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Tetzaveh (You shall command) Exodus (Sh’mot) 27:20-30:10

Torah PortionTetzaveh (You shall command) Exodus (Sh’mot) 27:20-30:10

Haftorah Reading: Ezekiel 43:10-27

Tonight, there are several things I want us to look at that I think are important for us today. The first thing is the coming holiday of Purim. Purim begins on Monday evening, March 9th, at sundown. The Torah portion we read tonight can be connected to this holiday and in fact is always read before Purim.

 

The holiday of Purim is based on the book of Esther in scripture. In this book we read of an evil plan by the villain of the book. His name is Haman. Haman, as described in Esther 3:1, was an Aggagite, who was a descendent of Amalek. Aggag was a King whom King Saul had defeated in battle. Saul had been told to kill the King Aggag but instead he refused and it cost him his kingdom. Now, here in Esther we see Haman a descendent of this King who Saul refused to kill years before. To me, we can learn an important lesson from this story. If Saul had followed G-d’s command Haman might have never come on the scene and this persecution of the Jews might never have happened.

 

From this I think we all can learn an important lesson. Our actions matter. Our obedience to the Father matters. When G-d leads us in any matter it is important for us to be faithful. The future may depend on who we are today and how we live our lives today.

 

In Esther we see this young Jewish girl faced with a choice, to do what she could to save her people or to just be quiet. She stood up and was used by G-d to defeat the plans of Haman. May we all be faithful to stand up and do what G-d calls us to do.

 

Now to the Torah portion; In Sh’mot/Exodus 27:20-21 we read where G-d commanded Moshe to go and command the priest to use only the best olive oil for the lighting of the menorah in the Mishkan. He also gave the same command in Leviticus 24:1-3. These are the only two places in scripture where we find such an emphatic command that Moshe himself must deliver personally. I think this was done to impress upon the priests and the people that only our best is expected in our services of G-d. Ordinary oil would have been okay to produce a light but here G-d is saying when you worship Me I expect your best not just enough to get by. We are to give Him our best. This oil was to give the best light possible so He sent Moshe to make that point to the priests and to us.

 

We see light used over and over to symbolize G-d. Some examples are found in Isaiah 60:19, 60:1, 60:3 and in Isaiah 49:6. This theme of light appears often in the Messianic scriptures as well. In Matthew 5:14 we read where Yeshua used it and in John 8:12. Now, we can connect these verses all together, pointing to the same goal, the light of G-d will draw all men both Jew and Gentile to Him.

 

Now, I want us to look at my question about the priestly garments mentioned in this Torah portion, things to be seen for glory and splendor. This description and emphasis stands in contrast to what we normally see stressed in scripture. Usually we see the act of hearing as the main point in scripture. In fact, the Hebrew word, shema, or hear, is used 92 times just in the book of D’Varim/Deut. G-d reveals Himself primarily in words. 

In Hebrew the word used for clothing is beged.  This word can also mean to betray. We see clothes used often for just such a purpose. One example is when Ya’acov used Esau’s clothes to deceive their father. Also, when Tamar wore the clothes of a prostitute she hid her true identity from her father-in-law, Judah. There are many other times in scripture where we see clothes used to deceive a person. However, here just the opposite is being said about the clothes worn by Aaron and his sons. So, what are we to make of this?

 

I think these clothes were to teach and  inspire the children of Israel, to put them in awe of whose presence they were in. It was to remind them before whom they were standing. Not so much the priest standing there but the glory of G-d, whom he represented. The priests were meant to help the people, and also us, to sense the invisible L-rd G-d who they could not see with their eyes and to sense the beauty of holiness.

 

It is still important today to remember whose presence we are in when we choose what we wear. What message are we giving the world around us? G-d expects our best and our best should reflect Him. Everything we do and how we live are to reflect the glory of G-d Almighty.

 

So, here in these verses we see another side of how we should conduct our spiritual life, how are we appearing before the world? Bless you all this holiday and as you live your life for the beauty and splendor of G-d.