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Parshat Tetzaveh

PARSHA ON PARADE IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY
OF MY DEAR FATHER AND REBBI:
HARAV HAGAON RAV YESHAYA SHIMANOWITZ Z'TZL ,
ROSH YESHIVA
IN
YESHIVAS RABAINU YAAKOV YOSEF
(RABBI JACOB JOSEPH YESHIVA - RJJ)
IN NYC FOR OVER 23 YEARS.
NIFTAR ON 20 ADAR 5758 - MARCH 18, 1998.
MAY HE BE A MAYLITZ YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL
.

AND

MY DEAR MOTHER
REBITZEN BRACHA ETEL SHIMANOWITZ A'H
WHO DEVOTED HER ENTIRE LIFE TO MY FATHER AND HIS TORAH,
NIFTERA ON 21 TEVET 5770 - WED EVE. JANUARY 6, 2010.
MAY SHE BE A MAYLITZA YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL
.

Menachim Z. Shimanowitz

You too can dedicate a Parsha or any other section of Torah Tots in honor or in memory of someone close to you.
For further info, click here.

PARSHA
FACTS

NUMBER OF MITZVOT: 7
4
MITZVOT ASEH (POSITIVE COMMANDMENT)
3 MITZVOT LO TAASEH (NEGATIVE COMMANDMENT - PROHIBITION)

NUMBER OF PESUKIM (SENTENCES):101

NUMBER OF WORDS: 1412

NUMBER OF LETTERS: 5430

This Shabbat, (the Shabbat immediately before Purim) is called Shabbat Zachor. שבת זכור.
The Maftir, (additional reading), from Deut. / Devarim, Parshat Ki-Teitze, (25:17-19), deals with the commandment to "Remember what Amalek did to you on the way, upon your departure from Mitzrayim (Egypt).... ... how they perpetrated a cowardly and unprovoked attack... You shall erase the memory of Amalek from the heavens, you shall not forget."

This commandment, to remember Amalek, is one of the 613 commandments. It is incumbent, therefore, upon every person to attend services on Shabbat Zachor in order to hear this special reading and remember its message.

What is the connection between erasing the memory of Amalek and Purim? The wicked Haman, who intended to destroy all the Jews in one day and claim their spoils, was the descendant of Agag who was the king of Amalek in the time of King Shaul. Thus we know that Haman was an Amalekite. This is why our sages ordained carrying out the commandment of remembering to erase the memory of Amalek before Purim. Zachor means remember - "Remember... do not forget!"

HAFTORA:: (Additional portion, from Prophets, which is read after the Parsha)
I Samuel / Shmuel I 15:2-34

Purim
begins Wednesday evening, March 1st, thru Thursday evening, March 2nd.


פרשת תצוה
THE
PARSHA
In our last episode Hashem gave the Bnei Yisroel fiery plans for a traveling worship station, the Mishkan, which will be packed up every time the Bnei Yisroel move on to a different camping ground, until they settle in Eretz Yisroel and build a permanent dwelling, the Bait Hamikdosh, for Hashem's Shechina (divine presence) But we're not finished yet.

TIME
WARP

As our Parsha opens the Torah fast forwards five months. The Bnei Yisroel are working full force on the monumental tast of building the Mishkan. This Parsha takes a peek at the Kohanim, the Priests of the Mishkan, who basically run the entire operation.

THE TOIL
FOR OIL

Moshe makes an appeal for olive oil. But not just any olive oil. This oil will be used to light the Menorah, so it must be pure. When an olive is pressed to release its oil, the first few drops are the purest. Only those first few drops can be used for the Menorah. (The rest of the oil can be used for other things in the Mishkan like Mincha flour offerings on the Mizbayach). It turns out that only the Nesiyim (Princes) of the Shvatim (tribes) have pure enough olive oil for the Menorah. This oil burns so brightly that it is said that during the times of the Bait Hamikdash the rays of the Menorah lit all the alleyways of Yerushalayim.

MENORAH
MIRACLES

Only a Kohain can light the Menorah. Another Kohain however, gets his two cents into this mitzvah (mostly with a bottle of windex and a duster!) Each morning a Kohain will walk up the stepping stool that is placed before the Menorah, clean out the ashes from the lamps that rest on the Menorah's branches. The old wicks get replaced with fresh ones. Then fresh olive oil is poured from a "half-log bottle" (a "log" equals about half a pint). Of course, the olive oil's got to be the purest - only the first drops from a squished green one makes it into the Menorah!

One of the seven lamps of the Menorah, the middle light, called the Nair Ma'aravi (Western Light), which did not receive any more oil than the other lamps, would always be burning when a Kohain came to clean the Menorah in the morning. The Kohain who lit the Menorah in the evening would always use the fire from the still-burning Nair Ma'aravi. This Nes (miracle) was a sign that Hashem's Shechina was in the Mishkan.


KOHAIN
WANNABE

All of the details about the Mishkan are terrific and Moshe figures he'll be mighty busy balancing complaints, commandments and korbanot. That's when Hashem drops the bombshell. Moshe will not be the Kohain Gadol after all. And the winner is.. (drum roll...)... Aharon! Yes, Aharon who was called upon to go with Moshe to Pharoh and DID NOT HESITATE. While Moshe argued with Hashem by the burning bush, claiming not to be leadership material; coming up with every excuse in the book not to accept his role in Yetziat Mitzrayim, Aharon understood that Hashem knows best. Now that's Kohain Gadol material. And being Kohain Gadol, Aharon's kids become Kohanim and the line of the great Kehunah descends from Aharon. (Moshe is still a Levi and they've got plenty to do in the Bait Hamikdash, but everyone knows that a Levi is only a Kohain-wannabe.)

PRIESTLY
DUDS

The Kohain Gadol and his troop of Kohanim are a special breed. They represent the best of Klal Yisroel to Hashem and the holiness of Hashem to Klal Yisroel. This double role demands full attention and awesome respect from the nation. The Kohanim, themselves, must also realize the great responsibility that they have when doing the "Avodah" (service) in the Mishkan. And that's why Hashem has them dress in special glorious and distinctive Bigdei Kehunah (Kohain's clothing).

There are four garments worn by the Kohen Hedyot (ordinary Priest).

  1. KUTONET - This woven white linen garment of a checkered design is a long shirt that stretches from shoulder to the ground.

  2. AVNAIT - This is a 64 foot bathrobe style multi colored belt is wrapped around the kohen's waist over the Kutonet.

  3. MICHNASAYIM - This is a pair of white linen boxer shorts worn under the KUTONET.

  4. MIGBA'AT - This long linen strip is wound around the kohen's head, shaped into a pointed hat.
The Kohain Gadol also wears the shirt, belt and pants plus five more garments.
  1. MITZNEFET - Instead of the pointed hat look, the Kohain Gadol wraps his long linen strap of cloth into a turban.

  2. AIFOD - The Kohain Gadol wears an apron on his back that is tied around his shoulders and waist with a belt which was part of the aifod. Each shoulder strap contains a shoham stone, a precious gemstone that is engraved with the names of six tribes. These two straps are attached to the chains from which the Choshen Mishpat hangs.

  3. CHOSHEN MISHPAT - The Choshen Mishpat (breast plate), is the holiest of the Bigdei Kehunah. It is a square piece of material that has been folded over to make a pocket. In this pocket Moshe will place the "Urim Vetumim," a parchment enscribed with the 72-letter holy name of Hashem. Twelve precious stones are set against the woven square, each representing a different shevet (tribe). To see the order of the names, Click here.

  4. ME'IL - A full-length coat of blue dyed wool is worn by the Kohain Gadol. Hanging from the hemline are 72 golden bells that jingle with every step. Between the bells hang 72 woolen ornamental pomegranates. The Kohain Gadol made a lot of noise when he walked.

  5. TZITZ - The Kohain Gadol wore a golden plate on his forehead, on which is engraved, the letters Kodesh LaHashem, spelling out the Divine Four-Letter Name. It is fastened by three blue ribbons, one ribbon was fastened to a hole in the middle of the tzitz while the other two ribbons were fastened through holes at each side of the tzitz. The two side ribbons met and tied with the top ribbon at the back of the Kohain Gadol's head.

TIME TO
GO TO
WORK

Once the Mishkan is finished, the Avodah will begin. This includes sprinkling blood from Korbanot (sacrifices) against the walls of the Mizbayach, burning parts of the Korban in the Mizbayach's fire, and eating the rest of the animal; Like we said before, a Kohain cleans the Menorah and a Kohain lights it; there are three kinds of korbanot to bring and rituals to perform. But before any of this can begin, the Mishkan must be dedicated and the Kohanim must be prepared to take on "the great Kehunah." Moshe will be the one to teach the Kohanim all the laws and rituals of sacrifice and working the Mishkan. For the Shiv'at Yemay Hamilu'im (the seven Inauguration days) of the Mishkan, Moshe will wear the clothing of the Kohain and teach the Kohanim the laws of the Avodah, offer three types of sacrifices to show Aharon and his sons the way it's done. During those seven days of dedication, Moshe, Aharon and his sons will immerse themselves in the Mikveh. Moshe annoints the Kohanim with oil on their foreheads and they will wear the vestments of the Kehunah. By the time that seven days are up, Aharon and his sons will absorb the details of the Avodah.

ALTAR!
ALTAR!

Mizbayach Hazahav As you already know, there are two Altars in the Mishkan. In our last Parsha, Hashem revealed the plans for the Mizbayach used for animal sacrifices, called the Mizbayach Hanechoshet (Copper Altar) or Mizbayach Hachitzon (Outer Altar). This Mizbayach will be placed in the courtyard of the Mishkan. Its ramp, used to lead animals up to the top, will stretch across most of the width of the courtyard. Now, Hashem reveals the details of another Mizbayach, called the Mizbayach Haketoret (incense Altar) or the Mizbayach Hazahav, (gold Altar) or Mizbayach Hapnimi (inner Altar).This Mizbayach will be placed in the Ohel Moed near the Menorah and the Shulchan. The Mizbayach Haketoret will be made of shittim wood that is coated with gold. Around its top, is to be a golden rim. For travelling purposes two rings are attached to each side of the Mizbayach. Gold-plated wooden poles are placed through the rings on each side of the Mizbayach so that the Leviyim can carry the Mizbayach.

Twice a day, once in the morning, then again in the afternoon, the Kohain will burn ketoret (incense) on this Mizbayach. The Mizbayach Haketoret is a sign of love between Hashem and the Bnei Yisroel. When the ketoret is burned the smoke rises straight up to Shamayim and Hashem forgives the sins of the Bnei Yisroel. Although there will only be a thin layer of gold covering the wood body of this altar, the fire that burns over it will never scorch the wood.


But even as Hashem reveals the antidote on the summit, a big sin is lurking down below. Will the Bnei Yisroel rise to the occasion on will Moshe drop the ball? (OOPS, I mean the tablets). It's going be a real headache next week, so do like Moshe and take two tablets before the next exciting episode of:
Parsha on Parade

Midrash Maven
See the Midrash Mavin on Tetzaveh


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