Torah Weekly - Tetzaveh
Dedicated to the memory of Mr. Jack Annis whose life was the embodiment of devotion, concern and love for others. May his good deeds be an inspiration to all his family.
Tetzaveh, Shabbos ZachorFor the week ending 11 Adar 5756; 1 & 2 March 1996
Hashem 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 Aaron and his sons. This includes offering sacrifices, dressing Aaron and his sons in their respective garments, and anointing Aaron with oil. Hashem commands that every morning and afternoon a sheep be offered on the Altar in the Mishkan. This offering should be accompanied by a meal-offering, and libations of wine and oil. Hashem commands that an Altar for incense should be built from acacia wood, and covered with gold. Aaron and his descendants should burn incense on this Altar every day.
"Upon it shall Aaron bring the spice incense in smoke, every morning, when he cleans the lamps, he shall bring it up in smoke." (30:7)
To influence people - spend billions of dollars on advertising campaigns! Pound out the message from every television, every hour on the hour! Write everything in sky-writing! Or in Broadway lights, 20-feet high...
This may be true when the message itself is false: Maybe the little blue stripes won't keep your teeth looking brighter; maybe you won't lose all that weight by just eating the cornflakes package... But when the message is the Truth, then it doesn't have to be trumpeted to the skies. It has a power to sell itself.
In the Beis Hamikdash the service of burning the incense - the ketores - was performed in private, away from public eyes - yet its scent could be detected as far away as Jericho, over twenty miles away!
When a person puts all his effort into living correctly, in accordance with the Torah, then, even though he may not broadcast his virtues, people will beat a path to his door. His life may be a quiet understatement, but all his actions will radiate an inner purity and holiness like a beacon.
"And now, you shall command the Children of Israel..." (27:20)
From his birth until Sefer Devarim (Deuteronomy), Moshe's name appears in every Parsha - except one - this week's Parsha. The Vilna Gaon explains that Moshe died on the seventh of Adar. As this date usually falls in the week of Parshas Tetzaveh, so just as Moshe was removed from the world during this week, so his name was 'removed' from the Parsha of this week.
The words of the tzaddik can have a power beyond their immediate context. When Hashem wanted to destroy the Jewish People after their infidelity with the golden calf, Moshe pleaded with Hashem, saying "Erase me from Your Book that You have written." Moshe asked that he, rather than the Jewish people, should be eradicated. Even though Moshe spoke out of total self-sacrifice, nevertheless, his words made an impression, and it is for this reason that his name was 'erased' from the Parsha.
(Ba'al HaTurim, Nachal Kadmonim in Iturei Torah)
"Pure pressed oil for illumination" (27:20)
The light of the Menorah represents the light of Torah. The oil for the Menorah had to be pressed gently, one olive at a time, until it yielded its oil. It could not be crushed, because this would leave in it particles of olive and sediment. And even though these could be filtered out afterwards, the oil for the Menorah had to be pure from the start, not 'fixed up' later.
Let us understand this as a paradigm for teaching the Torah: We must transmit the Torah in a pure and unadulterated way. Let us be vigilant not to 'dress the Torah up' by pandering to what is 'politically correct'. The Torah needs no re-vamping or re-decorating to make it more palatable. The sediment of hype must not be mixed with Torah. For, even though one might think that it can be filtered out afterwards, like the oil of the Menorah the teaching of Torah must be pure from the start.
Haftorah Parshas Zachor
Shmuel I 15:1-34Contents
The second of the Four Parshios that we read in the months of Adar and Nissan is Parshas Zachor. Zachor means "Remember." The Torah tells us "Remember what Amalek did to you on the way, when you came out of Egypt." On Shabbos Zachor we fulfill the mitzvah to "destroy the remembrance of Amalek from under the heaven" by reading this section from the Torah.
Parshas Zachor is always read the week before Purim, because on Purim we celebrate our deliverance from Amalek's most notorious descendent - Haman.
The Haftorah of Parshas Zachor depicts another encounter with the descendants of Amalek: King Shaul was commanded to annihilate Amalek, but he failed to kill their king Agag. While in captivity, the last of the Amaleki, Agag, managed to sire a child, and it was from this child that Haman was descended.
Insights into the Zemiros sung at the Shabbos table throughout the generations.
Yom Zeh LeYisrael
"This day is for Israel..."
Hear this Zemir
"You sanctified and blessed it above all days."
In the Torah's description (Bereishis 2:3) of the Shabbos of Creation we read that "G-d blessed the seventh day and sanctified it." Rashi explains that the blessing was in regard to the Manna which would eventually sustain the Children of Israel during their forty years in the wilderness: "Each day of the week an omer of Manna descended from heaven for each person and on the sixth day there was a double portion. He sanctified the Shabbos in regard to Manna as well by withholding the descent of Manna on that day."
If they only received on the sixth day what was required for the sixth and seventh wherein lies the blessing?
We present two of the many resolutions offered by the commentaries:
- For each day the amount of Manna was only sufficient for two meals. The Shabbos portion which came on the sixth day was enough to provide for three meals on the holy day.
- The Manna which descended on the sixth day was double that of the other days both in quantity and in quality. It smelled and tasted different - a portent, perhaps, of the meals which Jews would eat on Shabbos throughout the generations.
Written and Compiled by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair
General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
Production Design: Lev Seltzer
HTML Design: Michael Treblow
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