Parashat Tetzaveh

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Parshas Tetzaveh is the eighth parsha in the Book of Shemos and the final week of Shovavim-Tat during leap years. It contains 101 pesukim. For the Haftora; Yechezkel's prophecy about the Third Beis Hamikdash, is read. On years where Parashat Tetzaveh falls on the Shabbos proceeding Purim, Parshat Zachor is read along with Shaul's war on Amalek for the Haftora.


[edit] Menorah Service

Hashem tells Moshe to command the Jews to bring him pure crushed olive oil for lighting the Menorah. It is to be lit each evening in a way that would last until the morning, by Aharon or his descendants, in its Ohel Moed location right past the dividing curtain separating it from the Araon. This Mitzva along with the Kurban Tomid were issued to Moshe as 'obligating commands', to reinforce their observance since both were continuous daily duties that involved spending money.[1] Lighting the Menorah is a commandment for all generations where applicable.

[edit] Pure Olive Oil

Olive oil used for the Menorah had to be completely pure from any sediments.[2] First, olives from the top of the tree were gathered. These had received the most sun exposure, causing them to ripen first and produce the most transparent oil.[3] Crushing of the olives was done in a small hand press and not in a grinding mill, to avoid the mingling of sediments into the oil.[2] Only the first drop of each olive was fitting for the use in the Menorah. After this, the olives were placed in a grinder and the extracted oil was eligible for use with the 'Mincha' - grain offerings.[2]

[edit] Lighting the Menorah

Each and every night the lamps of the Menorah were ignited. Enough oil was added to keep the flame going for the entire night, lasting until the morning.[4] A set amount of a half a 'lug' (between 6 and 10.6 fl. oz.) was used, since that measurement had been calculated to last through the longest nights of the year that fallout during the month of Teves.[4] On shorter summer nights the same amount of oil was used, if any remained, it did not matter.[4] This oil would last past the night and the flames would generally burn well into the day.[5]

When lightning each lamp, the Kohen had to hold the ignition flame by the wick until the entire thing caught on fire and began rising by itself.[2] Simply lighting the end of the wick was not good enough.[6]

[edit] Omittance of Moshe

When Hashem wanted to destroy the Jews following the sin of the golden calf, Moshe replied that if Hashem does so, then his name should be erased from the Torah. Although this self inflicted curse was conditioned on the materialization of the destruction which did not come to pass, a curse of a Tzadik must happen to some degree once uttered, even if it was dependent on a condition that was never fulfilled. Therefore Moshe's name is completely omitted from the Parsha of Tetzaveh, which is the only Parsha since his birth not to mention him by name and all references to Moshe are done in first person.[7]

[edit] Bigdei Kehuna

Hashem tells Moshe to separate Aharon and his sons; Nadav, Avehu, Elazar and Itamar from the rest of the Jews and turn them into priests. While this was to be done later, upon completion of the Mishkan,[8] Moshe is told to create special holy garments of honor and glory for Aharon in anticipation of the inauguration event.[9] These garments include the Choshen, Efod, Me’il, Katonet, Mitznefet and Avnet. They are to be created by those 'that have wisdom in their hearts', from gold, fine twisted linen as well as blue, scarlet and purple dyed wool.[10] These garments were to initiate Aharon into Priesthood[11] and were to be created from the Mishkan donations given to sanctify Hashem's name.[12] They are to be worn by the Kohanim whenever they performed services in the Mishakan or even entered the Ohel Moed. Failure to do so was punishable by death.

[edit] Efod / Apron

The Efod was an upside-down apron, draped over the back of the Kohen Gadol's feet,[13] starting from a little above the waistline and reaching until his heels.[14] It was constructed from three parts; the main body of the Efod, the 'Cheshev' waist straps and the 'Kitaphot' shoulder straps[12] and used to increase his elegance.[15] The main apron part of the Efod was slightly wider then the width of a human,[14] so it would drape over the sides of the legs as well.[16] It was made from gold, twisted fine linen and wool dyed in blue, scarlet and purple colors. These were embroidered using the 'Choshev' method, involving the weaving of two “walls,” that allowed for completely different designs to be made on each side of the created textile.[14]

[edit] Cheshev

Coming out of the Ephod were two waist-straps called the 'Cheshev', extruding from both the right and the left of the top of its main section.[17] These were tied like a belt around the Kohen Gadol from behind, opposite his heart, below his elbows,[14] to help hold the main part of the garment in place. They were tied above the waist, around the center of the stomach, parallel to the bottom of the heart[18] and the elbows,[19] a location that produces little sweat.[20] It served a similar purpose as the Avnet belt but that was used to tie down the lower Ketonet tonic while the Cheshev was used to secure the upper Me'il - robe.[21] The Cheshev was woven as a continuation of the main body of the Ephod using the same threads,[22] unlike the Kitaphot was not produced separately and then sewn on.[18].

[edit] Kitaphot

The Ephod had two shoulder straps called the 'Kitaphot' coming out from the top right and left of the Cheshev, from the section worn behind the Kohen Gadol.[14] These straps were then worn going vertically up the sides of the back, curving over the shoulders and extending to the chest on the front of the body. They were made from the same materials as the rest of the Ephod.[14] Each shoulder strap was set with a large sardonyx stone that had the names of six tribes engraved on it in the order of their birth. These served as a remembrance of the Jews in front of Hashem, so He will see the fathers of the tribes written before Him, and remember their righteousness.[23] Unlike the Cheshev that was woven as a continuation of the main body of the Ephod,[24] the Kitaphot were produced separately and then sewn on with a needle.[25]

Rings & Chains

Attached to the edges of the Kitaphot shoulder straps, were two[26] gold 'Mishbetzot' settings to which were attached pure gold 'Sharsharos' chains[27] created from braided strands, rather then holes and links.[27] They extended down along the chest and looped through two gold rings on the upper corners of the edge[27] of the Choshen which then doubled over and extending back up to the Kitaphot where both sides of each chain were linked.[14] These attachments served the duel purpose of vertically aligning the Choshen to sit parallel to the heart[14] and at the same time pulled the two Kitaphot inwards applying pressure so they would not slip off the shoulders of the Kohen Gadol as he bent down.[28] They were called 'Sharsharos' because just like the root of a tree (שרש) that hold and insert it to the earth, these chains rooted and held the Choshen to the Ephod.[29]

There were two more rings on the two bottom ends of the Choshen. Opposite them there were two rings on the bottom end of two Kitaphot shoulder straps where they attached to the Cheshev belt.[14] The lower rings of the Choshen would lay on top of the lower Ephod rings.[14] The Kohen Gadol would fasten the rings by inserting a blue cord thought them, so that the bottom of the Choshen would be attached to the band of the Ephod, preventing it from swing back and forth.[14]

Soham Stones

Each shoulder of the Kitaphot had a large sardonyx stone set on it using Bezel settings with gold fully surrounding their circumference[30] They were located at the end of the Kitaphot in front of the shoulders.[14] Each stone had the names of six out of the Twelve Tribes engraved inwardly on it, in clear defined letters like those of a signet ring.[30] The Tribes were listed in the order of their birth. On the right stone were Reuven, Shimon, Levi, Yehudah, Dan and Naftali. On the left stone were Gad, Asher, Yissachar, Zevulun, Yosef and Benyamin[31] whose name was spelled out fully with two Yuds just as it is written at his birth in Parshas Vayishlach.[32] Each stone contained a total of 25 letters[31](Right = ראובן, שמעון, לוי, יהודה, דן, נפתלי / Left = גד, אשר, יששכר, זבולן, יוסף, בנימין)

[edit] Threads

Golden threads were produced by hammering a cluster of gold into a thin sheet and then slicing it into thread thin strips.[33] Each thin diameter sized golden thread was then twirled with six thin diameter sized threads of either blue, crimson or purple dyed wool or fine linen to produce a medium diameter sized thread.[34] Each medium sized thread was therefore composed of seven thin threads, one of gold and six of its variety,[14] producing four distinct varieties (linen, blue, red and purple) of mid diameter threads. A thick diameter sized thread was then produced by combining one of each of the four varieties of mid sized threads together. Each thick diameter sized thread was therefore composed of 28 thin threads[14] (6 linen, 6 blue, 6 red, 6 purple and 4 gold).[35]

[edit] Choshen / Breastplate

The Choshen was a breastplate worn only by the Kohen Gadol, opposite his heart.[12][36] It was made from a rectangle shaped cloth that was folded over to form a doubled[36] perfect square, its length being one 'Zeres' span and its width being one 'Zeres' span. On its front were embedded twelve gemstones and inside the formed pocket were held the Urim v'Tummim parchments. It was embroidered with the craftsmanship of a master weaver from thick threads composed of thinner threads made of gold, fine linen and wool dyed in blue, scarlet and purple colors, just like the Ephod which was also created using the work of a master weaver and from five thread types.[37] The Choshen was suspended from the Ketephot shoulder straps of the Ephod that would overlap from behind the Kohen Godal over his shoulder, descending somewhat in front of him.[36] It was suspended via the Sharsharos chains and Tabaos rings.[36] It was called the Choshen of Judgement because it atoned for the perversion of justice[37] and because it would explain[37] and clarify its words by making clear statements and its promises would comes true.[37]

[edit] Gemstones

The Choshen contained four horizontal rows, each with three gemstones embedded, using gold setting, with bezel rims encircled the outer edges of the gems.[38] Each gemstone would fill the hole of their setting[39] whose depth was created exactly to contain the depth and thickness of each stone.[38] On the stones were engraved like the engraving of a seal, the names of the twelve Tribes of Yisroel in the order of their births.[38] This way they were carried by Aharon over his heart when he entered the Holy and served as a remembrance before Hashem constantly.

Rows of the Choshen

  1. Odem (Reuvain), Pitdah (Shimon), and Bareketh (Levi)
  2. Nofech (Yehuda), Sappir (Dun), and Yahalom (Naftali)
  3. Leshem (Gad), Shevo (Usher), and Achlamah (Yissaschar)
  4. Tarshish (Zevulun), Shoham (Yosef), and Yashpheh (Binyamin)

[edit] Attachment to Ephod

Each of the Choshen's two upper corners parallel to the neck of the Kohen Gadol,[40] on the right and left[40] at its edge,[29] across from the shoulder straps,[40] had a gold ring that fastened[29] the two doubled over Sharsharos chains of pure woven[29] gold. The two ends of each chain[41] were linked to the Mishbetzot setting which were placed[41] on upper side [41] of the Kitaphot of the Ephod, as opposed to its underneath that rested on the Miel robe that was worn under it.[41] The chains were inserted through them[42] looping through the setting. The two ends of the right chain were inserted into the right setting of the shoulder strap, and the two ends of the left chain into the left one.[41] these held the Coshen up directly in front of the heart. These rings and chains were created independently and only then attached to the Choshen.[40]

On the bottom two corners of the Choshen on its right and left[43] were another two gold rings. These were parallel and touching[43] the sides of the Ephod which was worn on the waist[43] of the Kohen Gadol. Due to the pressure of the Cheshev belt, its edges of the Ephod would curve forward towards his front, overlapping a little on his stomach and would touch the bottom of the Choshen which would rest on it.[43] The bottom end of Choshen where the rings were, was also the end containing the centerfold of the rectangular textile that was folded to form a square.[43]

Two gold rings were also placed on the edges of the Ephod that rested under the bottom corners of the Choshen.

These allowed two doubled over blue dyed wool ribbons to loop through them and then connect to the two rings attached to the lower part of the Kitaphot,[44] where they connected to the Cheshev of the Ephod,[45] that lined up very near to the lower rings of the Choshen.[46] This lower fastening allowed the bottom of the Choshen to be held in place[41] and prevented it from bouncing and wobbling on the stomach of the Kohen Gadol,[41] and away from his body as he moved around.[47] Once connected, the Choshen is never to be removed from the Ephod.

[edit] Urim v'Tummim

In back of the Chosen the Urim and the Tummim were placed.

[edit] Me’il / Robe

The Me'il was a robe consisting solely of blue dyed wool, worn only by the Kohen Gadol. It was shaped similar to Ketonet - tunic but was worn above it as an outside robe, while the Ketonet touched the actual skin.[12] The Me'il had an opening on its top similar to the opening of a coat of armor. It was turned inward and had a border around it, the work of a weaver, so it should not be torn. On the bottom hem of the Me'il there was a row of alternating golden bells and pomegranates. Each pomegranate was created from blue, purple, and crimson dyed wool. When Aharon entered or exited the Holy, the bells would make noise.

[edit] Tzitz / Headband

The Tzitz was a headband of pure gold with the words 'Holy to YKVK' engraved upon it. This was worn on the Kohen Gadol's forehead and was held up by straps of dyed blue wool that went over the Mitznephet. The Tzitz atoned for the sin of improper sacrifices and helped make the Jews favorable before Hashem.

[edit] Katonet / Tunic

The Katonet was a tunic of pure linen, woven in a checkered pattern of boxed indents,[48] to produce an elegant design.[49] It was worn by both the high priest as well as regular priests. The Me’il - robe was shaped similarly to the Katonet but was worn above it and only by the high priest, while the Ketonet touched the actual skin.[12]

[edit] Mitznefet / Turban

The Mitznefet was a turban of pure linen. There were two versions of the Mitznefet; those worn by regular Kohanim which were tall and pointy and were generally referred to as 'Migbaot',[50] while the one worn by the Kohen Gadol was more flat and domed[12] and was always referred to as the 'Mitznefet'.[18]

[edit] Avnet / Belt

The Avnet was a belt of pure linen created with embroidery work that secured the lower Ketonet tonic. It served a similar purpose to the Cheshev of the Ephod that was worn only by the High Priest and used to tie down his upper Miel robe.[12]

[edit] Michnasaim / Pants

The Michnasaim were linen pants that extended from the waist down to the thighs.

[edit] Yimay HaMiluim

An inaugural procedure was carried out by Moshe on Ahraon and his sons, each day for a period lasting seven days to secure their investiture. Each day a bull was brought as a 'Chatas' - sin offering, serving as an atonement. This atonement performed upon the alter as well as its anointment with oil for a period of seven days helped sanctify it. Henceforth, the altar became classified as holy of holies, causing whatever touched it to become holy.

[edit] Inauguration Sacrifice

Moshe is instructed to bring an inauguration sacrifice which would be used to sanctify Aharon and his sons, consisting of one young bull and two rams, all in perfect uninjured condition. These were brought along with unleavened bread, unleavened loaves mixed with oil and unleavened wafers anointed with oil. All these were made from fine wheat flour and placed in a basket.

[edit] Appointment of Aharon & Sons

Aharon and his sons were brought near the entrance of the Ohel Moed where Moshe bathed them in water. He then dressed Aharon with the Katonet, Me’il, Ephod, Choshen, Mitznefet and Tzitz. After this, Moshe took the anointing oil and poured it on Aharon's head. Aharon's sons were then clothed with Katonets, girdled with Avnets and had Migbaot high hats placed on their heads.

[edit] Sacrifice of the Bull

Aharon and his sons leaned their hands upon the head of the bull in front of Ohel Moed and there it was slaughtered for the sake of a 'Chatas' - sin offering. Moshe then took some of the bull's blood and applied it with his finger to the horns of the alter. The remaining blood he proceeded to pour upon the base of the altar. Moshe then took the fat that covers the innards, the diaphragm with the liver, the two kidneys and the fat upon them and burnt them upon the altar. The flesh of the bull, its hide and its dung were burnt by Moshe in fire outside the camp.

[edit] First Ram Sacrifice

Aharon and his sons leaned their hands upon the first ram's head, which served as a 'Olah' - burn offering. Moshe then slaughtered the ram and sprinkled its blood all around the altar. He then dissected the ram into parts, washed out its innards and legs, then regrouped them with its head and other body parts, after which he burnt them upon the altar.

[edit] Second Ram Sacrifice

Aharon and his sons leaned their hands upon the second ram's head which served as an inauguration sacrifice. Moshe then slaughtered the ram and took from its blood and put it upon the cartilage of Aaron and his son's right ears, upon the thumbs of their right hands and upon the big toes of their right feet. He then sprinkled blood all around the altar.

Some of the sprinkled blood was taken by Moshe from the alter and then sprinkled along with anointing oil upon Aharon, his sons and their garments, making both the individuals and their clothing holy.

Moshe then took out the fat from the ram, the fat tail, the fat that covers the innards, the diaphragm of the liver, the two kidneys along with the fat that was upon them, and the right thigh. Then along with one loaf of bread, one loaf of oil bread, and one wafer from the basket of matzoth, placed all these upon the palms of Aharon and his sons and waved it a waving. Moshe proceeded to take this from their hands and burn it upon the altar, alongside the previously burnt ram that served as an 'olah' offering.

Moshe then took the breast of the inauguration ram and waved it, making it his portion. The waving of the thigh by Ahron and his sons and the waving of the breast by Moshe, helped sanctify these body parts of the sacrifice, making them a permanent allotment for the eating of the Kohanim from all future 'Shilomim' - peace offerings.

The flesh of the inauguration ram was then cooked by Moshe in a holy location and was eaten by Ahron and his sons with bread from the basket, at the entrance of the Ohel Moed. Their eating served the duel purpose of an atonement and in order to invest them with the full authority of the priesthood and sanctify them. These foods were sacred and were not to be eaten by anyone else. If any of it was left over until the next morning, it had to be burnt in a fire and could no longer be eaten.

[edit] The Promise

Hashem promises to sanctify the Ohel Moed and the altar, as well as Aaron and his sons, turning them into priests to serve Him. Hashem will meetings with the Jews in Ohel Moed and will be sanctified by His glory. Hashem will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel and will be their G-D. They will know that He is their G-D, Who brought them out of Egypt, in order that He may dwell in their midst.

[edit] Korban Tamid

Twice each day the Tamid offering was sacrificed upon the altar, at the entrance of the Ohel Moed. Each offering consisted of a lamb in its first year, one was sacrificed in the morning and one in the afternoon. Included with each lamb was a 'Mincha' offering consisting of one tenth of fine flour, thoroughly mixed with a quarter of a 'hin' of crushed olive oil and a 'Nesech' libation of wine, measuring one quarter of a 'hin'.

[edit] Mizbeach Hazahav

The Mizbeach Hazahav was an alter used for the burning of the Ketoret incense. It was created from Shitim wood and was plated with gold. Constructed horizontally as a square measuring 1 cubit by 1 cubit, it was 2 cubits tall and had square horns extending from each of its four corners. A jagged, crown like border was added to its top, represented the 'crown of priesthood'. Two golden rings were added underneath its crown on its two corners that held the poles used to carry the Mizbeach. These poles were created from Shittim wood and then coated with gold. The Mizbeach Hazahav was placed in the center line of the Ohel Moed, in front of the Parochet - dividing curtain and was classified as 'holy of holies'.

[edit] Ketoret Offering

Twice each day, Aharon or his descendants would burn an incense of spices upon the Mizbeach Hazahav. One Ketoret offering was brought in the morning while setting up the lamps of the Menorah. A second Ketoret offering was brought when the lights of the menorah were lit in the afternoon. It is forbidden to burn on the internal alter any alien incense, burnt offering, or meal offering, and no libation could be poured upon it.

[edit] Yom Kippur Usage

Each Yom Kippur, Aharon and every future Kohen Gadol would apply blood from the 'Chatas' - sin offering on the horns of the golden alter, performing an atonement.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Baal Haturim
  2. ^ a b c d Rashi Shemos 27:20
  3. ^ Rashi Kepshuto
  4. ^ a b c Rashi Shemos 27:21
  5. ^ Rashi Kepshuto
  6. ^ Rashi Kepshuto
  7. ^ Baal Haturim
  8. ^ Rashi Shemos 28:01
  9. ^ Rashi Kepshuto
  10. ^ Rashi Shemos 28:05
  11. ^ Rashi Shemos 28:03
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Rashi Shemos 28:4
  13. ^ Rashi Kepshuto
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Rashi Shemos 28:6
  15. ^ Rashi
  16. ^ Rashi Kepshuto
  17. ^ Rashi Kepshuto
  18. ^ a b c Shover Zadim Parshas Tetzaveh
  19. ^ Rashi Kepshuto
  20. ^ Rashi Kepshuto
  21. ^ Rashi Kepshuto
  22. ^ Rashi Shemos 28:8
  23. ^ Rashi Shemos 28:12
  24. ^ Rashi Kepshuto
  25. ^ Rashi Kepshuto
  26. ^ Rashi Shemos 28:13
  27. ^ a b c Rashi Shemos 28:14
  28. ^ Rashi Kepshuto Footnote
  29. ^ a b c d Rashi Shemos 28:22
  30. ^ a b Rashi Shemos 28:11
  31. ^ a b Rashi Shemos 28:10
  32. ^ Rashi Kepshuto
  33. ^ Rashi Kepshuto
  34. ^ Rashi Kepshuto
  35. ^ Rashi Kepshuto
  36. ^ a b c d Rashi Shemos 28:16
  37. ^ a b c d Rashi Shemos 28:15
  38. ^ a b c Rashi Shemos 28:20
  39. ^ Rashi Sehmos 28:17
  40. ^ a b c d Rashi Shemos 28:23
  41. ^ a b c d e f g Rashi Shemos 28:25
  42. ^ Rashi Shemos 28:24
  43. ^ a b c d e Rashi Shemos 28:26
  44. ^ Rashi Kepshuto
  45. ^ Rashi Kepshuto
  46. ^ Rashi Kepshuto
  47. ^ Rashi Kepshuto
  48. ^ Rashi Kepshuto
  49. ^ Rashi
  50. ^ Rashi Kepshuto Footnote
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