Tetzaveh | תצוה | “You shall command ”
– Sons of the Light who does righteous deeds and who lead many to righteousness on the earth below as they hold on to the word of life will be like the stars forever.
– Sons of the pure oil will also shine like the brightness of the heavens above.
–Priest Anointed War: The grouping of Elijah, the Messiah, Melchizedek, and the War Messiah together is also interesting as the last three are linked to Yeshua our Heavenly Tzaddik and relates to the divine mandate of Mashiach ben Yosef.
This weekly portion of Tetzaveh is the twentieth reading from the Torah. Tetzaveh (תצוה) means “You shall command,” and it says, “You shall ( command ) the sons of Israel, that they bring you clear oil of beaten olives for the light, to make a lamp burn continually” (Exodus 27:20). Here it continues to describe the instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle, and explaining particularly on the priesthood that was to serve in that holy sanctuary. G-d appoints Aaron and his sons as priests, which describes the priestly clothing, and explains how to properly sanctify the priests.
You shall further instruct the Israelites to bring you clear oil of beaten olives for lighting, for kindling lamps regularly. – Exodus 27:20
- The children of Israel are commanded to bring pure olive oil for the constantly burning light above the sanctuary. ( Exodus 27:20-21 )
- Aaron and his sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar, are chosen to serve as priests. ( Exodus 28:1)
- G-d instructs Moses to make special clothes for the priests. ( Exodus 28:2-43 )
- Aaron and his sons are ordained in a seven-day ceremony ( Exodus 29:1-46 )
- Aaron is commanded to burn incense on an acacia altar every morning and evening. ( Exodus 30:1-10 )
veAtah Tetzave” (ואתה תצוה) – “And you, you must command…” -(Exodus 27:20): The verse could have simply said: ‘Tetzave’ which means “you must command.” Why do we need the word veAtah (and “you”)? In Hebrew it seems redundant. The word ‘Atah’ [Alef-Tav-Hei] is more complicated to explain, but basically, represents the Shekhinah (The Divine Presence).
“Ki lo Dabar rek hu mikhem” –“For there’s no vain [empty] word; it’s for you” –Deuteronomy 32:47
The term “veAtah” therefore connects Malkhut with Zeir Anpin (cf. Zohar Tetzave); in terms of the Zohar: the Upper Light (Ohr haElion) and the Lower Light (Ohr haTakhton) are included together, as in the verse: “veAtah sustaining them all” (Nehemiah 9:6). The whole work of the Tabernacle was done by the merits of uniting Zeir Anpin and the Divine Presence (Malkhut); which allowed Israel to bring the consciousness of Zeir Anpin into the realm of Malkhut (our world) – this being itself the secret of the priestly garments.
This the secret in the verse: ‘veAtah HaShem be not far from me’ (Psalm 22:19-20 ), as in the verse: “Do not cast me from your Presence, nor take your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalms 51:11- 13). Therefore it’s written: “The enemy laid his hands on all her treasures, she saw heathens enter her Sanctuary – those you had forbidden to enter your congregation” (Lamentations 1:10).
The Divine Presence was dwelling within each of the workers, so it’s written: “veAtah, you must speak to the wise hearted ones” (Exodus 28:3) (veAtah tedaber et kol Hakhmei Lev) ‘to whom (in singular) I have filled with spirit of wisdom’ (asher mileitin ruakh Hokhmah); the ‘singular who’ is the singular “Heart” (Lev) of all the workers, which is the Divine Presence within them – for the previous studies taught us that we are to be a House for the Divine Presence. Therefore it is taught: “And the Spirit of HaShem, Spirit of Wisdom, she will rest on him” (Isaiah 11:2). The poetical language of the Zohar refers to this as “The Holy Spirit whispered them secretly how to do the work”… and concerning the verse: “And you (veAtah) must command the sons of Israel” (Exodus 27:20) it says “the Holy Spirit (ie. veAtah) commands the sons of Israel and shine on them so they be inspired to do the work”.
So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts. -Zechariah 4:6.
From the book of New Testament:
Do you not know that you are the temple of G-d and that the Spirit of G-d dwells in you? -I Corinthians 3:16
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of G-d, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption -Ephesians 4:30
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. -John 14:25-26
“Command the Children of Israel to bring you pure olive oil, crushed for light, so the lamp shall burn continuously.” (Exodus 27:20). In the time to come, in the merit of the light which burned in the Temple, I will bring you Melech HaMashiach (the anointed king from the line of David) who is compared to a flame, as it is written (Psalms. 132:17), “I provided a flame for my Mashiach.”
As it is written: The house of Ya‘akov will be a fire and the house of Yosef a flame, setting aflame and consuming the stubble which is the house of Esav. None of the house of Esav will remain, for Adonai has spoken. – Obadiah 1 : 18
The Light from Above (Zeir Anpin) which corrects the world is Mashiach ben Yosef; the groom to whom the Bride (Malkhut; the Lower Light) marries, raising us to a higher level of Spiritual Consciousness; allowing us to climb the Ladder and become in the likeness of our Creator, filling the Earth with the “Knowledge of G-d” and making possible to manifestation of the King Messiah in physcial world on earth. However, when people does not recognize “Messiah ben Yosef”, Messianic era cannot come, because they pierce the connection between Zeir Anpin and Malkhut – which is Yesod = Yosef = the Righteous one = Messiah ben Yosef = soul of Mashiach = Soul of Torah; the Power that defeats Amalek and Armilus and connects us to the Upper Consciousness of the Light from Above.
For I have come down from heaven to do not my own will but the will of the One who sent me. -John 6:38 Then Yeshua spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world” ( i.e Light from above ; Zeir Anpin which corrects the world is Mashiach ben Yosef) . He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” -John 8:12
He was on the road and nearing Dammesek, when suddenly a light from heaven flashed all around him. -Acts 9:3-8
Tiferet is the Essence and Heart of the Zer Anpin, the Heavenly Man: “. . . the Sefirah of Tiferet-Beauty . . . is the essence of the Zer Anpin, the Supernal Man.” Aryeh Kaplan, The Bahir, Part Two, pg. 114.
Gershom Scholem says: “Wisdom (Hokmah) is His Name and Glory (Tifereth) the name of His son.” – Zohar III, Jethro 79b, Soncino Press Edition, pg. 236 and Speaking of the Son: “The Son usually refers to Zer Anpin.” -Aryeh Kaplan, The Bahir, Part Two, pg. 148
but we speak G-d’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which G-d predestined before the ages to our glory. -1 Corinthians 2:7
The Messiah is a Light from the Creator that will raise the whole of mankind to spirituality. The Messiah is a Light from Above that affects us and corrects us. That collective force is called “Messiah”, but a Spiritual force that pulls us from this world to the spiritual world. It allows one to begin to feel this world and the Upper One simultaneously –Michael Laitman.
Yeshua Words: And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself. – John 12:32
R’ Aryeh Kaplan notes: “The verse that states that man is created in “G-d’s image” therefore means that man parallels the Sefirot in the structure of both his body and soul. This is especially true with respect to the Personification (Partzuf) of Zer Anpin, which is the Supernal Man. . . . the Sefirot of the Zer Anpin are represented by the Vav. This is because it is formed out of six Sefirot . . .”
-Aryeh Kaplan, The Bahir, Part Two, pg. 146
So G-d created man in His own image; in the image of G-d He created him; male and female He created them. -Genesis 1:27
Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of G-d He made man. -Genesis 9:6
Rabbi Shaul says: Who is the image of the invisible G-d . . .” Colossians 4:4 – Who is the image of the invisible G-d, the firstborn of every creature:
The Zohar says: “This is the secret of this matter. There are two grades above in which man should be adorned; they are the secret of Faith, and they are one. The first is the secret of the servant and the other is the secret of the son. THE GRADE OF the servant ABOVE is called ‘the master of the whole earth,’ WHICH IS THE SECRET OF MALCHUT, AND THE GRADE OF the son ABOVE is as we stated, “Yisrael is My son, My firstborn” (Shemot 4:22), WHICH IS THE SECRET OF ZEIR ANPIN Everything pertains to the one secret of Faith, and it behooves man to be adorned with these grades OF THE SON AND SERVANT ABOVE to be included within the secret of Faith… HE NOW INTERPRETS THE GRADE OF THE SON, SAYING: Happy is the portion of the son, who deserves to strive to know his Father’s secrets and all the mysteries of His house, like an only child whose father gave him authority over all his secrets. It is to the glory OF THE SON to have power over everything. He who strives in the Torah to know the Holy One, blessed be He, and His mysteries is ‘the son of the Holy One blessed be He,’ and in all the heavenly hosts, there is none that will stop him from entering his Father’s presence at any time he needs to. Happy is his portion throughout the worlds. Therefore, he who strives to know his Father in a particular way, within the secret of Chochmah, MEANING THE CHOCHMAH AT THE RIGHT OF ZEIR ANPIN, is called ‘a son’.”
Zohar, Behar, The Secret of the Servant and the Secret of the Son, Zohar.com
The world was formed by word and spirit together as it is written: “By the word of G‑d were the heavens made and all the host of them by the breath (‘ruach’) of His mouth”. (Psalms 33:6) The “word of G‑d” is speech [which Zeir Anpin emanates to malchut (kingdom)] and “the breath of His mouth” is the spirit [the secret of Zeir Anpin which emanates from binah (understanding)]. One cannot exist without the other and so they are included within each other [in the secret of unification] and several armies upon armies, legions upon legions [of angels] were issued all at once.
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure” ……. Revelation 19 : 7-8
Pure olive oil beaten for the light: Most High instructed the Israelites to bring Moses clear olive oil, so that Aaron and his descendants as High priest could kindle lamps regularly in the tabernacle as mentioned in Exodus 27:20-21 : “You are to order the people of Isra’el to bring you pure oil of pounded olives for the light, and to keep a lamp burning continually. Aharon and his sons are to put it in the tent of meeting, outside the curtain in front of the testimony, and keep it burning from evening until morning before Adonai. This is to be a permanent regulation through all the generations of the people of Isra’el.
Now on the first day of the week [i.e. after sunset Saturday], when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day , spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together. And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. -Acts 20:7-9
Yeshua Our Heavenly Tzaddik explains and relates to the light as it is doing of righteous deeds within the framework of Torah and he is the light who commands us to shine forth his light. As it is mentioned in Exodus 27:20 to provide the crushed, pure oil.
The Menorah was also called the “Ner Tamid” ( Eternal Lamp ) and as he lit the Menorah, ignited along with it the souls of the Israel people . It was the job of Israel as a collective of individuals to provide the pure crushed olive oil for the Menorah. The light was to burn every day, including the Sabbath.
This command was for the Children of Israel to bring pure pressed olive oil to supply the Menorah, the lampstand of the Mish’kan ( Tabernacle ) and later in the Temple. Aaron the Cohen was appointed to light the seven wicks of the Menorah, all in the manner of ( the spiritual world ) above. Aaron was to light the first 5 lamps of the menorah, followed by lighting the incense, and then the last 2 lamps. Rabbi Eleazar explains the close connection between the burning of oil for light and the incense for fragrance and also the inner altar and the Menorah stood together to give joy to all in reference to the verse “oil and incense rejoiced the hearts” (Proverbs 27: 9). The combined effect of light and fragrance is said to refresh the spirit.
A Midrash expounded on Exodus 27:20 to explain why Israel was, in the words of Jeremiah 11:16, like “a leafy olive tree.” The Midrash taught that just as the olive is beaten, ground, tied up with ropes, and then at last it yields its oil, so the nations have come and beaten, imprisoned, bound, and surrounded Israel, and when at last Israel repents of its sins, G-d answers it.
The Midrash offered a second explanation: Just as all liquids commingle one with the other, but oil refuses to do so, so Israel keeps itself distinct, as it is commanded in ( Deuteronomy 7:3 ) : Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons.
The Midrash offered a third explanation: Just as oil floats to the top even after it has been mixed with every kind of liquid, so Israel, as long as it performs the will of G-d, will be set on high by G-d, as it says in Deuteronomy: “If you listen closely to what Adonai your God says, observing and obeying all his mitzvot which I am giving you today, Adonai your G-d will raise you high above all the nations on earth. – Deuteronomy 28:1
The midrash offered a fourth explanation: Just as oil gives forth light, so did the Temple in Jerusalem give light to the whole world, as it says in Isaiah 60:3 : Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. (Exodus Rabbah 36:1)
The Secret of the Lamp: In the book of f Proverbs, “The soul of man is a lamp of G‑d.” – Proverbs 20: 27 and the soul of man is a lamp of G‑d whose purpose in life is to illuminate the world with divine light.
From the book of new testament: Then you will be the pure and innocent children of G-d. You live among people who are crooked and evil, but you must not do anything that they can say is wrong. Try to shine as lights among the people of this world, as you hold firmly to the message that gives life. -Philippians 2:15-16
Light of the World :
The Temple and the Menorah itself were known in Yeshua’s earthly time as the “Light of the World.” Then Yeshua spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” -John 8:12
Qumran Writings: This scripture`s interpretation: he is to instruct them about all the periods of history for eternity and in the statutes of the truth. (…. dominion) that passes from Belial and returns to the Sons of Light … by the judgment of G-d, just as t is written concerning him; “who says to Zion “Your divine being reigns” (Isaiah 52:7) “Zion” is the congregation of all the sons of righteousness, who uphold the covenant and turn from walking in the way of the people. “Your divine being” is Melchizedek, who will deliver them from the power of Belial. Concerning what scripture says, “Then you shall have the trumpet sounded loud; in the seventh month …” (Leviticus. 25:9) – sons of Light
We can find more interesting scriptures in the Book of New Testament:
“While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become Sons of Light.” -John 12:36
Yeshua taught his disciples : Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. -Matthew 5:16
Yes, we have the prophetic Word made very certain. You will do well to pay attention to it as to a light shining in a dark, murky place, until the Day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts. -II Peter 1:19
But those who can discern will shine like the brightness of heaven’s dome, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. – Daniel 12:3
for G-d is the one working among you both the willing and the working for what pleases him. Do everything without kvetching or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure children of G-d, without defect in the midst of a twisted and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the sky, as you hold on to the Word of Life. If you do this, I will be able to boast, when the Day of the Messiah comes, that I did not run or toil for nothing. – Philippians 2:13-16
Sons of Pure Oil:
Think a moment! Oh! Israel / Efrayim ( i.e firstborn son) Do Teshuva! obey his commandments and obedience to his voice as being called “Oil Provider /Oil Supplier” for the Messiah Kingdom. And Scripture states, the Sons of pure Oil” in Zechariah 4:14. This is an interesting passage in zechariah that explains the vision of the Menorah and two olive trees on either side with continual flow of Oil.
When Zechariah asks specifically about the two olive trees, he receives the answer: So he said, “These are the two anointed ones [literally, “Sons who provide oil”, who stand beside HaShem of the whole earth.” -Zechariah 4:14 . These are the two who supplies “Oil”, even it mentioned in the scriptures of Revelation 11 : 14
And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the G-d of the earth. -Revelation 11:3-4
You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness….. –1 Thessalonian s 5:5
Construction of the Menorah relates to the Eye:
G-d’s instructions for making the Menorah: Three bowls shall be made like almond blossoms on one branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower, and three bowls made like almond blossoms on the other branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower – and so for the six branches that come out of the lampstand. -Exodus 25:33
The word for “almond” is sh’kad. The Menorah had seven branches, and on each branch there was a golden almond blossom. This word comes from the root shakad, which means “to watch.” The shape of the almond nut is also the shape of the eye. The seven almond blossoms on the Menorah represent the “Eyes of Most High” which scan to and fro throughout the earth.” Even we can find in the new testament about Seven Lamps in Revelation 4:5. ( i.e Menorah as “the Seven Spirits of G-d”) .
And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of G-d. -Revelation 4:5
So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, “What are these, my lord?” Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord.” So he answered and said to me:… “For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel (i.e rebuilding the temple ). They are the eyes of HaShem, which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.” -Zechariah 4: 4-5, 10
Peter quotes from the book of Psalms about the “Eyes of Most High”:
…Turn from evil, and do good; seek peace, go after it! – Psalm 34:15 – For He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of Most High are on the righteous...
-1 Peter 3:10-12
The Seven Lamps of the Menorah relates to the “Eyes of Most Holy One of Israel” and the “Seven Spirits of G-d.” They are watching men and their ways. Those eyes of the Righteous Judge are watching the deeds of righteous men and women, and the evil deeds of the wicked. They are watching as His “righteous ones” (believers) are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. Those “Eyes” are watching as we “witness” by our faith living in the spirit of Yeshua and to follow the footsteps of him.
This is when perseverance is needed on the part of G-d’s people, those who observe his commands ( i.e Mitzvot of HaShem) and exercise Yeshua’s faithfulness. – Revelation 14:12
For we are His workmanship, created in Yeshua haMashiach for good works, which G-d prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. -Ephesians 2:10
Ezekiel 43:10 – 43:27
Parashat Tetzaveh begins with Moshe being instructed to ensure that the olive oil used to light the menorah was pure and that the lamp was to be alight continuously. Aaron’s descendants, who inherited his good qualities of “loving peace and pursuing peace”(Avoth). The first words of the parsha are, “And you-ata-(Moshe) will command the children of Israel…to raise up an eternal light.” The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that the word ‘ata’-you-is not just a pronoun. It reflects a level of Moshe higher than his name. ‘You’ cuts away all that is superfluous, goes directly to the essence of a person’s soul. This connects to the second word ‘Titzaveh’-‘will command.’ The Hebrew word for command is from the root meaning ‘connection.’ A commandment is an action that connects us to G-d.
At the deeper levels of Torah learning, “existence” consists of four levels, which parallels and as associated with the Tabernacle, four distinct groups of people are found, each with different roles:
High Priests – were the connection to the Divine. As the only ones who could enter the Holy of Holies and they were held for the responsible of integrity and purity.
Atzilut (“nearness,” e.g. to G-d) is the level of existence prior to Genesis 1:1. This level has no concept of separation or change, and is “Divine” in nature. It is the “image” of G-d that we are created in. This is the level of service of the High Priest, who along with the Ark made the “direct connection” to G-d.
Priests – Served in the sanctuary, serving the High Priest and directing the Levites. They also accompanied the army in battle and also teachers of the deeper (hidden) aspects of Torah.
Beriah (“creation”) is the first level of creation, reflected in the Genesis account prior to the Garden of Eden. It is associated with the “Throne Room” of G-d, the realm of archangels, and the highest level of prophecy.
Levites – Taught the people at a “lower level” than the Priests, focusing on issues of the soul, ethics and customs
Yetzirah (“formation) is the next (“lower”) level of creation, associated with the Garden of Eden in Genesis, the realm of our souls and the angels (both “good” and “bad” ones, hence Yetzirah is also called the “mixed realm.”) This is the level of the Levites.
Israelites – Performed the physical rituals and their own personal actions
Asiyyah (“making”) is the lowest level of creation, the physical realm , which maintains its own “spiritual dimension” to it.
These four levels of existence are associated with man, and are also mirrored in the garments of the High Priest. The ephod, the outermost garment, reflected these four worlds in the colors found.
They shall take the gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and the fine linen, and they shall make the ephod of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, artistically worked. -Exodus 28:5-6
The four colors mentioned have precise meaning in spiritual world:
- Gold represents the Divine purity of Atzilut
- Blue is the spiritual realm of Beriah
- Purple (a blend of blue and red) is the “mixed realm” of Yetzirah
- Red is that of the earth or man (i.e., blood) – Asiyyah
For glory and for Splendour :
An ancient proverb says that “Clothing makes the man”: As a matter of facts, the Jewish law and our Sages’ interpretations are very clear on the matter: no kohen can serve in the Tabernacle or the Temple unless they wear the special set of clothes described by the Torah : the tunic, the breastplate, the robe, the head covering etc. In exodus: “You shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.” -Exodus 28:2
The Ramban talks extensively about the ability clothes have to bring upon the wearer a special status. The kohanim seemingly wear the clothes described by the Torah as they would a crown or a royal garb which elevate them from amidst the nation and place them on a pedestal of holiness.Also, the first act of chesed, of loving-kindness, done by G-d immediately following the same episode is to make clothes for the first humans: “Adam called his wife’s name Eve (Chava, in Hebrew), because she had become the mother of all the living. And Hashem Elokim, G-d, made for Adam and his wife garments of skin, and He clothed them.”
Midrash Rabbah – Genesis XX:12 : AND THE LORD GOD MADE FOR ADAM AND HIS WIFE GARMENTS OF SKIN (‘OR), AND CLOTHED THEM (III, 21). In R. Meir’s Torah it was found written, ‘Garments of light (or) : this refers to Adam’s garments, which were like a torch [shedding radiance], broad at the bottom and narrow at the top. Isaac the Elder said: They were as smooth as a finger-nail and as beautiful as a jewel. R.Johanan said: They were like the fine linen garments which come from Bethshean, GARMENTS OF SKIN meaning those that are nearest to the skin. R. Eleazar said: They were of goats’ skin. R. Joshua said: Of hares’ skin. R. Jose b. R. Hanina said: It was a garment made of skin with its wool. Resh Lakish said: It was of Circassian wool, and these were used [later] by first-born children.4R. Samuel b. Nahman said: [They were made from] the wool of camels and the wool of hares, GARMENTS OF SKIN meaning those which are produced from the skin. R. Levi said: The Torah teaches you here a rule of worldly wisdom: spend according to your means on food; less than you can afford on clothing, but more than you can afford on a dwelling. Spend according to your means on food, as it is written, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat (Genesis. II, 16). Less than you can afford on clothing: AND THE LORD G-D MADE… GARMENTS OF SKIN, AND CLOTHED THEM. More than you can afford on a dwelling: for lo! they were but two, yet they dwelt in the whole world.
The “Garments of skin” mentioned in Bereshit have also been interpreted by the Midrash as an allusion to בגדי אור (this time spelled with an aleph instead of an ain), which translates as “garments of light”.
Jacob himself uses the “Clean garments” to trick his father into giving him the blessing of the first-born. Joseph wears a “Coat of many Colours” which is used by his brothers to deceive their father, Jacob, into believing that Joseph is dead. Tamar sets aside her “Widow garments” and dresses up as a prostitute in order to trap Yehudah into sleeping with her. And Joseph again “shaves and changes his clothing”, right before being summoned at the court of Egypt, in order to spare Pharaoh from seeing him in his dirty and torn prison clothes that he was forced to wear for two full years.
The light of the world’s beginnings, woven into Adam and Eve’s clothes. The light of the Menorah, reflected on the clothes of the Temple’s kohanim… A clear, powerful and shadowless light, reflected even today on the clothes we wear as a symbol of our identity.
As it is written : Fine linen, bright and clean has been given her to wear.” ( Fine linen” means the righteous deeds of G-d’s people ) . – Revelation 19:8
Secret of the Priest’s Clothing:
The Mishnah summarized the priestly garments described in Exodus 28, saying that “the High Priest performs the service in eight garments, and the common priest in four: in tunic, drawers, miter, and girdle. The High Priest adds to those the breastplate, the apron, the robe, and the frontlet. And the High Priest wore these eight garments when he inquired of the Urim and Thummim. (Mishnah Yoma 7:5; Babylonian Talmud Yoma 71b.)
The garments of the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) worn only on the feast of Yom Kippur. Whereas the regular attire of the High Priest was made up of eight separate garments, on Yom Kippur he would wear only four garments, all of them white. His garment is called choshen mishpat in Hebrew, which means the “breastplate of judgment” or “decision.” The scriptures of Hebrews speaks about the Yeshua’s role as a High Priest which is related to the final Yom Kippur salvation sacrifice in the heavenly realm.
“Separate your brother Aharon and his sons from among Bnei Yisrael and bring them close to serve as my Cohanim:
Aharon, Nadav, Avihu, Elazar and Itamar. Make sacred vestments for Aharon your brother for honor and for glory.” Commenting on these verses, the Ramban (13th century, Spain) explains: “Aharon ought to be honored and glorified by wearing garments of honor and glory…for these garments resemble garments of royalty in form. At the time of the Torah, the monarchy would have worn such clothing. The tunic signifies leadership just as Yosef was presented by his father with a ‘tunic of many stripes’...thus, Aharon was to be clothed as a king of ancient times…the miter is still worn by royalty and nobility to this day…the breastplate and ephod are regal attire…and the headband is a type of crown. The materials used to make these garments, namely gold, sky-blue, purple and crimson, are precious and rare.” Thus, the Ramban understands that the Cohen Gadol represented a kind of sovereign, for his garments of office were fashioned out of unique and expensive materials and in their appearance resembled the vestments of a king.
We find a great hidden mystery in the book of New testament : A tent was set up, the outer one, which was called the Holy Place; in it were the menorah, the table and the Bread of the Presence. Behind the second parokhet was a tent called the Holiest Place ( i.e Holy of Holies referred as Arikh Anpin in heavenly realm) . Which had the golden altar for burning incense and the Ark of the Covenant, entirely covered with gold. In the Ark were the gold jar containing the man, Aharon’s rod that sprouted and the stone Tablets of the Covenant; and above it were the k’ruvim representing the Sh’khinah, casting their shadow on the lid of the Ark — but now is not the time to discuss these things in detail. But when the Messiah appeared as cohen gadol of the good things that are happening already, then, through the greater and more perfect Tent which is not man-made (that is, it is not of this created world),he entered the Holiest Place once and for all. And he entered not by means of the blood of goats and calves, but by means of his own blood, thus setting people free forever. For if sprinkling ceremonially unclean persons with the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer restores their outward purity; 14 then how much more the blood of the Messiah, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself to G-d as a sacrifice without blemish, will purify our conscience from works that lead to death, so that we can serve the living G-d! –in Hebrews 9 : 2- 15
It describes in detail the attributes of the priest’s clothing. The Kabbalists considered that each vestment was a tool to cleanse different forms of negativity:
- the Vest (Ephod) cleansed any form of idol worshiping;
- the Breastplate (Choshen) cleansed judgment;
- the Tunic cleansed evil speech and gossip;
- the Forehead Plate (Tzitz) removed audacity and bravado;
- the Turban (Mitre) cleansed ego,
- the Robe of the high Priest cleansed negativity from murder and character assassination; and the Girdle / Belt cleansed negative thoughts. The breastplate, considered to be a highly technical vestment, had 12 stones engraved with the names of each of the 12 tribes and a pocket to hold the Urim and Tumim (translated as “Lights and Perfections”).The Zohar states that the Urim contained the 42-letter name of G-d and the Tumim contained the 72 Names of G-d.
Most High instructed Moses to make sacral vestments for Aaron: a breastpiece (the Hoshen), an ephod a robe, a gold frontlet inscribed “Holy to the Lord,” a fringed tunic, a headdress, a sash, and linen breeches.G-d instructed Moses to place Urim and Thummim inside the breast piece of decision. ( Exodus. 28:30 ) . G-d instructed Moses to place pomegranates, and gold bells around the robe’s hem, to make a sound when the High Priest entered and exited the sanctuary, so that he not die. –Exodus. 33–35.
A Baraita explained why the Urim and Thummim noted in Exodus 28:30 were called by those names: The term “Urim” is like the Hebrew word for “lights,” and thus it was called “Urim” because it enlightened.
The breastplate atoned for those who pervert justice, as Exodus 28:30 says, “And you shall put in the breastplate of judgment.” The ephod atoned for idol-worshippers, as Hosea 3:4 says, “and without Ephod or teraphim.”
Isaiah shows that G-d Himself dresses as a High Priest for the dual purpose of atonement for faithful Israel and judgment for adulteress Israel and the nations.At the same time his garments are red with the blood of Judgment. There is a connection between the garments of vengeance and the Lord’s Day of vengeance:
Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment. And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.-Isaiah 59:15-17
Gilead is mine, Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet, Judah is my scepter. – Psalm 108:8
Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth. -Isaiah 63:1-6
but against the rulers, authorities and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm. So take up every piece of war equipment G-d provides; so that when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist; and when the battle is won, you will still be standing. Therefore, stand! Have the belt of truth buckled around your waist, put on righteousness for a breastplate, and wear on your feet the readiness that comes from the Good News of shalom. Always carry the shield of trust, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. And take the helmet of deliverance; along with the sword given by the Spirit, that is, the Word of G-d; as you pray at all times, with all kinds of prayers and requests, in the Spirit, vigilantly and persistently, for all G-d’s people. – Ephesians 6:11-18
We will find the in detail information about the elements of the armor of G-d:
- Belt of Truth
- Breastplate of Righteousness
- Shoes of the Gospel of Peace
- Shield of Faith
- Helmet of Salvation
- Sword of the Spirit
Speaking of the Belt of Truth, which corresponds to the sash of the kohanim,
“HaShem reigns; he is robed in majesty; Hashem is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.” -Psalms 93:1
In the famously Messianic passage, Isaiah says Mashiach is cloaked with the belt of Righteousness, “Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.” –Isaiah 11:5
Good News of Peace and Redemption: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your G-d reigns.” The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice, together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of HaShem to Zion.” –Isaiah 52:7-8
“(Isaiah 52:7) “he announces salvation” — In that chapter, we find the words “the footsteps of the herald, ” which refer to both meshichim. But the verse, “he announces salvation, ” is written in the singular form because it refers to Mashiach ben Yosef.” –Kol HaTor 2:81, translated by R’ Yechiel bar Lev and K. Skaist
If you were asked to identify one person in the Tanakh based on the word “faith,” who would it be? Most would probably answer Abraham, based on this passage,
“He believed in HaShem, and he reckoned it to him for righteousness.” –Genesis 15:6
Speaking of the Shield of Faith, Genesis said, “After these things the word of Hashem came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” –Genesis 15:1
Psalms says, “Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands, to execute vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgment written! This is honor for all his godly ones. Praise HaShem!” –Psalms 149:6-9
Genesis Rabbah comments, “Our Rabbis said: Sword refers to the Torah, as it is written, ‘And a two-edged sword in their hand (Psalms. 149:6).” –Genesis Rabbah 21:9, Soncino Press Edition
Hebrews says, “For the word of G-d is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” –Hebrews 4:12
Revelation says, “In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Sh’ol.” –Revelation 1:16-18
In the Zohar, it says that Adam and Eve were arrayed in spiritual armor, “…when Adam sinned, G-d took from him the armor of the bright and holy letters with which he had been encompassed, and then he and his wife were afraid…”
Zohar I:53a, Soncino Press Edition
Paul is quoting the Tanakh, specifically the book of Isaiah. “The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” –Romans 13:12
Yeshua said to them, “Yes. I tell you that in the regenerated world, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Isra’el. – Matthew 19:28
And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of G-d. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs. -Revelation 14:14-20
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of G-d. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty G-d. -Revelation 19:11-15
Priest Anointed War: “The War Messiah”
Scripture says about his role, His assignment centered around the caring and preparing of the men going to battle – to assure they were prepared physically and spiritually, even sending home those he deemed unfit to fight.:
When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy G-d is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people, And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them. -Deuteronomy 20:1-3
The first Priest anointed for war that we find mention of, was Phineas, the grandson of Aaron: Midrash Rabbah – Leviticus XX:2 – Elisheba the daughter of Amminadab did not enjoy happiness in the world. True, she witnessed five crowns [attained by her relatives] in one day: her brother-in-law was a king, her brother was a prince, her husband was High Priest, her two sons were both Deputy High Priests, Phinehas her grandson was a Priest anointed for war.
Talmud – Mas. Sotah 43a – Thus it states: And Moses sent them, a thousand of every tribe, to the war, them and Phinehas ( Numbers XXXI ,6) — ‘them’ refers to the Sanhedrin; ‘Phinehas’ was the [priest] Anointed for Battle;
Yeshua reads the scripture of Luke 4:18-19 as mentioned in new testament but of course is quoting Isaiah chapter 61, which includes the additional words, “and the day of vengeance of our G-d; to comfort all that mourn.” Yeshua stopped mid-verse, as he is first fulfilling the role of the Temple High Priest, and only upon His return does he take on the role of the High Priest Anointed for War.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. -Luke 4:18-19
This is especially significant regarding Yeshua, as the first time He came as the Temple High Priest ( i.e in above Mishkyan to fulfill the final Yom Kippur sacrifice for atonement of souls of Israel) whereas He will return the second time as the “War Messiah” to smite His enemies (i.e., Isaiah 59:17 where He wears the “garments of vengeance.”); which links the Priest Anointed for War to the coming Messiah.
For it is justice for G-d to pay back trouble to those who are troubling you, and to give rest along with us to you who are being troubled, when the Lord Yeshua is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in a fiery flame. Then he will punish those who don’t know G-d ( Most Holy one of Israel ), that is, those who don’t listen to the Good News of our Lord Yeshua and obey it ( i.e under the divine mandate of Mashiach ben Yosef). They will suffer the just penalty of eternal destruction, far away from the face of the Lord and the glory of his might. -II Thessalonians 1:6-9
Midrash Rabbah – The Song of Songs II:33 – MY BELOVED SPOKE AND SAID UNTO ME. He spoke through Elijah and said through the Messiah. What did he say to me? RISE UP, MY LOVE, MY FAIR ONE, AND COME AWAY. R. Azariah said: FOR LO, THE WINTER (HA-SETHAW) IS PAST: this refers to the kingdom of the Cutheans which seduces (mesithah) the world and leads it astray by its falsehoods, as we read, If thy brother, the son of thy mother, entice thee–yesitheka (Deut. XIII, 7). THE RAIN IS OVER AND GONE: this refers to the subjection of Israel. THE FLOWERS APPEAR ON THE EARTH: the conquerors have appeared on the earth. Who are they? R. Berekiah said in the name of R. Isaac: As it is written, And the Lord showed me four craftsmen (Zechariah. II, 3), namely, Elijah, the Messiah, Melchizedek, and the War Messiah.( Lit.,the priest anointed for war’, an expression originally applied to the priest who accompanied the troops ), THE TIME OF THE ZAMIR IS COME: the time has come for Israel to be delivered; the time has come for uncircumcision to be cut off; the time has come for the kingdom of the Cutheans to expire; the time has come for the kingdom of heaven to be revealed, as it says, And the Lord shall be king over all the earth (ib. XIV, 9). AND THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE IS HEARD IN OUR LAND: Who is this? This is the voice of the Messiah.
The grouping of Elijah, the Messiah, Melchizedek, and the War Messiah together is also interesting as the last three are linked to Yeshua, who was and again will be preceded by Elijah the prophet.
There are distinctions made in Talmud between the two High Priests. As might be expected, the Temple High Priest is given a higher “rank” than his counterpart. However the following section of the Talmud, shows distinctions drawn between the Deputy Temple High Priest and the High Priest Anointed for War, with the former taking precendent regarding issues of defilement, but the latter’s life being considered more important (if one had to choose between the two of them) as he has a responsibility to many people: Talmud – Mas. Nazir 47b – The question was propounded: As between [the High Priest] anointed for a war, and the deputy [High Priest], which is of superior sanctity? Does the [High Priest] anointed for war take precedence, because he is qualified to go to war, or does the deputy take precedence, because he is qualified to perform the Temple service? ( But once a priest had been anointed for war, he could no longer take part in the Temple service). — Come and hear: For it has been taught: The only difference between a [High Priest] anointed for war and a deputy is that if they were both walking by the way and encountered a meth mizwah, the [High Priest] anointed for war is to defile himself, but not the deputy. But has it not been taught: A [High Priest] anointed for war takes precedence of a deputy? — Mar Zutra replied: As far as saving his life is concerned, the [High Priest] anointed for war has a superior claim for many [people] depend upon him, but as regards defilement, the deputy is of superior sanctity, as has been taught: R. Hanina b. Antigonus said that the reason the office of deputy to the High Priest was created, was that should any disqualification happen to him [the High Priest], he can enter and minister in his stead.
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 52a – And in the future all of them shall be delivered up, as it says: “Who is this that cometh from Edom…?” (Isa. LXIII, 1). And this indeed is the significance of the words: “And he went behind them”- that the Shekinah will uproot them all at the end of days.’
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 238a – HE HATH WASHED HIS GARMENT IN WINE . With this may be compared the verse: “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?” (IS. LXIII, 1); and also: “I have trodden the winepress alone, etc.” (Ibid. 3). “Wine” here alludes to the side of Geburah, of stern justice which will be visited on the idolatrous nations. AND HIS VESTURE IN THE BLOOD OF GRAPE . This is the lower-world tree, the judgement court which is called “grapes”, in which the “wine” is kept. Thus the Messiah will be clothed in both to crush beneath him all the idolatrous peoples and kings.
Scripture, as being associated with redemption/salvation, which in turn has a relationship with vengeance/justice:
Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments.-Exodus 6:6 –
Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my G-d, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s G-d, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. -Exodus 15:1-19
The relationship between salvation and judgment in the book of new testament:
So Messiah was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. -Hebrews 9:28
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of -od: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.-John 5:25-29
On Shabbat Zachor:
This portion reading is supplemented with the Zachor (“Remember!”) reading (Deuteronomy 25:17-19) in which we are commanded to remember the evil of Amalek and to eradicate it from the face of the earth. which instructs : In Deuteronomy “Remember (zachor) what Amalek did” in attacking the Israelites and In Exodus 20:8: Remember the Shabbat day, to sanctify it.
The explanation is : Shabbat has two aspects–“Zachor / Remember” (Exodus 20:8) and “Shamor / Keep” (Devarim 5:12). “Zachor” is an affirmative commandment. It refers to reciting kiddush, but more generally, it includes all pleasurable aspects of Shabbat. This is what the Gemara is teaching: When the two angels enter the house and see the beauty of the Shabbat candles and of the set table, the “good” angel says, “You see! What could be more pleasing to Hashem than this? Let this person observe Shabbat in this way next week as well.” And, seeing the radiance of the Shabbat table, even the “bad” angel is forced to admit that “Zachor” is indeed the most beautiful focus of Shabbat.
Shabbat Zachor – Overcoming Doubt – On Shabbat of Tetzaveh, This portion is read on the Shabbat immediately preceding the holiday of Purim and is referred to as Shabbat Remember, Zachor. It recounts the story of Amalek, a nation of people that have tried to destroy the Israelites throughout history. On a spiritual level, Amalek is a code word for “doubt” and shares the same numerical value (240) as the word “safek” which means doubt in Hebrew. When we have any form of doubt in our lives, we are disconnected from the Light and the power of certainty – preventing us from achieving our potential.
These are six special things that we should remember each day:
Remember the Exodus from Egypt:
…in order that you will remember the day in which you left the land of Egypt all the days of your life. -Deuteronomy 16:3
Remember what happened at Mount Sinai:
Be careful and guard your soul that you should not forget the things that your eyes saw, that you should not remove them from your heart all the days of your life, but that you should teach them to your children and your children’s children: the day in which you stood in front of G-d at Mount Sinai. –Deuteronomy 4:9-10
Remember the attack of Amalek:
Remember what Amalek did to you on the road as you left Egypt – that he met you on the road and attacked your rear when you were tired and exhausted and he had no fear of G-d. Now when G-d will give you rest from all of your enemies which are around you in the land that G-d gives to you to inherit. Wipe out the memory of Amalek from under the heavens. Do not forget. -Deuteronomy 25:17-19
Remember the sin of the Golden Calf:
Remember and never forget how you angered G-d in the desert [when you worshiped the golden calf]. -Deuteronomy 9:7
Remember what happened when Miriam criticized Moses:
Remember that which G-d did to Miriam on the way out of Egypt. -Deuteronomy 24:9
Remember the Shabbat:
Remember the Shabbat day to sanctify it. -Exodus 20:8
UNIVERSAL TORAH: TETZAVEH – By Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum
Torah Reading: TETZAVEH Exodus 27:20-30:10
LIFE IN THE HOUSE
In last week’s parshah of TERUMAH, the Torah taught us the form and shape of the House of G-d with all its vessels. In this week’s parshah of TETZAVEH, we receive instructions about the daily activities that are to take place in that House. The central core of the parshah is taken up with detailed instructions about the making of the garments of those who are to be the ministering attendants in the House — Aaron and his sons, the priests — and about the sacrifices that were to be offered during their seven-day initiation.
It may help us to grasp the overall structure of TETZAVEH by again using the “sandwich” idea. In this case, the top and bottom of the “sandwich” would be the opening and closing sections of the parshah, which give instructions about the “daily life” in the House. TETZAVEH starts by introducing in its two opening verses (Ex. 27;20-21) the daily lighting of the Menorah candelabrum in the House using the choicest oil — this opening section would be one side of the “sandwich”. Then at the end of TETZAVEH (Ex. 29:38-45; 30:1-10) we come to the other side of the “sandwich”. This consists of the sections dealing with the daily animal sacrifices, meal, oil and wine offerings on the outside Altar, the pleasing fragrance (the incense burned in the House on the golden Incense Altar) and finally (returning to the parshah’s opening theme), the daily lighting of the Menorah.
In the middle of this “sandwich” are two considerably lengthier sections. The first gives instructions in fine detail for the making of the garments of those who are to minister in the House — Aaron and his sons, the priests. The second gives the detailed instructions for what was to be a one-time event in the Wilderness: the 7-day initiation of Aaron and his sons into the priesthood that was to lead up to the permanent induction of the Sanctuary on 1st Nissan. (Because of the central importance of this day in the Torah, we will be returning several times in later parshahs to the description of its events – in PEKUDEY at the end of Exodus as well as in several parshahs in Leviticus and Numbers.)
THE ATTENDANTS — AARON AND HIS SONS
A basic assumption underlies all sections of our present parshah of TETZAVEH, from beginning to end. The assumption is that the attendants conducting the daily life of the House, about whose daily activities, garments and induction-day we read in such detail, are to be none other than Aaron and his sons.
Throughout our parshah, the entire focus is upon Aaron and his sons, their activities, garments and induction. Indeed it is a fact that the actual name of Moses does not appear anywhere in our parshah from beginning to end, though he is addressed directly in its opening words, VE-ATAH TETZAVEH, “And YOU shall command…” and moreover, he was to be the central actor in the priests’ induction. [It is said that one reason why Moses’ actual name was left out of this week’s parshah is because Moses was later to pray — in next week’s parshah Ex. 32:33 — “blot me out from Your book.”. However, that prayer had already been answered before it was said, since G-d “blotted out” Moses name by not writing it anywhere in this week’s parshah!]
Addressing now the central assumption — that it is to be Aaron and his sons who will play the role of ministers in the House of the dwelling of the Holy Presence:
It must be understood that EIN MUKDAM O ME-UCHAR BATORAH: “There is no ‘before’ and ‘after’ in the Torah”. The reason for the appointment of Aaron and his sons and none other to be the priests ministering in the House does not become apparent in the Torah narrative until next week’s parshah of KI TISA, with the account of the sin of the Golden Calf. Yet even before the reason became manifest, their appointment was already conceived in the mind and will of G-d prior to that event, as we see from this week’s parshah of TETZAVEH.
The first-born of the Children of Israel were originally offered an opportunity to become the ones who would serve as the priests. Indeed at the Giving of the Torah, it was the first-born — the “lads” (Ex. 24:5) — of the Children of Israel who officiated at the sacrifices, as we read in MISHPATIM. However, with the sin of the Golden Calf (told next week in KI TISA), the first-born of the Children of Israel failed the crucial test. From that time on, the Priesthood was given to Aaron and his descendants as an hereditary gift for all time.
In an era when public office in virtually all “advanced” countries is theoretically open to all citizens, the role of an hereditary priesthood, which is at the very center of the Torah’s system of penitence — the Sanctuary and Temple rituals — calls for some explanation.
Much of Genesis is taken up with disputes about who is to serve in the role of the “priest”. Cain struggled with Abel. Ishmael fought against Isaac. Esau fought against Jacob. Reuven was the first-born, but Levi took the initiative, Judah, fourth in line, became the leader, while it was the righteous Joseph (against whom all the brothers struggled) who received a firstborn’s double portion of two-tribes. And then Ephraim took priority over firstborn Menashe.
In Exodus: Levy’s second son, Kehat, took priority over Levy’s firstborn, Gershon. Amram was indeed Kehat’s firstborn, yet while the priesthood went to Amram’s older son, Aaron, the latter was secondary in prophecy to his younger brother, Moses. The firstborn of the Children of Israel had a brief taste of the priesthood at the time of the Giving of the Torah, 50 days after having been saved from the plague that killed all the Egyptian firstborn. However the Israelite firstborn were displaced from their “birth-right” — hereditary priesthood forever — owing to the sin of the Golden Calf.
This raises the question of the nature of the priesthood in Judaism, which is relevant to our parshah of TETZAVEH, all of which is devoted to the daily duties of the priests, their garments and their induction service.
It is true that the tribe of Levi (who did not participate in the sin of the Golden Calf), and the Kohanim are in many respects separate hereditary castes. Nevertheless, it remains the case that the ideal social structure of the Israelites as envisaged in the Torah is remarkably free of the social hierarchies and inequalities that characterize even the most “democratic” societies.
In particular, Israelite society is envisaged as one that should be free of any kind of extensive hierarchical network of full-time religious functionaries who act as intermediaries between the people and G-d, and whose service before their passive congregants takes the place of the individual’s personal relationship with G-d.
This is true, notwithstanding the fact that only the Kohanim (male descendants of Aaron), and members of the tribe of Levy could actually serve in the Temple, and only the Kohanim could perform certain vital ritual functions (such as purification from leprosy). Nevertheless, the Temple itself had a relatively small number of permanent priestly officials who were responsible for the maintenance of the House. The actual sacrificial services in the House were conducted by different priests every day. Each of the 24 contingents of priests into which the Kohanim were divided served for two weeks out of the year and on festivals, spending the rest of their time teaching Torah among the people in the localities where they lived. The only outstanding exception to this rule, besides the small core of permanent Temple staff, was the High Priest, who spent all his time in Jerusalem, most of it in the Temple itself.
It is certainly correct that the Kohanim were an hereditary priestly caste, who received TERUMAH, the first gift from everyone’s crops, as well as portions of meat, wool and various other gifts. This is what they lived off. The purpose of providing the members of this caste with their material needs was to enable them to devote themselves to a higher-than-average level of devotion (as expressed in eating of Terumah and sacrificial portions in ritual purity) and to the study of the Torah. It was the Kohanim who were expected to be able to play the role of the Torah judges (see Deuteronomy 19:17) in cases of disputes. They were also to play the central role in the “diagnosis” and “purification” of leprosy and other maladies (Leviticus Ch. 13ff.)
Nevertheless, it remains true that despite their exclusive role in the Temple sacrificial services and in the purification from leprosy, the Kohanim were not religious intermediaries who in some sense REPLACED the personal connection of the individual with G-d.
The Children of Israel were envisaged as a nation of free, independent small land-owners, each farming his own and sitting under his vine and fig-tree. Only in dire circumstances would one be sold as a slave to another (as instituted in MISHPATIM). Even one who fell into slavery would eventually go free at the end of seven years or in the Jubilee year. In the seventh year, all debts were to be cancelled. Those who had sold their land would get it back in the Jubilee year. The vision was not of a country where most of the wealth is permanently concentrated in the hands of a small elite.
Just as all of the Children of Israel heard the First Commandment, so they were all commanded to serve the One G-d, each through his own prayers and acts of service. The Torah commands that all of the Children of Israel must be holy (Leviticus 19:2). Everyone must strive to go in G-d’s ways. Becoming a Nazirite is considered an excess — the Nazirite must bring a sin-offering! There are no monks in Judaism.
Outside of the Temple itself, Israelite life was intended to be free of an elite of religious functionaries. Although the Kohen and Levy are honored by being called first and second to the public Torah reading, the actual synagogue and its services are run by its members, the majority of them Israelites. The service can only take place if a quorum of 10 Israelites is present. There is no need for an official rabbi as long as somebody present — any Israelite — knows how to lead the service and read from the Torah. The “functionaries” in Israelite society are the “captains of tens”, “captains of fifties”, “captains of hundreds” and “captains of thousands”. These must be “men of valor, G-d-fearing, men of truth, hating gain” (Ex. 18:21) — but they do not have to be Kohanim. In the Torah vision of the Israelite state, membership of the Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court of the state, is not to depend on heredity or wealth but only on Torah wisdom and personal sanctity.
What then is the role of the hereditary Kohanim, whose Temple service, garments and induction are the subject of our parshah of TETZAVEH?
The key concept necessary to understand the role of the Kohen, particularly that of the Kohen Gadol (High Priest), is the concept of KAPARAH — atonement. This and related concepts recur several times in our parshah. The purpose of the precious stones that were attached to the High Priest’s shoulders and bore the names of the tribes of Israel was that they should be “remembered” by G-d with favor. The wearing of the TZITZ, the head-plate inscribed “Holy to HaShem”, was to secure atonement for impurity. The closing verse of our parshah speaks of how the High Priest must annually sprinkle the golden Incense Altar with the blood of the Day of Atonement sin-offering in order to bring about KAPARAH — atonement.
The institution of the priesthood was not intended to replace individual attachment to G-d on the part of each person through his own devotions. While the Kohanim are charged with maintaining the Holy Temple as the central focus of Israelite and indeed world religious life (for “My House is the House of Prayer for all the Nations), their role in the devotional life of the individual is of significance primarily when the individual, independent “citizen” TURNS ASIDE from the path and falls into sin. He is then unable to help himself. If he is liable to bring a sacrifice, he needs a Kohen to offer it for him. If he has what he thinks is a leprous patch on his skin (a sign of a personal deficiency), he needs a Kohen to make the determination and a Kohen to purify him.
The Kohen can play his role as functionary in the Temple services and bringer of ATONEMENT only through standing aside from the rest of the people and demanding more of himself. The Kohanim were distinguished by their unique genetic inheritance as direct male descendants of Aaron, and they protected this inheritance by adhering to higher levels of personal sanctity (such as that a Kohen may not marry a divorcee, etc.).
The rich, colorful ritual garments of the High Priest embody this concept of separateness, sanctity and atonement. So too, the induction of the priests during their Seven Days of Initiation was characterized by separation, sanctity and the atonement accomplished through the offering of the ox sin offering (atoning for the sin of the Golden Calf) and the eating of peace offerings.
Atonement depends upon the priestly garments and the priests’ consumption of sacrificial portions. The original sin of Adam — of which the sin of the Golden Calf was a “repetition” — came about through eating. After Adam and Eve sinned, G-d gave them CLOTHES in order to cover over their nakedness and begin the process of atonement. The priests continue this process of atonement through wearing their unique garments while eating their portion of the sinner’s sacrifice.
The hereditary inheritance of the priesthood — Temple SERVICE — by the sons of Aaron is justified by the fact that Aaron joined himself to the Torah inheritance through his choice of a wife to mother his sons. For “Aaron took Elisheva the daughter of Aminadav, sister of Nachshon as his wife, and she bore him Nadav and Avihu, Elazar and Itamar” (Ex. 6:23). Elisheva’s father, Aminadav, was the Prince of Judah, the tribe to whom Jacob entrusted with guardianship of the Torah, while her brother Nachshon was the first to jump into the Red Sea. Torah knowledge is indispensable for the proper functioning of the priesthood. Without Torah, the priest is helpless — an ignoramus priest needs a Torah scholar to teach him how to make the correct determination in cases of leprosy.
Through the merit of our Torah study, may we see the Holy Temple rebuilt quickly in our times!!!
Shabbat Shalom!!! Happy Purim!!! – Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
Tetzaveh – ‘You shall command’ ( Ezekiel 43:10 – 43:27 )
Interestingly, this portion (Tetzaveh, command) of Torah is saw by some of our Sages as derivative of tzavsa, which means “Connect To Most High.” Here is the Mish’kan and the Priests were all about “connecting” Most High to his people. It is that place of connection that our haftarah is drawn from. Specifically, the altar in the Mish’kan, and the appropriate purification of the altar. The haftarah begins in Ezekiel 43:10 and is dealing about a future, yet-to-be-built, Third Temple.
Son of man, describe the Temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern. And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the Temple and its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, its entire design and all its ordinances, all its forms and all its laws. Write it down in their sight, so that they may keep its whole design and all its ordinances, and perform them. This is the law of the Temple: The whole area surrounding the mountaintop is most holy. Behold, this is the law of the Temple. -Ezekiel 43:10-12
Atonement for the altar and purify it:
And He said to me, “Son of man, thus says HaShem G-d: ‘These are the ordinances for the altar on the day when it is made, for sacrificing burnt offerings on it, and for sprinkling blood on it. You shall give a young bull for a sin offering to the priests, the Levites, who are of the seed of Zadok, who approach Me to minister to Me,’ says HaShem G-d. You shall take some of its blood and put it on the four horns of the altar, on the four corners of the ledge, and on the rim around it; thus you shall cleanse it and make atonement for it. Then you shall also take the bull of the sin offering, and burn it in the appointed place of the temple, outside the sanctuary. On the second day you shall offer a kid of the goats without blemish for a sin offering; and they shall cleanse the altar, as they cleansed it with the bull. When you have finished cleansing it, you shall offer a young bull without blemish, and a ram from the flock without blemish. When you offer them before HaShem, the priests shall throw salt on them, and they will offer them up as a burnt offering to HaShem. Every day for seven days you shall prepare a goat for a sin offering; they shall also prepare a young bull and a ram from the flock, both without blemish. Seven days they shall make atonement for the altar and purify it, and so consecrate it. When these days are over it shall be, on the eighth day and thereafter, that the priests shall offer your burnt offerings and your peace offerings on the altar; and I will accept you,’ says HaShem G-d.” -Ezekiel 43:18-27
Ancient sages saw the oil and the Menorah referred as a Re-building of the Temple in the Messianic Age.
Sages prayers: And let the righteous rejoice In the building of Your city, And the establishment of the Temple And in the exalting of the horn of David Your servant, And the preparation of a Lamp for the Son of Jesse, Your Messiah Before we call, You answer; Blessed are You, HaShem, Who hears prayer.
Blessed are You, HaShem our G-d, King of the Universe, Who separates between holy and profane Between light and darkness, between Israel and the nations,
Between the Seventh day and the six days of labor. Blessed are You, HaShem,
Who separates between holy and profane.
Fortunate is the Tzaddik whose days are safely stored with the Holy King. They will be made into elegant clothing in the World to Come.
We will see that the children of Israel return to Most High and Torah of Mashiach, And will hug in the Holy Land, and by obeying and listening the “VOICE of Most Ancient Holy One of Israel”, will bring offerings in a righteous way on the holy mountain and also bring the Ark of the covenant with pure heart in the right place ( i.e In Har HaBayit, on the foundation Stone) .
We will Welcome the son of David on Mount Zion, Jerusalem.
[ Ha Khadosh Baruch Hu – Baruch HaBa B’Shem Adonai ] – Gaddi, President, Bet Yisrael International.
Gaddi – President