Parash 20 T’tsaveh (you shall command) Sh’mot/Exodus 27:20 – 30:10
Synopsis – God tells Moses to receive from the Children of Israel pure olive oil to feed the "everlasting flame" of the menorah, which Aaron is to kindle each day, "from evening till morning."
The priestly garments, to be worn by the Kohanim (priests) while serving in the Sanctuary are described. All Kohanim wore: 1) the ketonet -- a full length linen tunic; 2) michnasayim -- linen breeches; 3) mitznefet or migba'at -- a linen turban; 4) avnet -- a long sash wound above the waist.
In addition, the Kohen Gadol ("high priest") wore: 5) the efod, an apron-like garment made of blue, purple and red-dyed wool, linen and gold thread; 6) the choshen, a breastplate containing twelve precious stones inscribed with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel; 7) me'il -- a cloak of blue wool, with gold bells and decorative pomegranates on its hem; 8) the tzitz -- a golden plate worn on the forehead bearing the inscription "Holy to God".
Tetzaveh also includes God's detailed instructions for the seven-day initiation of Aaron and his four sons -- Nadav, Avihu, Elazar and Itamar -- into the priesthood, and for the making of the Golden Altar on which the ketoret ("incense") was burned.
Theme & Message – The focus of this portion of the Torah is the God who is holy. The God of the Israelites is first and foremost holy. In order to worship Him and in order to draw near to Him we must be willing to follow His instructions without deviation, variation and without question. The excellence of our Lord demands that we serve with excellence. The work of serving the King of Kings requires skill and wisdom. Not just any servant can serve inside the master’s house. Some servants work in the stables, some work in the fields, yet there are those who are skilled and trusted enough to work inside the house. There is no shame to be a servant of any kind in the master’s kingdom. However, the high honor of serving closest to the King is reserved for those who are willing to do the work preparing and sharpening their gifts and skills for the very hour they are called to serve inside the chambers of our King. The benefit of this obedience and high level of skill is to be able to be with our Lord and dwell with him intimately. We can then be his priests, his representatives on this earth. We will be given knowledge, power and wisdom to minister to the people on His behalf.
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