• Daily Aliya for Tetzaveh, Shvii (7th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: The Incense Altar is to be constructed of acacia wood, 1 amah wide by 1 amah long, by 2 amot tall. It is to be plated with gold and adorned by a decorative border of gold. Two gold rings were attached to opposite edges for the carrying poles, themselves made of wood covered with gold. This Altar was placed in front of the Parochet and was used primarily for the daily offering of incense (and for part of the Yom Kippur Avoda), in the morning when the Menora was tended. Incense was offered towards evening too. No other use of the Golden Altar was permitted.

  • Daily Aliya for Tetzaveh, Shishi (6th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: Daily procedures on the Altar are to include the sacrificing of two lambs as Burnt-Offerings, one in the morning and the second one in the late afternoon. These daily sacrifices are accompanied by flour and oil “mincha” and wine for libation.

    In response to our consecration of the Kohanim, G-d Himself will sanctify the Mishkan, the Altar, and the Kohanim. “And I will dwell among the People of Israel and be their G-d” (29:45). Rabbi Yaakov Auerbach z”l points out that the numerical equivalent of that whole passuk is 2449, the year from Creation in which the Mishkan was first dedicated. That hints to the fact that the whole purpose of creation was to get to this stage where we can incorporate G-d into our midst/lives.

  • Daily Aliya for Tetzaveh, Chamishi (5th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: The Torah continues describing the procedure for the offering, and the consumption of the inaugural sacrifices. G‑d commands Moshe to repeat this inaugural service for a seven day period, after which the consecration will be complete. Also included in this section is a description of how future High Priests are to be inducted.

    The Parsha (and this particular Aliya) goes through so many rules about who can enjoy which sacrifice, and where they can eat their portion. If a sacrifice has been brought to G-d, it would seem that who eats the leftovers would be an insignificant afterthought. Unless, that is, you step back at the bigger picture: A sacrifice is brought either because someone transgressed a commandment, or as appreciation for something having happened to them. Either way, the point of the sacrifice is to strengthen the bond between the person and G-d. The sacrifice isn’t for G-d’s benefit, but for ours. Therefore, what happens to every step in its offering is important to US. Te sacrifice represents our willingness to give of our possessions, and through that giving others close to G-d benefit from your actions. The Kohen benefits from your leftovers, you benefit from expressing your bond with G-d, and G-d benefits by having better Jews.

  • Dvar for Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10)

    From Dan Lifshitz: At the beginning of the Parshat Tetzaveh, the Jews are commanded to bring the purest olive oil as fuel for the lamp in the Tabernacle. Rashi explains that the purest olive oil is required for the lamp, but not for the flour offerings brought in the Tabernacle.  What is the significance of this ritual detail?
    R’ Baruch Simon, quoting from the Chasam Sofer, explains that this rule runs contrary to how one would act at home.  A person would use the purest, best tasting olive oil in food, and use a lower grade of oil as fuel, where the taste doesn’t matter.  However, in the Tabernacle, the best grade was used for the lamp and a lesser grade for the equivalent of food.  The lamp symbolizes wisdom, Torah and the life of the spirit while the flour offering symbolizes material things. This detail regarding which oil should be used for which purpose in the Tabernacle is actually teaching a broad lesson about priorities in life. Often, the inclination is to seek out the best and to expend the most effort in material matters, while settling for “good enough” in the spiritual realm.  The olive oil is teaching us that the opposite outlook is the proper one.

  • Daily Aliya for Tetzaveh, Revii (4th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: This Aliya prescribes the procedure for consecrating Aaron and his sons as priests. Aaron and his sons were brought to the door of the sanctuary, they immersed in a mikvah (ritual pool), and were dressed in the priestly garments. Moshe then offered various inaugural sacrifices on their behalf.

    The very first offering in the Mikdash was symbolic of the Golden Calf and came as an atonement for that sin. It’s interesting to note that while the Golden Calf experience was hurtful towards G-d, it is something not shied away from, but rather confronted. As psychologists would attest, talking about hurtful events help you get over it, and more importantly, forgive those that caused it.

  • Daily Aliya for Tetzaveh, Shlishi (3rd Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: This Aliya describes the last two of the garments which were exclusive to the High Priest: the me’il and the tzitz. The me’il was a blue robe which was adorned with golden bells and cloth “pomegranates.” Thetzitz was a golden band worn on the forehead, which was engraved with the words “Holy to G‑d.” The Torah then describes the four garments worn by both the High Priest and the regular priests: tunics, turbans, sashes and pants.

    The Avneit was 32 Amot long, approx. 16m of belt. It took a long time to put on and it produced a large bulge that the Kohen always felt when he put his arms at his sides. Similarly, the Kohen’s turban was wound from 16 Amot of linen strip and probably “sat heavy” on the kohen’s head. Sources say that a kohen saw his turban whenever he raised his eyes. Similarly, the Kutonet was almost floor length and long sleeved, so the kohen always noticed his garments during Avoda. This “guaranteed” that the kohen would have proper concentration during his sacred service.

  • Daily Aliya for Tetzaveh, Sheni (2nd Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: We now read about the High Priest’s Choshen Mishpat (“Breastplate of Judgment”). It contained four rows of precious stones, each row containing three stones. Artisans engraved the names of the Twelve Tribes of Israel upon these twelve stones. This cloth breastplate contained a fold wherein the Urim v’Tumim, a parchment on which was written G‑d’s Name, was inserted. The Choshen Misphat was then secured by straps which connected it to the ephod.

    Interesting thought from OU’s Torah Tidbits: Wool is the chief fiber from the animal kingdom. Flax is (or at least was) the chief fiber from the plant kingdom. Garments are the chief use of fibers. If so, we can say that one of the manifestations of human dominance over nature is our ability to take fibers from both plants and animals, process them and use them for our own benefit, comfort, and adornment. Taking the most prestigious of each kingdom, and weaving them together, and wearing garments made from the combination of wool and linen is one of the ultimate signs of our top position on the nature pyramid. While this is prohibited to be worn for our own benefit (Shatnez), it’s required to be worn for G-d’s benefit (Kohen Gadol’s clothes).

  • Daily Aliya for Tetzaveh, Rishon (1st Aliya)

    General Overview: In last week’s Parsha, Teruma, we read the details of the construction of the Tabernacle, the sanctuary in the desert. This week’s Parsha, Tetzaveh, we learn about the special garments worn by the priests and high priest when serving in the Tabernacle. Following that, we read G‑d’s instructions to Moshe regarding the seven-day inauguration for the Tabernacle. The Parsha concludes with a description of one of the vessels of the Tabernacle–the Incense Altar.

    Aliya Summary: G‑d commands the Jews to use the purest of olive oils for the daily kindling of the Menorah. Moshe is instructed to consecrate Aaron and his sons by dressing them in special priestly garments. The Torah describes the making of the High Priest’s ephod — a reversed apron which covered the back — and its precious-stone-studded shoulder straps.

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