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Parashot & Haftarot from Shemot -
Weekly Bible Reading #20
Year 5773 (2012/2013) –
Feb. 23, 2013
( You shall command )
27:20 - 30:10
NOTE: Kol HaTor, in
its commentaries on the weekly Parashot, endeavours to search for
and accentuate the Torah Messages contained in the Parashot as
applicable to the main Theme of Tanach of the Return of the House of
Israel, i.e. the Lost Ten Tribes of Northern Israel and their
Reconciliation with Judah to form the reunited 12-Tribed Kingdom of
DISCLAIMER - The authors
whom we quote from for this Commentary
are not associated with KOL HA'TOR and need not agree
with our views expressed herein or in our
other publications. While we publish their
views for its relative value to the interpretation
of the Parashah, KOL HATOR does not necessarily
agree with the views expressed by these
Tetzaveh is the 2nd of a series of 5 Parashot about the
Tabernacle, providing specifications of its design, contents,
apparel and services. From our previous Parashat Terumah, we
have, identified the important message for ourselves:
how the Tabernacle provides man the opportunity to
renew him/herself "in the image of G-d" and to draw closer
until G-d Himself "dwells with man";
how it is man's responsibility to support the building and
maintenance of the Temple and its services with his/her
assets, possessions and abilities by returning to G-d some
of that which G-d in His Kindness has bestowed and which
really belongs to Him.
week, in Parashat Tetzaveh, we will see, from the apparel of the
High Priest, what an important part the twelve Tribes hold in
the Creation and Redemption Plan of HaShem.
Tetzaveh, at great length, describes the special clothing that the
Priests (Kohanim) wore in the Temple. These garments were of such
importance that if anything was lacking, the Temple service would
garments were prescribed for the High Priest (Kohen HaGadol), that
is four more than for the Priests.
The first mentioned of these special garments for the High Priest,
is the Ephod which was an elaborate garment that rested upon the
Kohen Gadol’s shoulders. Upon the shoulders were two gemstones that
were engraved with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. "This
teaches us that at all times we have upon our shoulders not only
ourselves, but also the entire Jewish people [12 Tribes of Israel].
This is true both in our relation with Hashem and with the rest of
the world ...
for the good and the bad, reflect upon the entire Jewish people.
Thus, each of us carries the entire twelve tribes upon our
(Rabbi Biggs, www.Chabad.org ).
Another part of the
High Priest's attire, is the Breast Plate (Choshen
Mishpat}. On it were twelve different gemstones, upon each of which
was inscribed the name of one of the Tribes of Israel. "The
inscription of the Twelve Tribes on the Breastplate
teaches that we must always have
the entire Jewish people [all 12 Tribes] upon our heart. When we
pray, we pray for everyone, when we make a decision, we concern
ourselves with everyone"
Choshen was primarily an instrument designed to communicate
The Choshen's function as an essential garment of the
Kohen Gadol was subsidiary. This means that the stones and the
letters engraved upon them were the main element of the Choshen.
The breastplate was fundamentally a garment designed to display the
stones which featured these engravings. If this possibility is
accepted, then it follows that the size of the stones and the
lettering was dictated by the primary function –
All letters were equally essential. "
http://www.mesora.org/rabbifox/tetzaveh68.htm - Rabbi Bernie
The above commentary continues: "The
Torah describes the stones of the Choshen as 'avnai
miluim'. Most commentaries translate this term as
meant to be set'. This is a strange appellation for these
stones. Why did the Torah not merely describe them as stones for
adornment of the Kohen Gadol’s garments? What message is the
Torah communicating by referring to the stones as avnai miluim?
responds to this question. He explains that the Choshen
featured gold settings. The stones were required in order to fill
these gold settings. This is an odd way to describe the relationship
between the stones and the Choshen. The simpler, more
straightforward description would be that the settings were required
to accommodate the stones.
simple example will illustrate this point. What is the relationship
between the diamond in an engagement ring and its setting? It would
be incorrect to describe the diamond as 'required to fill', or
complement, the setting (thus
suggesting that the diamond is secondary to the setting).
The setting is designed to hold the diamond!"
[Thus, the Tribes play a primary role in HaShem's Temple Plan!]
"Why does Gershonides describe the stones as 'required' to fill the
Gershonide's point is that the stones were designated to adorn and
complete the Choshen. "
This enlightening insight presented by
Mesora.org continues when we review the High Priest's Head
Message of the Kohen Gadol’s Head-Plate
"And you should make a Head-plate of pure
gold. And you should engrave upon it as the engraving of a
signet ring, 'Sanctified to Hashem'. (Exodus 28:36).
"One of the eight garments
of the Kohen Gadol was the Tzitz – the golden Head-Plate. This
band was worn on the forehead. Engraved upon the Tzitz were the
words 'sanctified to Hashem'.
"The message of the
Tzitz seems difficult to unravel. The Tzitz is
obviously declaring the sanctity of some object or person.
However, the specific entity to which the Tzitz refers is
not clear. Furthermore, we would expect the message of the
Tzitz to be self-evident. The Tzitz is making the
overt assertion that it—or someone—is 'sanctified to G-d.' Such
a message should be easy to grasp!
"This issue can perhaps be
resolved from the comments of the Sefer HaChinuch. Sefer
HaChinuch explains the garments of the kohanim and the
Kohen Gadol were designed to reinforce an important
impression ... This suggests
that the phrase, 'sanctified to Hashem' refers to the Kohen
Gadol. He is sanctified to Hashem. The Tzitz
reminds the High Priest of his position and his duties. He must
conduct himself in accordance with his responsibilities.
"Rabbaynu Shemuel ben Meir
– Rashbam – offers an
alternative explanation of the message of the Tzitz.
Rashbam suggests that in order to understand the
message of the Tzitz, it is essential to evaluate it as
part of the entire set of vestments. The garments of the
Kohen Gadol must be considered as a whole.
"The Tzitz was not
the only vestment featuring words. The Ephod – the apron
– and the Choshen also featured words. On the stones of
the Ephod and Choshen the names of the tribes were
engraved. Rashbam suggests that the message of the Tzitz
emerges when considered in relation to these other vestments and
their engravings. Rashbam explains the Tzitz refers to
the shevatim -- the Tribes whose names were engraved on
the stones of the Ephod and Choshen.
(therefore) refers to these shevatim as sanctified to
Hashem." (End of
What a glorious Calling! What an
"Blessed are you, O
Israel! Who is like you, a
people saved by HaShem?
He is your Shield and Helper
and your glorious Sword."
The Quest for UNITY in His
"From its very beginnings,
this 'one nation' has been
comprised of twelve distinct
tribes. Jacob had twelve
sons; before his passing he
blessed them 'each man
according to his individual
blessing,' granting Judah
the majesty of the lion,
Issachar the perseverance of
the donkey, Dan the
ingenuity of the snake,
Naphtali the swiftness of
the gazelle, and so on. Each
tribe was thereby given a
distinct vocation and role:
Judah produced kings and
scholars; Zebulun, seafarers
and merchants; warriors came
from Gad, schoolteachers
from Shimon, olive growers
from Asher, shepherds from
Manasseh, and so on.
"The descendants of Jacob’s
children preserved their
tribal identities throughout
their exile in Egypt. When
the Red Sea parted to allow
them passage, it split into
twelve pathways—one for each
tribe. Each tribe was
counted separately in the
various censuses taken of
the people of Israel; each
had its own stone on the
High Priest’s breastplate,
its own flag (in the color
of its stone), its
designated place in line
when the people of Israel
journeyed through the
desert, and its designated
position when they camped
around the Sanctuary
(mirroring the places that
Jacob designated for his
sons around his bier at his
funeral). Twelve spies, each
representing his respective
tribe, made up the
reconnaissance mission sent
in preparation for the
conquest of the Holy Land.
Once there, each tribe was
allotted its own territory
suited for its particular
vocation; there was even a
time when certain
restrictions were placed on
marriages between the tribes
to prevent the ownership of
land from passing from one
tribe to the other.
"Even as we each pursue our
divinely ordained role, each
living his life on his 'day'
in his way, we are all
doing the same thing.
For in origin and essence we
are one, and our individual
lives and accomplishments
are but the many expressions
of a single quest.
"The first aspect of our
unity concerns only the end,
but not the means, of our
national mission. It sees
the common goal that is the
ultimate purpose of it all;
but the process of
life—what we actually do to
attain this goal—remains an
area of difference and
disparity. So even if our
present-day efforts are
guided by, and permeated
with, the vision of our
common objective, our actual
lives are conducted apart
and disconnected. The second
aspect, however, sees an
intrinsic oneness in the
process of life itself. Even
before our individual paths
have converged upon the same
destination, it sees in the
many ways in which we apply
our particular talents and
abilities a single process,
a single deed, a single
endeavor: making our lives a
'Tent of Meeting,' a place
to house the goodness and
perfection of our Creator.
Rabbi Simon Jacobson
One Nation uniquely features
'12-Tribes' divided into TWO
Jacobson poses the question:
"How, indeed, do a people
comprised of various tribes,
each with its own character,
temperament, talents and
vocation, achieve union as
"One approach is to focus on
our 'interdependence': to
appreciate that since we
share a common goal—namely,
to build for G‑d 'a
dwelling in the physical
world'—and since we each
have a crucial role to play
in the achievement of this
goal, our various 'tribes'
and types complement and
fulfill one another to
create a single people. In
other words, our differences
themselves are what unite
us. Since the entity
'Israel' and what it stands
for would be incomplete were
any one 'tribe' missing from
the equation, no Jew is
fully Jewish without his
relationship with every
other type of Jew."
(End of Quote)
The greatest stumbling block today in the
way of Redemption (i.e. Reconciliation of the two Houses, 12
Tribes), is the diversity amongst the two Houses. It
is clear from the above review, that we are blindly and
stubbornly stumbling across the Solution: HaShem sees us and
wants us to be ONE UNITED Nation. He has in fact
created the diversity amongst the different Tribes - NOT to
divide, but to perfect the ONENESS of His Nation.
No one tribe could ever fulfill His
requirements on all aspects of life fully by itself.
As pointed out above, it is the sum total of the diversities
that bring full Oneness. But, there has to be Unity
across the diversity! Rather than seeing these
diversities as failures and stumbling stones, it should be
seen as stepping stones to Unity and Oneness.
Research has shown that the best lasting
marriages come from two totally diverse spouses. Look
around you at those successful marriages - how totally
diverse the spouses are! Research has shown how that
the children from such marriages, being exposed to the two
opposites of life options in their own lives, benefit
through their experience of the two opposites in their
parents. In this way they are given two extremes
between which to make informed decisions in their own lives.
In this way our Creator has provided us with additional life
style tools to draw closer to Him and to enjoy the Blessing
of righteous living!
Unfortunately, more than often, we see
these keys to life as obstacles rather than stepping stones.
And we do the same when it comes to establishing Peace in
the House of HaShem amongst His diverse people! Just
as in marriage, what generally causes the break down, is the
individual insistence to "have it MY way!"
May this life generating insight brought
to us by our Rabbis, into this otherwise 'dry' portion of
Scripture, serve to help us appreciate the diversities
amongst 12-Israel and between the two greatly divided Houses
Which would bring the ultimate Redemption
to the Door Step!
Compiled and presented by KOL HATOR –
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Our Mandate -
"The word of HaShem came to me: "Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, 'Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.' Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, 'Ephraim's stick, belonging to Joseph and all the house of Israel associated with him.' Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand.
"When your countrymen ask you, 'Won't you tell us what you mean by this?' say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign HaShem says: 'I am going to take the stick of Joseph - which is in Ephraim's hand - and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah's stick, making them a single stick of wood, and they will become one in My Hand.' Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on and say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign HaShem says: 'I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be My People, and I will be their G-d. My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one Shepherd. They will follow My Laws and be careful to keep My Decrees. They will live in the land I gave to My servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children's children will live there forever, and David My servant will be their prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put My Sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their G-d, and they will be My People. Then the nations will know that I, HaShem, make Israel holy, when My Sanctuary is among them forever.' "