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This week's 10-Minute Torah (February 12, 2002): "Parashat Tetzaveh" 5782

Parashat Tetzaveh 5782 / פָּרָשַׁת תְּצַוֶּה

Read on 12 February 2022 / 11 Adar I 5782.

Parashat Tetzaveh is the 20th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading.

Parashat Tetzaveh reports God's commands to bring olive oil for the lamp, make sacred garments for the priests, conduct an ordination ceremony, and make an incense altar. [1]

Triennial year 3

1: 29:19-21 · 3 p’sukim ·

2: 29:22-25 · 4 p’sukim ·

3: 29:26-30 · 5 p’sukim ·

4: 29:31-34 · 4 p’sukim ·

5: 29:35-37 · 3 p’sukim ·

6: 29:38-46 · 9 p’sukim ·

7: 30:1-10 · 10 p’sukim ·

maf: 30:8-10 · 3 p’sukim ·

Haftarah: Ezekiel 43:10-27 · 18 p’sukim

There are various rituals for the consecration and inauguration of the Kohen Gadol and other priests that are to be officiating in the mishkan, the portable tabernacle. This part of the portion describes the various offerings as well as the procedures involved in the process. It is done repeatedly for a week.

Moses is not mentioned here specifically, but it is understood that he is doing the consecrating. He is to take some of the blood from the offering and place it on the ridge or lobe of the ear (not quite clear), thumbs of the right hand and big toe of the right foot. This is done with all the priests.

This is very symbolic. Priests need to listen to not just the people, but to Hashem and His commandments; to act righteously on behalf of the people; and go forth among them, following a righteous path.

Additionally, the priest’s clothes are passed down generation to generation.

Even though this is only done once, this process covers all succeeding generations of priest. It is like one long, unbroken line. This almost goes against logic—we might think that every succeeding generation ought to go through the same consecration process. It does not state in the portion, however, that this process is done every time there is a new generation of priests.

Did the rabbis take it for granted that each generation that is ordained has served the same apprenticeship? Therefore, the new priests would take part in the rituals and thus know how a high priest and the ministering priests are to behave and officiate. Each generation learns from the preceding generation what’s expected.

Similarly, each day we recite the “Shema” twice. We are commanded to teach “these words” to our children. Thus we too form an uninterrupted lineage from generation to generation. In a sense, these procedures are not needed to by repeated because the principles, behaviors and mitzvot are always with us.

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