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Parashat Tetzaveh

Dedicated leilui nishmat our mother,

Shellie Rahmey, Rachel bat Sarah A’H.

By her husband, Mr. Edmund Rahmey,

their children, Jack Rahmey, Morris Rahmey, & Grace Levy,

and her grandchildren, & great-grandchildren.

Parashat Tetzaveh

The Kohen Gadol

Last week’s parasha discussed the Mishkan, and this week, Parashat Tetzaveh goes into depth about the mitzvot pertaining to the Mishkan.

The parasha also discusses the kohanim, specifically the kohen gadol and his special garments. Hashem said to Moshe, “Now you bring near to yourself your brother and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel — Aharon, Nadab and Abihu, Elazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aharon — to minister to Me. You shall make vestments of sanctity for Aharon your brother, for honor and glory. And you shall speak to all the wise-hearted people whom I have invested with a spirit of wisdom, and they shall make the vestments of Aharon, to sanctify him to minister to Me (28:1).” Hashem selected Aharon, his four sons, and their descendants to be the kohanim to serve in the Bet Hamikdash and to serve as kohanim up until today.

The Torah then goes to great lengths to meticulously describe every detail of every article of the kohen gadol’s clothing. We must know that the Torah doesn’t waste a single letter, let alone paragraphs of information. If the Torah spends so much time discussing the kohen gadol’s clothing, there must be many important lessons to learn.

The passuk says that the vestments were to be made “for honor and glory.” There’s a contemporary phrase “dress for success.” Clothing has a major impact on us. We expect to see an important person like the president or a king dressed in very proper or royal clothing, and if we don’t, this can lower our respect for that leader. In fact, the Ramban teaches that the kohanim’s garments were intended to honor the kohanim, for they were similar to royal garb. Sforno comments the purpose behind this was so that the tribes of Israel would revere the kohen gadol as the teacher of the nation. It was also to show the Jewish people that one who serves Hashem must look like royalty since he is serving the greatest King of all.

Honor and Glory

Though garments are important, we also learn that materialistic things mean nothing, and that true value comes from within. There is a story about a man invited to a fancy party. This man was not incredibly sophisticated and was not used to wearing elegant clothing. He came to the party wearing a nice but very informal outfit.

When he arrived at the party, he was stopped by the guards at the entrance who told him that he could not enter the building because of his “inappropriate clothing.” The man wasn’t upset, and he went back to his house to put on the best suit he owned, and he returned to the party, where he was then let in without any problems.

During the party, when they all sat for a seated dinner, the man suddenly stood up, lifted his plate with the most exquisite catered food, and poured it all over himself, effectively ruining his nice suit. His friends at the table asked him why he did such a thing and he told them, “Since I was not invited but my suit was, I thought it was logical to give it the food.”

As we discussed, Parashat Tetzaveh details the garments of the kohen gadol, giving much relevance to their beauty. Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, ZT’L, said that in order to understand why the Torah gives so much importance to Aharon’s garments, we need to pay attention to the piece at the of the whole description, “You shall make vestments of sanctity for Aharon your brother, for honor and glory.”

The Torah teaches that there are two different ways to relate to the external image of a human being. One is giving importance to the “glory” or beauty in a materialistic way, and the other one is understanding that “glory” should be at the service of “kavod—honor.” So if one gives importance to kavod, for example, and he buys a nice suit for Shabbat or for celebrating a friend’s wedding, in those cases, he’s using beauty as a means to give kavod to other people or to G-d, and it serves a higher purpose. But if one gives importance to glory or beauty just for the sake of materialism, like buying a new suit to try to fit in a social class, the suit doesn’t serve any value, and actually helps a person to disrespect his own dignity. This is a beautiful message that teaches us how to balance beauty and dignity, and how to establish the priorities in our lives.

Dedicated Leilui Nishmat Mrs. Shellie Rahmey, A’H

One garment that the kohen gadol wore in the times of the Bet Hamikdash was the choshen—breastplate. It was embellished with twelve different types of precious stones, each one representing a tribe of b’nei yisrael.

Why did Aharon merit to wear this special article of clothing on top of his heart? Rashi answers saying that Aharon’s heart was so beautiful that it did not contain even a drop of jealousy. Hashem told Moshe that Aharon would rejoice when he finds out that Moshe became the leader of b’nei yisrael, “Vera’acha vesamach b’libo.”

Jack Rahmey’s mother, Shellie Rahmey, A’H, was described as a happy-go-lucky woman. Her heart was so precious, and like Aharon’s, did not contain jealousy or ill will. All that met her felt her warmth and kindness in everything she did.

For years, she has serviced countless women in the community with her makeup business, beautifying them and instilling in them positivity, confidence, and joy. She prepared them for their semachot and momentous occasions and served Hashem just simply by lending her happiness to so many people.

May her memory be a blessing.

The Only Parasha

Parashat Tetzaveh is the only parasha where Moshe Rabbenu’s name is not mentioned. This is because in next week’s parasha, Ki Tissa, Hashem wanted to destroy B’nei Yisrael for worshiping the golden calf. Moshe said to Hashem, “Erase me from the Torah if you will destroy Am Yisrael!” Because of Moshe’s words, Hashem took his name out of this week’s parasha. The Torah wants to teach us that our words really do mean something, so we must always be very careful of any negative words that we say.

The Tur explains further that during an earlier time in history, Moshe was destined to be the kohen gadol as well as the leader of the Jewish people. However, when Moshe angered Hashem, he lost his honor to be kohen gadol (4:14). Since this parasha deals with the vestments worn by the kohen gadol, Hashem chose not to mention Moshe’s name, so it would not to be a constant reminder of his lost opportunity to become kohen gadol, an honor that was ultimately given to Aharon.

Even when Hashem punishes someone, we should recognize the mercy within the very act. When Moshe declared his wish to be erased from the Torah, Hashem decided to remove Moshe’s name from only one parasha. Hashem specifically chose the parasha of Tetzaveh, in which the mention of Moshe’s name would have been a cause of pain to him because the subject of the kohen gadol was discussed. Once his name was to be taken out, it might as well be in a place that he would not want to be mentioned anyway. We further see that, despite its inevitability, the omission of Moshe’s name was limited in scope. Moshe’s name was mentioned within the number of verses in the parasha, albeit in a “hidden” manner.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Amram Sananes, written by Jack Rahmey

Discussion Point:

· What are some other examples of materialistic things that can be used to give honor to Hashem and the people around us, or to fulfill our own frivolous pursuits?

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Le’ilui Nishmat…

Eliyahu Ben Rachel

Rabbi Shimon Chay Ben Yaasher

Avraham Ben Garaz

Sarah Bat Chanah

Esther Bat Sarah

Avraham Ben Mazal

Shulamit Bat Helaina

Rabbi Meyer Ben Chana

Rahamim Ben Mazal

Batsheva Bat Sarah Esther

Rafael Ben Miriam

Ovadia Ben Esther

Rav Haim Ben Rivka

Moshe Ben Mazal

Moshe Ben Yael

Yitzchak Ben Adele

Avraham Ben Mazal

Meir Ben Latifa

Chanah Bat Esther

Yaakov Ben Rachel

Malka Bat Garaz

Moshe Ben Garaz

Avraham Ben Kami

Yaakov Ben Leah

Mordechai Ben Rachel

Chacham Shaul Rachamim Ben Mazal

Natan Ben Rachel

Saadia Ben Miriam

Eliyah Ben Latifa Simhon

Margalit Bat Mazal

Ovadia Haim Ben Malaky

Rabbi Aharon Chaim Ben Ruchama

Luratte Bat Masouda

Esther Bat Menucha

Uri Ben Rahel

Rivka Bat Dona

Shalom Ben Zahra

Rachel Bat Sarah

Refuah Shelemah…

Rachel Bat Devorah

Shella Rachel Bat Sarah

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