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Parshat Tetzaveh

This week’s Torah portion, Parshat Tetzaveh, discusses two important topics: the clothing of the Kohen Gadol and the korbanot. The Kohen Gadol had a very important job to do as the representative of the entire Jewish nation to Hashem, so he had to dress properly for his significant role. Therefore, he always had Hashem on his mind and the Jewish nation in his heart through the Tzitz (headband) and Choshen (breastplate).

The order of the sacrifices also teach us something very interesting. The first sacrifice is for sins. The first thing we have to do in order to get closer to Hashem is purify ourselves and repent for our sins. The second sacrifice is the Olah, which is completely burned up to Hashem. This sacrifice teaches us that when self-interest conflicts with Hashem’s wishes, remember that it is not about us. The most interesting aspect of the sacrifices, though, is the last. What could be the final step in coming close to Hashem, which is even better than offering everything to Him? The final sacrifice is split between man and Hashem. We must remember that we were created to be partners in creation, and in order to properly do Tikkun Olam we have to work with G-d and use our talents in this world.

There is one more interesting aspect about this parsha: Moshe’s name is not mentioned at all. So why is Moshe not mentioned only in this parsha? It seems quite strange – Hashem speaks to Moses, but just says וְאַתָּ֞ה תְּצַוֶּ֣ה, “and you should command”.

Some parshiot feel complete. You read about Avraham where Hashem tells him to leave the comforts of home, yet you know where he is going and how he will forever change the world. You read about the Jews leaving Egypt and you see how they got there, how Hashem rescued them from slavery, and where they are going. But a parsha like Tetzaveh just does not work like the other parshas. Hashem answers this question by leaving out Moshe. Moshe is the bearer of Halacha (law), the emissary of the Divine law. Moshe is left out of this week’s parsha to indicate to us that it is not enough for the Kohen Gadol to just “do his thing” on behalf of the Jewish nation. Moses is left out to indicate that as important as the Kohen Gadol’s service is for the nation of Israel, each and every one of us also has an obligation to live in this world, governing our lives by the laws of the Torah.

Shabbat Shalom!

By: Michelle Behar (9th grade)

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