Torah Weekly

For the week ending 16 February 2019 / 11 Adar I 5779

Parshat Tetzaveh

by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair -
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G-d tells Moshe to command the Jewish People to supply pure olive oil for the menorah in the Mishkan (Tent of Meeting). He also tells Moshe to organize the making of the bigdei kehuna (priestly garments): a breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a checkered tunic, a turban, a sash, a forehead-plate, and linen trousers. Upon their completion, Moshe is to perform a ceremony for seven days to consecrate Aharon and his sons. This includes offering sacrifices, dressing Aharon and his sons in their respective garments, and anointing Aharon with oil. G-d commands that every morning and afternoon a sheep be offered on the altar in the courtyard of the Mishkan. This offering should be accompanied by a meal-offering and libations of wine and oil. G-d commands that another altar be built, for incense, from acacia wood and covered with gold. Aharon and his descendants should burn incense on this altar every day.


Being a Professional Human Being

“You shall make vestments of sanctity for Aharon your brother for glory and splendor.” (28:2)

I was in a music store the other day. In the back of the store I heard someone playing the piano. Of course it wasn't a real piano. Those are a rare breed nowadays, rarely spotted outside the likes of Carnegie Hall. This was an amazingly life-like electric counterfeit. It sounded amazing. The music coming from this piano was really beautiful and I turned to see who it was that was coaxing such divine sounds from this electric beast. My eyes alighted on a guy in his thirties, somewhat overweight, with a blue shadow of a two-day beard around his jowls, and dark rings under his eyes. The contrast between him and his music was to me — to say the least — quite arresting. As I was walking to the back of the store I said to him, "You play really beautifully." Without looking up he said, "Ani yodea, which means “I know”. I thought of Peter Shaffer's play "Amadeus" about Mozart. The main idea in "Amadeus" is that you don't have to be a beautiful human being to make beautiful music. Shaffer's depiction of Mozart is an uncouth slob with the manners and the sensitivity of an elephant.

“You shall make vestments of sanctity for Aharon your brother for glory and splendor.”

“Glory” was due to Aharon and his descendants by the mere fact of their lineage, even though their abilities were given by G-d. “Splendor” comes to a person only through his own effort and accomplishment.

Rav Shlomo Wolbe said that the definition of a Jew is “a professional human being”. If a Jew doesn't work on his character as hard as an aspiring concert pianist practices to get to Carnegie Hall, he will never become an Artist of the Soul.

· Source: based on the Malbim

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