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Parashat Tetzaveh "You shall command"

Exodus 27:20 - 30:10

1 Samuel 15:1-34;

Hebrews 13:10-17

Shabbat Zachor

 

The normal HafTorah for this Parasha is Ezekiel 43:10-27. Both the Parasha and the HafTorah in Ezekiel describe GOD's holy sacrificial altar and its consecration. The Parasha describes the Tabernacle in the wilderness (Exodus 27:1-8;29:36-37), and the HafTorah is Ezekiel's conception of a future Temple (Ezekiel 43:13-17). Both the describe plans conveyed by a mighty prophet, Moses.

 

On Shabbat Zachor

When Parasha Tetzaveh coincides with Shabbat Zachor (the special Sabbath immediately preceding Purim-as it does in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2018), the HafTorah is 1 Samuel 15:1-34.


Connection to the Special Sabbath

On Shabbat Zachor, the Sabbath just before Purim, Jews read Deuteronomy 25:17-19, which instructs Jews to "Remember (Zachor) what Amalek did" in attacking the Israelites. (Deuteronomy 25:17.) The HafTorah for Shabbat Zachor, 1 Samuel 15:1-34 describes Saul's encounter with Amalek and the treatment of the Amalekite King, Agag by Saul and Samuel. Purim, in turn, commemorates the story of Esther and the Jewish people's victory over Haman's plan to kill the Jews, told in the book of Esther (Esther 1:1-10:3). Esther 3:1 identifies Haman as an Agagite, and thus a descendant of Amalek. Numbers 24:7 identifies the Agagites with the Amalekites. Alternatively, a Midrash tells the story that between King Agag's capture by Saul and his killing by Samuel, Agag fathered a child, from whom Haman, in turn, descended. (Seder Eliyahu Rabbah chap. 20; Targum Sheni to Esther 4:13.) [From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]

 

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 'til morning."

 

The priestly garments, to be worn by the Kohanim (priests), while serving in the Sanctuary, are described. All Kohanim wore: the ketonet-a full-length linen tunic; michnasayim-linen breeches; mitznefet or migba'at-a linen turban; avnet-a long sash wound above the waist.

In addition, the Kohen Gadol (high priest) wore: the efod, an apron-like garment made of blue, purple and red dyed wool, linen and gold thread; the choshen, a breastplate containing twelve precious stones inscribed with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel; me'il-a cloak of blue wool, with gold bells and decorative pomegranates on its hem; 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.

 

Shlomo Hamelech (King Solomon) wrote in Koheles, "Let your garments always be white and your head never lack oil." (Ecclesiastes 9:8)

 

As we read in this week's Parasha, there is the command to make for use in the Mishkan, the portable sanctuary, oil for the Menorah and the clothes for the Cohanim, the priests. Instruction for the consecration of the Cohanim and the outer altar are discussed. This Parasha concludes with instruction for constructing the incense altar.

Scripture reminds us that we must minister to our GOD (Ex 28:1). Our supplications are to be a constant reminder before HaShem (Ex 28:29). 1 Peter 2:5 states that we are to offer spiritual sacrifices before our Lord. We are a royal priesthood, a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9).

 

Prayer represents the establishment of a relationship with GOD. Whether it is an entreaty, supplication, a humble request or a religious prayer service, the act of praying shapes the spiritual basis of life.

 

If we are to nurture a strong bond with our Creator, we must continually communicate with Him.

 

Proper prayer is not merely a means of presenting our requests or pursuing a relationship with our Heavenly Father. There is no magic formula to get things from GOD. The secret of prayer is the prayer itself, the blessings of resting in the presence of GOD.

 

Shavua Tov


Rabbi Z.




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