• 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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