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Tetzaveh Summaries

Tetzaveh 5778-2018

“The Brothers: Moses and Aaron”

The Book of Exodus not only introduces the concept of brotherhood, but provides an extraordinary paradigm of brotherhood through the special relationship of Moses and Aaron.

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Tetzaveh/Purim 5777-2017


Just as the priestly garments have the power to transform a descendent of the tribe of Levi into a functioning priest, so does the ascendance of goodness and righteousness have the power to transform a murderous country into a benevolent society.

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Tetzaveh 5776-2016

“Feeling the Pain of Others who are in Need”

Just as the Torah instructs the High Priest to wear the Breastplate on his heart, so must each Jew feel the pain of those who are in need.

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Tetzaveh 5775-2015

“The High Priest Wears the Names of Israel on His Heart”

The commentators suggest that while the priestly vestments serve to identify a priest, they also represent important ideas and messages that are reflected in the garments and have bearing on the priests’ actions and duties.

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Tetzaveh 5774-2014

“The Choshen–the Breastplate of the High Priest”

The twelve precious stones of the Ephod, represented the unique qualities of each of the twelve tribes.

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Tetzaveh 5773-2013

“The Centrality of Light”

Why does the commandment of lighting the candles appear at the beginning of this week’s parasha, rather than after the completion of the building of the Mishkan and the placement of the utensils?

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Tetzaveh 5772-2012

“Where is Moses?”

Since the entire design and execution of the Tabernacle was done under the supervision of Moses, it is particularly surprising that the name of Moses does not appear, even once, in parashat Tetzaveh.

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Tetzaveh 5771-2011

“Do Clothes Make The Man?”

Just as the ancient priests, who served in the Temple, wore special vestments, so should every Jew be dressed in a special way, to reflect their spiritual roles as servants of the Al-mighty.

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Tetzaveh 5770-2010

“The Central Role of the Golden Altar and the Incense”

The order of the Tabernacle furnishings in the text of the Torah is rather perplexing. All the furnishings are listed together, with the exception of the Golden Altar. What was so special about the Golden Altar that warranted that it be listed separately?

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Tetzaveh 5769-2009

“The Urim and Tumim–The Mysterious Priestly Accessory”

One of the special accessories that the High Priest wore is known as the Urim v’Tumim. It is a rather mysterious vestment and apparently had the power to determine Jewish law, and provide guidance for the leaders of Israel and the people. According to Rashi, Urim stands for light and Tumim stands for clarity.

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Tetzaveh 5768-2008

“Clothes Make the Person”

The Talmud teaches that priests could not officiate if they were not attired in their priestly vestments. Should garments make a difference in how we value people?

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Tetzaveh 5767-2007

“Details, Details and More Details”

The overwhelming emphasis on detail continues in Parashat Tetzaveh, reopening the ongoing debate of “form” and “function.” While all agree that function is preeminent, many emphasize that form is meant to help improve function, raise intensity during prayer and worship and enhance the awareness of Sanctity.

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Tetzaveh 5766-2006

“Drawing Close to G-d”

In parashat Tetzaveh, G-d announces that He will “dwell among the children of Israel and be their G-d.” This statement seems to be asserting that G-d’s presence among the people of Israel will be so overwhelming that they will perforce recognize Him as G-d. And yet, many people today are afraid of drawing too close to G-d, afraid of losing independence, and afraid of losing their individual identity.

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Tetzaveh 5765-2005

“A Flame in Every Jewish Heart”

The “light” of the Menorah has multiple meanings. Our commentators teach us that every Jew must light a Ner Tamid, an eternal lamp, in his/her own heart, not only in the Tabernacle or the tent, but in the street, the marketplace and at the baseball game. Committed Jews must see themselves as “ambassadors” for Jewish life in order to stem the tide of assimilation and to win back the masses who have already walked away from Jewish life.

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Tetzaveh 5764-2004

“Keeping the Priests Humble”

The detailed description of the priestly garments, reflects lives thoroughly devoted to the service of G-d. While their vestments are royal and holy, they are, in essence, quite humbling, connoting accountability and responsibility. The sanctity and complexity of the priestly garments, reveal the multifaceted nature of the priests’ lives, that are at once privileged and charged with awesome responsibility.

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Tetzaveh 5763-2003

“The Primacy of Jewish Education”

In contrast to the voluntary contributions that were made to the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle), the donation of pure olive oil for the candelabra was obligatory. The rabbis say that the light of the candelabra represents wisdom and Jewish education. When it comes to the light of Jewish education, donors have no choice. The People of Israel are expected to keep the menorah, the light of wisdom, of holiness and of Jewish education burning brightly!

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Tetzaveh 5762-2002

“The Korban Tamid–a Lesson in Consistency”

The Tamid, the perpetual offering, was brought every morning and afternoon of every day of the year. Unfortunately, we no longer have a Temple and can no longer offer sacrifices. All we have is prayer. Now we must show our consistency and faithfulness to G-d through our prayers.

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Tetzaveh-Purim 5761-2001

“The True Story of Purim”

The party that King Ahasuerus throws was not only to prove his legitimacy as a monarch, but also to celebrate the destruction of the Jewish people, to confirm that the prophecy of a rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem would no longer be fulfilled. Incredible as it may seem, the Jews of Persia participated in the party with great enthusiasm. For the Jews to be spared from Ahasuerus and Haman, it was necessary for them to rise and to publically affirm G-d’s supremacy.

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Tetzaveh 5760-2000

“Clothes: A Reflection of the Divine Image”

Clothes play an important role in Judaism and in Jewish tradition. After all, the Al-mighty was the first designer of clothes for Adam and Eve. The clothes that the priests wore not only invested them with sanctity, but also represented the values that the priests were trying to communicate to the people.

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