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Moses appointed twelve emissaries to scout out the Holy Land and return with a report. The representative for the tribe of Ephraim was Moses’ primary disciple, Joshua. Until this time, the lad’s name was Oshua. But Moses added a letter to his name and called him Joshua.
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Home » Tetzaveh

Tezaveh: Food for Thought for your Dinner Table

Submitted by on February 10, 2008 – 3:32 amNo Comment | 2,802 views

Sunday: The Binding Oil

“And you shall instruct the children of Israel and they shall take to you pure olive oil.” The Hebrew word “tetzaveh,” carries a dual meaning. It means instruct and it also means bind. An alternate, but deeper meaning of this verse is that Moses is instructed to bind, rather than instruct, the Jewish people. To whom should they be bound? The should be bound to each other. In plain words, Moses was charged with the mission of uniting the people.

United, we serve G-d on a much higher plane than is possible when we are divided. All Jewish souls originate from the same source; we are each a veritable part of the Divine essence. When united we are able to draw on our collective soul, the Divine essence, which is far more potent than the sum total of our individual souls. This is the deeper meaning of the words, “They shall take to you pure olive oil.” Pure olive oil is a metaphor for the pure essence, the very origin, of the Jewish soul. Sefer Mamarim 5687

Monday: Honest Dealings

Though we work to earn a living, we all wish for a light workload and a generous income. This is achieved by two means: Scrupulous honesty and setting aside times for Torah study.

These two means are alluded to in the verse, “Two chains of pure gold, for the edges you should make them.” The dimensions of the High Priest’s apron required two gold chains that extended over his shoulders and attached to the front upper corners of his apron. This is the literal translation of the verse, however each of these words carries an alternative translation.

“Two chains of pure gold.” Pure gold refers to pure or sufficient sustenance, which is provided by two chains or conditions. “Edges you should make them.” Edges imply that there must be firm end-times to our workdays, after which we must leave work behind and engage in Torah study. The words, “Edges you should make them,” or in Hebrew “Mishbatzot taaseh Otam,” forms an acronym for the Hebrew word Emet, truth. This implies that our business dealings must be transparent and conducted with scrupulous honesty. Divrei Yisroel

Tuesday: High Minded

Our sages taught that the High Priest’s forehead plate atoned for the sin of high mindedness. Jewish tradition has always regarded humility as a great virtue, however, humility should never be misconstrued as weakness. In our commitment to Jewish values we must be firm and supremely confident. We must be self-assured as we stand up to our detractors even as we are careful not to allow our inner strength to graduate into high-minded haughtiness.

This is why Moses was instructed to engrave the words “holy unto G-d” upon the High Priest’s forehead plate. A plate of gold worn on the forehead is an emblem of self confidence and pride. Yet this pride must be reserved for the exclusive use of that which is “holy unto G-d.” We must always be on guard lest we allow our pride to compromise our humility. Ktav Sofer

Wednesday: Fulfilled Living

G-d instructed Moses to inaugurate Aaron and his sons into the priesthood. The Hebrew word “Umileita,” which is contextually translated as “you shall inaugurate,” is literally translated as “you shall fulfill.” Indeed, the service of G-d is the most enriching and fulfilling endeavor available to humanity.

Every human endeavor is driven by motive; either by something we crave or by something we need. No single endeavor can provide for every one of our desires and needs. If one need is fulfilled, another arises and takes its place. Divine worship is the exception. Devotees to the service of G-d are absolutely satisfied; they feel as if they have everything they need and lack for nothing. This is why the Torah often claims that the righteous lack for nothing. It is not that they are flush with luxury and comfort, it is just that they are thrilled and fulfilled with the one gift they truly desire. Kedushas Levi

Thursday: Every Jew

Moses performed the inaugural service in the Tabernacle. Why was Moses, a Levite, chosen to lead the inaugural service, rather than his brother Aaron the priest?

Throughout this Torah portion Moses is not mentioned by name. This is because Moses stipulated that his name be erased from the Torah if the sin of the Golden Calf were not forgiven. Though the sin was in fact forgiven Moses’ words were partially effective and his name was omitted from this portion.

Aaron’s primary function was to light candles. It was his mission to illuminate the hearts and minds of the nation with the warmth and light of divinity. What of those Jews who were impervious to Aaron’s message? What of those, who refused to enter the sanctuary and partake of Aaron’s inspiration? How would Aaron reach them?

Moses, who risked his own link to the Torah on behalf of idol worshipers and sinners, was able to reach out and touch even those Jews who deliberately avoided Aaron’s circle of light. By performing the inaugural priestly service, Moses endowed Aaron and the priests of succeeding generations with the ability to attract and inspire even those Jews who choose to remain at a distance. Likutei Sichos

Friday: Dwelling for G-d

After the priests donned their garments and took their office, G-d sanctified the Tabernacle and promised to dwell among the people. That the presence of G-d was manifest within the sanctuary goes without saying. That G-d would dwell among the people, in their homes and in their hearts, was a novelty.

Today we no longer have the Tabernacle or a sacred place where G-d’s presence is manifest, but we do have a replacement. Our sages taught that since the destruction of the Temple, G-d vacated the holy of holies and made himself present in the tents of Torah study. In this sense we recreate the sanctity of the Temple. When we study the Torah and live according to its precepts, our homes, families and very hearts, become dwelling places for G-d.  Likutei Sichos

Shabbat: The Private Mitzvah

The dimensions for the Tabernacle and it’s apparatus appear in the previous Torah portion. This portion is devoted primarily to the priestly garments. However, the specifications for the golden altar, upon which incense was offered in the inner sanctum, appears, to our surprise, at the end of this portion.

This altar comes last because it represents the pinnacle of devotion. Every other offering was attended by more than one priest. The incense was offered by a single priest. No one else was permitted to enter the sanctuary during this time, only the priest, the incense and G-d.

It is precisely the privacy of that moment that lent it its sanctity. This point is instructive. All Mitzvot are sacred, but performing a Mitzvah quietly, without fanfare or public attention, is, by far, the most sacred method of all. Likutei Sichos