Learning Group– Parshat Tetzaveh
(Exodus: 27:20- 30-10)
1. [27:20 ] “And you will command the children of Israel and they will take for you pure olive oil…” The language of this pasuk is very strong in Hebrew. The olive oil for the menorah is the job of the Kohanim and could have been part of a longer list of articles for the mishkan. What is so important about the olive oil for the menorah that makes the Torah emphasize it so much?
2. [28:2] “This is the clothing that they will make…” If the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) or the regular kohen do their ceremonial work in the tabernacle or Temple without their special clothing, then the work is not acceptable, and they have done a sin. What is the status of the clothing? When it is worn out, must it be disposed of in a holy way, or can it just be discarded like any old clothing? What is the “holy status” of other ceremonial objects—tefillin, lulav and etrog, a Kiddush cup, etc.?
3. [28:3] “…to make him holy, to serve me.” What is holiness? What does it mean to be holy? What does this phrase in our kedushah prayer mean: “Holy, holy, holy is God. The whole world is full of His glory”?
4. [29:1] “…to consecrate Aaron and his sons as priests to me.” The position of Kohen Gadol (High Priest) is not hereditary—the most worthy person is chosen. The position of kohen (priest), however, is hereditary. The son of a kohen is a kohen. Why isn’t a regular kohen’s position also based on merit?
5. [Yechezkel 43:11] “If they are embarrassed with all that they have done…” Only if the Jews regret the sins that brought about the destruction of the first Temple, will they be prepared for building the second Temple. If there is no regret, then there is no second Temple. Couldn’t one argue that by building the Temple, a central place for holiness and forgiveness, the Jews will be encouraged to regret their acts and turn to God? Why is this possibility not considered?
Certainly the Holy Temple cannot hold God’s honour and greatness. However, because of God’s love for Israel, He contracted his greatness so that His presence could rest on the Temple, and His kingdom could be revealed. In this way, we are able to take on the job of keeping His commandments and revealing His kingdom in the world.
–R. Nachman of Breslov, 17772-1810, Ukraine.
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