Torah Portion: Tetzaveh (You are to order) Exodus 27-30
HafTorah: Ezekiel 43:10-27
This week’s Torah portion begins by giving instructions about the oil to be used in lighting the Ner Tamid or the eternal flame, and then the next chapter speaks of the clothing for Aaron and his sons as they minister to G-d in the Mishkan (Tabernacle).
The clothing is to be for honor and glory. Honor and glory for whom? It is to bring honor and glory to G-d, to show His greatness and might. I would like us as we read these verses to think of this in spiritual terms and what we can learn for our lives. To help us grasp this I want us to read first Exodus 29:45-46. Here we can see what G-d’s ultimate purpose was in bringing Israel out for Egypt and by extension what His purpose is in bringing us out of sin. In these verses we hear G-d say that the point of everything was so His Presence would dwell in their midst and our midst. Here the Mishkan was a symbol or place where the Presence could be experienced. The Mishkan was located in the center of the camp. Everything revolved around it. Each day was lived with this symbol at the center of Israel’s existence. Why? It was so the daily life of each Israelite (and us by the Holy Spirit) be influenced with the Holiness of G-d and that holiness would be lived out in their lives.
For us, according to the New Testament in I Cor. 6:19-20 and I Cor. 3:16, our bodies are the Temple of G-d. Our home and our lives should be centered on the indwelling Presence of G-d. In fact we could say the point of our life as a believer is to live out that holiness each day.
Sadly what happened with Israel and sometimes with us if we are not diligent, is described in Isaiah 29:13, “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me.” Our faith can become a matter of just going through the motions and not considering who we are. We lose the fire and give little meaning to our lives spiritually. In D’Varim 11:13 we read where we are to worship Him with all our hearts and all our souls.
Even in our homes we should see our faith played out between husband, wife and children. Each person in the family should be considerate and thoughtful of the others. If not, the home will dissolve into more of a business relationship rather than a marriage and a home. This is how it is with our Father. Our relationship should never dissolve into just doing the minimum but rather He is due our complete devotion and attention. Then the world will see a difference in us and our lives.
Here in this Torah portion the priests wore clothing that reflected who they were. When an Israelite saw someone dressed in priestly garments they knew immediately who they were and who they represented. You could say in some ways, clothing makes the man/woman. Our clothing should reflect the honor and glory of G-d. In Ecclesiastes 9:8 we read here the same two things mentioned as we have read in this Torah portion, oil or wisdom and clothing. I say all this not to condemn what people wear but to call attention to the fact that it is an important part of how people perceive us. It gives a nonverbal clue to who we are. My point is that we are to draw attention not to ourselves but to the Lover of our Soul. Our clothing may turn heads but the bigger question is do they bring honor to us and to the One Who loves us.
So as we read these verses about the priests and how they were G-d’s representatives remember so are we. Don’t let our lives become so much lived by rote that we become complacent and just get through each day without living every second to its fullest, bringing honor and glory to G-d.