Torah Portion: Tetzaveh (You are to order) Sh’mot (Exodus) 27:20-30:10
HafTorah: Ezekiel 43:10-27
New Testament: Philippians 4:10-20
Tonight we read the Torah section of Tetzaveh or “You Command.” Then we will celebrate the holiday of Purim which begins when Sabbath ends. There is one thing that is similar in each of these events. In this Torah section the name of Moses never occurs. It is the only section from Exodus 1:1 through the end of Deuteronomy that does not contain his name. In the book of Esther the name of G-d never appears. There was much discussion when both the Jewish canon and the Christian canon were adapted on if this book should be included or not, mainly because G-d’s name does not appear. However, as we read the book we can easily see G-d at work arranging events to save His people who are under threat of annihilation from the Persian Empire. They were being crushed under the weight of these threats.
This brings me to my only question of this week. It is based on Sh’mot 27:20, “And you shall command the children of Israel and they bring you pure olive oil of pressed olives for the light to cause the lamp to burn continually.” A couple of things appear here that cause us to take a closer look. Here G-d says, “you command.” The you in this verse is Moses. Usually G-d says “Speak to the children of Israel.” But here He says, “you command.” One thing to notice here is the word command. In Hebrew it can also mean “connect.” More on that later. The other word to notice is, “pressed.” It can also be read as, “crushed.” Crushed for the luminary. What is the luminary in us? It is our spirit, that which motivates us. As believers we are filled with the Spirit of G-d which moves us to live our lives for the glory of G-d.
What happens when we are crushed either physically, emotionally or spiritually? Col. 1:11. It can depend on how we see the crushing. Is G-d in it? Or does He hate us? Or is he punishing us? Do we see the crushing as an opportunity for growth or do we give in to the crushing and fall away? Our attitude in this can either bring light to those around us or darkness. Maybe the crushing can be a growing dissatisfaction with our spiritual growth. Are we satisfied living in exile? It can bring us to change with G-d’s help to where the oil begins to flow and we are the light we are called to be. Matthew 5:14
Which brings me back to the word, “connect.” Moses was to connect the people to G-d. Guess what? So are we. Our role is to be this luminary which will bring light to where we are which will bring light to a dark world.