Torah Portion: Tetzaveh (You Shall Command) Shemot (Exodus) 27:20-30:10
HafTorah: Ezekiel 43:10-27
New Testament: Philippians 4:10-20
This Torah portion covers the clothing of Aaron and his sons as well as offerings to be offered for their consecration as priests. First, let’s look at Exodus 28:3 where we read G-d’s instructions on who to pick to make the priestly items. In my English translation it reads, “gifted artisans.” However, in Hebrew the words are, “wise of heart.” So the question comes to mind, what does wisdom have to do with the heart? I think the Torah is saying that if our wisdom does not affect our hearts it is meaningless. I think Romans 12:2 might help us as believers to come to an answer for this. Our minds, the repository of our wisdom, must play itself out in our heart and in our actions. We may know the scripture by heart and be able to debate a plethora of religious topics but if all that wisdom makes no impact on our lives and actions then we are like a donkey carrying around sacks of knowledge but it is still a donkey. Our minds have been renewed. That renewal must be evident in our lives as we go about our daily walk with the L-rd. I Cor. 13, the chapter on love, lays this out very well. Our renewed minds must make a difference.
Look at Exodus 28:2 where G-d instructs Moses to make holy garments for Aaron and his sons. As English speakers we often apply spiritual meaning to this word which is not always accurate. What does it mean to be holy. The Hebrew word is kadosh. It basically means set apart for a specific purpose. So, in this case the garments were set apart and could only be used by specific people for a specific reason. Here they are to be used for the worship of G-d and only for that. I asked you to look at I Cor. 6:12-20. With that definition of holy in mind, think about what this means for us in our day to day life. This should help us to understand how our bodies, flesh and blood bodies, can be described as holy. What does this mean for us on a day to day basis? It doesn’t mean that there is some mystical goodness attached to our bodies. It simply means that G-d does not want our bodies used for anything but Him and His purposes. How does this speak to how we are to live from day to day? Like the renewing of our minds this impacts every aspect of our lives. How?
To carry on with the clothing, in this same verse Exodus 28:2 we read where these garments are for glory and beauty. The word used for glory here is Kavod. It is used 16 times in the Torah, only here in this section it appears twice as applying to something other than G-d. The word Teferet or beauty only appears three times in Torah, two fo them here and once in Deut 26:19. So it should be clear here that these words especially Kavod means that the garments are to be reflections of G-d. When people see these garments they should immediately be reminded of G-d. The colors in the robes of the High Priests are the same used to adorn the Tabernacle (Mishkan). As such they show the High Priest being completely and intimately connected with this earthly dwelling of G-d.
I would like to look at some of these garments, starting with the Ephod. It was to be worn only by the priest. It was like a robe. Gideon made one in Judges 8:27 which caused Israel to follow false gods. The one here was made of the same material as the curtains and veil of the Mishkan. Its main function was to support the “stones of remembrance.”
On the shoulders of the ephod were two stones, one on each side. On them were written the names of the twelve tribes, six on each stone. Exodus 28:12 tells us that Aaron shall carry their names before the L-rd on both his shoulders as a remembrance. Now think of the heavenly temple and Yeshua going into G-d’s presence carrying us on His shoulders that G-d would remember us as part of Israel, grafted in to the tribes. Or even on the earthly scene of a shepherd rescuing a lamb and carrying it on his shoulders. Our Good Shepherd carries us on His shoulders and by the renewing of our mind and our transformed wisdom we help carry each other each day.