verse 20 – Chapter 30 Verse 10

02/21/2018 10:58:53 AM


General Overview: This week we discover the special garments worn by the Kohanim (priests) and Kohen Gadol (high priest) when serving in the Mishkan (Tabernacle). Following that, we read G‑d's instructions to Moses regarding the seven-day inauguration for the Tabernacle. The portion concludes with a description of one of the vessels of the Mishkan; the Incense Altar.

1st Section: The Parasha opens with the commandment to use pure olive oil in lighting the Menorah. Aaron and his four sons were selected to be the Kohanim. The basic garments of a Kohen consisted of a turban, shirt, pants, and belt. The Kohen Gadol wore four additional garments: the Me’il – a long outer robe; the Ephod – a quilted vest or bibbed apron; the Choshen – jeweled breastplate; and the Tzitz – engraved, golden, forehead plate. The quilted vest is described in this Aliya along with the two Shoham stones. These were engraved with the names of the 12 Tribes and set on the shoulders of the Kohen Gadol.

2nd Section: The cloth settings for the Shoham stones are described along with the jeweled breastplate. The method of fastening the breastplate to the quilted vest is explained. The breastplate was a quilted garment set with 12 stones, each engraved with the name of a Tribe.

3rd Section: The long outer robe is described. The hem of this garment was edged with small bells intended to announce the presence of the Kohen Gadol as he walked through the Mishkan, and one day the Bet Hamikdash (Temple). (From this the Talmud derives that a husband, prior to entering the door of his own home, out of respect for his wife, should announce his arrival by knocking on the door.) The engraved, golden forehead plate and the Kohen Gadol’s turban are described, along with the four basic garments worn by all Kohanim. All the garments were hand made of the finest white linen. The special vestments of the Kohen Gadol were woven from a special thread spun from five different colored threads, including a thread made of pure gold.

4th, 5th & 6th Sections: The seven day ceremony consecrating the Kohanim into their priestly service is detailed along with the consecration of the Mizbeach (Altar).

7th Section: The last vessel to be described is the inner, golden Altar, used to burn the daily incense offering. This offering, as well as the daily preparation for the lighting of the Menorah, could only be performed by the Kohen Gadol. The special mixture of incense called the Ketores, could only be formulated for this purpose. (The renowned biblical archeologist, Vendell Jones, claims to have unearthed a hidden cache containing 600 kilos of the Ketores, buried before the 1st Temple was destroyed).

Special Maftir: This week is the Shabbat before Purim, on which we celebrate the defeat of Haman the Amalekite’s plot to destroy the Jewish people, the weekly Parshah is supplemented with an additional portion called Parashat Zachor (Deuteronomy; Chapter 25 Verses 17-19).

Maftir Summary: The Torah commands us to remember the evil of Amalek (since they waged war against the Jewish people after the Exodus of Egypt and the splitting of the sea) and to eradicate them from the face of the earth.

Haftara: Special Haftara for Shabbat Zachor (Shumel 1; Chapter 15).

Haftara Summary: The Prophet Shmuel instructed King Shaul to eradicate the nation of Amalek: men, women, children and possessions. Shaul killed the people, but left the thier King Agag and the cattle alive. Shmuel told Shaul that Hashem had rejected him as king of Israel, Shaul felt remorse. Shmuel executed Agag and then returned to Ramah and never saw Shaul again.

Thu, June 21 2018 8 Tammuz 5778