Rabbi Eisen’s Shabbat Shalom Message

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Torah and Haftarah portions.


Candlelighting for
Friday, February 23, 2018 • 5:59pm

• Our Portion for the Week

TETZAVEH – EXODUS 27:20 – 30:10
In this portion we move from instructions for the creation of the physical Mishkan to details concerning the officiants. At the outset, Moses is directed to see to it that a light is kept burning in the Mishkan, a task that is to be performed by the priests. He is then directed to appoint Aaron and his sons to the priestly office. There follows a detailed description of the vestments of the High Priest and the ordinary priests. Finally, the rituals of installation for the priests are laid out. The Mishkan, as sacred space, is differentiated from profane space by its design. In like manner, its officiants are to be distinguishable from the laity by their attire and insignia of office. In particular, the High Priest is to wear vestments which symbolize his role as representative of the entire community before God. The High Priest, who presided over sacrificial rites, evolved into the prayer leader of today's synagogue. That individual is still designated Shaliach Tzibur, the representative of the congregation.

• Our Question for the Week •

  1. We open with instructions to the people to bring olive oil. What is it used for, and when was it used? Why do you think that there was an instruction to always have the light on?
  2. The Kohanim have special garments. In general, what is the purpose of garments that are identified with a job or a position? What is the purpose of the garments of the Kohanim according to 28:2?
  3. Aaron the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) has special garments, even among the other Kohanim. On his shoulders are 2 precious stones (28:9-12). What is written on them? Why are they placed on Aaron's shoulders? What might it suggest about the role of the Kohen Gadol?
  4. As part of his special garments Aaron will wear a gold plate on his forehead (28:36-39). What is inscribed on the gold plate? What might that suggest about the role of the Kohen Gadol? How compatible is that with the role we saw in the previous question?
  5. In order for Aaron and his sons to become Kohanim, they have to go through an extensive ceremony, the instructions for which are found in chapter 29. How long is this ceremony good for according to 29:9?