Weekly Reading Insights: Tetzaveh 5766


Overview of the Weekly Reading: Tetzaveh

To be read on 11 Adar 5766 (March 10-11)

Torah: Exodus 27:20-30:10; Maftir "Zechor": Deut. 25:17-19; Haftorah: Samuel I 15:2-34 (for Zechor: King Shaul's war vs. Amelek, Haman's ancestor)

Tetzaveh is the 8th Reading out of 11 in Exodus and 20th overall, and 33rd out of 54 in overall length.

The Jews are commanded to bring oil for illuminating the constantly burning lamp of the tabernacle. Next are listed the instructions for making the priestly vestments of the priests and high priest. The priests, Aharon and his sons, were consecrated and installed into their holy positions through a series of sacrifices, sprinklings, ritual immersions, and garbing themselves in their priestly clothing. This procedure was repeated seven times along with sanctifying the altar. G-d commanded regarding the continual burnt offering and gave instructions for the building and offerings of the incense altar.


From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:2066/Tetzaveh)

Rabbi Yehuda said: The meaning of the word "urim" has been explained as deriving from "meirim" [meaning "illuminating" - since it illuminated the letters engraved on the stones of the breastplate]. This is the mystical secret of "the lens that shines".

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed (A:2066/Tetzaveh)

As we have explained elsewhere ( Etz Chaim 25:2, etc.) these states of chesed descend quickly when they issue from the yesod of Imma, which is situated level with the chest [of Zeir Anpin]. When they strike the yesod [of Zeir Anpin], they reflect [off of it] and ascend. A glimmer of this reflected light shines outside [Zeir Anpin], behind netzach and hod, and thus reaches Nukva.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From Rabbi Chaim (ben Moshe) Ibn Atar (O:2066/Tetzaveh)

G-d decreed that eight garments were to be made for the High Priest in order for him to be able to obtain atonement for his people for the various imperfections that people are guilty of as a normal part of their lives. Aaron's wearing these garments would enable the Israelites concerned to achieve their proper place in the higher regions.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.


"You shall command the people of Israel, that they bring you pure beaten oil olive." (27:20)
The Jewish people are likened to oil: In the same way the olive yields its oil only after it is crushed and squeezed, so too are the positive qualities of the Jewish people revealed through suffering. Also, just as oil doesn't mix with other liquids and always rises to the top, so too do the Jewish people stand above their oppressors and never lose their identity.
(Tzror HaMor)

"Olive oil, pounded, for the lighting." (27:20)
He who wants to reach the 'lighting,' the enlightenment to be found in the Torah, should work on himself by 'pounding' away at his ego and nullifying his sense of self. How? By always bearing in mind that the Torah he learns is none other than the wisdom and the will of G-d. That is the meaning of our supplication, 'Open my heart to Your Torah.'
(Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Chabad)


from the Chabad Master series, produced by Rabbi Yosef Marcus for

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org

MOSHIACH THIS WEEK (M:2066/Tetzaveh)

"Pounded, for the lighting." (Ex. 27:20)
The Egyptian exile, with its backbreaking labor, was the crucible of fire that refined the Jewish people, transforming them into a proper vessel to contain the illumination of the revelation of Torah on Mount Sinai.
So it is with our present exile as well, when we find ourselves "pounded" by the harshness of the exile. But it is precisely this "pounding" that will bring us to the "light" -- the light of Moshiach and the Messianic Era, as our Sages commented, "It is only when the olive is crushed that the oil can emerge."
At Mount Sinai, it was primarily the revealed part of Torah that was revealed by G-d. Our present exile, however, prepares us for the revelation of the inner dimension of Torah that will be taught by Moshiach in the Era of Redemption.
(Peninei HaGeula)

An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:2066/Tetzaveh)

May this Torah essay merit the fast and complete recovery of Devorah Gittel bas Baila

Perhaps one of the most important principles of Jewish life is the idea that "according to the effort is the reward". We all understand that one must make an effort to get results, but is there a spiritual connection? The Sfat Emet gives us an insight based on this week's Torah portion that not only should help us understand the "system", but also should encourage us to push ahead, even when it is really hard: Never give up.

The first verse of our Torah reading begins, "And you should command the Jewish people, take for yourself clear pressed olive oil for the lamp, to raise up a continuous flame". On the words "to raise up a continuous flame", Rashi explains that one must ignite it until there is a flame that is able to rise up on its own. How does this apply to us? A person must realize that when he does anything of value, it is not with his own human ability and strength alone. Rather, each time he acts, he arouses divine power.

G-d put within each person's soul a point of holiness. When a person works, truly making an effort, then the power he or she applies engages the inner hidden divine power, resonating and allowing the divine power to awaken and express itself. This is the inner meaning of Rashi's comment that one must light the flame until it - the inner power - is able to rise up and do its part, unassisted. It is only when this happens that the result of our actions are established and can continue unimpeded. Something that is done with human strength alone is temporary. Only something impacted by the inner divine strength can be everlasting.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe teaches further: Who is commanded to light the lamps? The priest, who spent all of his time serving G-d. Today, every person who takes upon himself to serve G-d is considered to be a priest, in a certain sense. Just as the priest was commanded to light the Menorah, so also each person is obligated to light up the soul of another Jew. How must it be done? Until the other person's flame - i.e. their soul - can continue to shine unassisted. And what is the measure? The verse says, "Until morning", the dawn of the age of Mashiach, when the whole world will be illuminated with G-d's light.

Shabbat Shalom , Shaul

P.S. Please also read my weekly Shabbat Law, below.)

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