Weekly Reading Insights:

Overview of the Weekly Reading

Torah: Exodus 27:20-30:10;
: Ezekiel 43:10-27 (details about the altars and kohanim)


"You shall command the Children of Israel that they bring to you pure, beaten olive oil…." (27:20)
Why was it necessary for the oil to be brought to Moses if Aaron was the one who would be kindling the menora? Oil alludes to the inner goodness hidden within every Jew, even the most simple. To arouse this inner quality, the Jew must connect himself to "Moses" -- to the leader of the Jewish people in every generation -- who, in turn, elevates it to the higher level of "pounded, for the lighting...a light to burn always."
(Sefer HaMaamarim Kuntreisim)

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)

He who wants to reach the 'lighting,' the enlightenment to be found in the Torah, should work on himself by 'beating' 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)

"To cause a lamp to burn continuously...outside the veil." (27:20-21)
The Divine light within every Jew must illuminate at all times, not only in the "Tent of Meeting," the synagogue or the study hall, and not only when he prays and studies Torah. Rather, the intention is to cause G-d's light to shine even "outside the veil" - in the street, in one's day-to-day affairs, and in all of one's social interactions.
(Yalkut Eliezer)

"You shall command (tetzaveh)." (27:30)
Chasidic thought points out that the word for 'command' is from the root 'connect yourself.' Moses was commanded to establish a connection between his essence and the Jewish people. In an extended sense, this command can be understood as having been directed to every Jew, for each Jew has a spark of Moses in him. "You" refers to the essence of the soul, the fundamental core of every Jew's being. This is revealed by the establishment of a bond with G-d's essence.
(Lubavitcher Rebbe)

The word tetzaveh is derived from tzavta, meaning attachment and connection. In other words, G-d commanded Moses to be always attached and connected to the Jewish people. And because Moses sacrificed himself on their behalf, he merited that his strength would remain with them eternally.
(Sefat Emet)

"You shall make holy ornaments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for ornament... to sanctify him, that he be a priest to Me." (28:2-3)
For those who honor a person according to his external appearance and manner of dress, the holy garments serve as "glory and ornament" - a means to ensure that they show the proper respect for Aaron. Those who are more discerning, however, understand that the true purpose of the holy garments is their sanctity - "that he be a priest unto Me."
(Rabbi Shimon Sofer)

"You shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for ornament." (28:2)
The commandment to make special priestly clothes comes directly after the mitzva to prepare pure olive oil for the menora. Oil symbolizes the intellect, which should be kept pure and unsullied. The priestly garments symbolize the physical body, the "garment" of the soul, which should be utilized "for glory and ornament." The Torah teaches that purity of thought and cleanliness of body must go together.
(Sefat Emet)

"You shall make the breastplate of judgment ("choshen mishpat")." (28:25)
The Hebrew letters of the word "choshen" (chet-shin-nun) are the reverse of the word "nachesh," from the root meaning sorcery or divination. Sorcery is the harnessing and utilization of spiritually impure forces to discern the future. By contrast, the breastplate of judgment, with its Urim and Tumim, clarified the unknown through the power of holiness.
(HaKetav VeHakabala)

"The breastplate is not be loosened from the Ephod." (28:28)
The breastplate was worn on the chest of the High Priest over his heart. The numerical equivalent of "Ephod" is 85, the same as the word "peh," meaning mouth. In commanding that the breastplate, symbolic of the heart, not be loosened from the ephod, symbolizing the mouth, the Torah is giving us a hint that a person's heart and mouth should always be in sync with each other.
(Degel Machane Efraim)

"Aaron shall bear the judgment of the Children of Israel upon his heart before G-d." (28:30)
Aaron the priest was the "heart" of the Jewish nation. And in the same way that the heart first feels the sorrows and pains of the body, so did Aaron feel for and empathize with every Jew, and would pray on their behalf. "And Aaron shall bear the judgement of the Children of Israel" - he bore all of their suffering and sorrow. He would take them "upon his heart," praying for them "before G-d," that their judgements, be rescinded.
(Be'er Mayim Chayim) (from L'Chaim #858)

"His sound shall be heard when he comes to the Holies." (28:35)
The Torah continually stresses the importance of humility for the simple and all the more so for the wise. However, when it comes to safeguarding the spiritual welfare of the Jewish people and reinforcing the observance of Torah, "His sound shall be heard when he approaches the Holies" - one must speak with forcefulness and resolve.
(Chatam Sofer)

A non-religious Jew, trying to ridicule Rabbi Simcha Bunim of Peshischa, asked, "Did our forefather Avraham also wear a streimel and silk kapota?" Reb Bunim answered, "Exactly which kind of garments he wore I do not know, but I do know that he looked to see how the people of the land were dressed and made sure to dress differently."
(Siach Sarfei Kodesh)

"...they bring to you pure olive oil…beaten, for the lighting." (27:20)
It is precisely the "beaten" of the harshness of the exile 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, symbolized by oil, that will be taught by Moshiach in the Era of Redemption.
(Peninei HaGeula)

"Beaten (katit) for the light, to cause a light to burn continuously." (27:20)
The numerical equivalent of the word katit is 830 - the exact number of years the two Holy Temples stood in Jerusalem. (The First Temple existed for 410 years; the Second, 420.) The Third Holy Temple, by contrast, will exist "to cause a light to burn continuously" - eternally and forever.
(Toldot Yitzchak)

In the time to come, in the merit of the light which burned in the Temple, I will bring you Melech HaMashiach (the anointed king from the line of David) who is compared to a flame, as it is written (Ps. 132:17), "I provided a flame for my Mashiach."
(Adapted from www.Mashiach.org)

"…Clear olive oil, crushed for illumination…." [Ex. 27:20]
At first taste the olive seems bitter, but after a few moments the taste sweetens and remains sweet. The Jewish people are compared to olives. We endure much trouble, suffering, trials and tribulations in the long exile. Finally, the final redemption through Moshiach for which we've been waiting for thousands of years will come and its sweetness will be everlasting. More so, when Moshiach comes, our faces will shine like rays of the sun, like the clear and bright light that is given off when pure olive oil burns.
(Adapted from www.Mashiach.org)

Concerning the time to come, G-d said, "I myself will make for you light," as the prophet Isaiah says, "G-d will be for you a light in the world." In the Holy Temple, the menorah was lit daily and remained lit for the entire day. The windows in the Holy Temple were and will be built convex, so that they widen on the outside of the wall, in order that the holy light should shine forth to the entire world.
(Yalkut Shimoni 378)

"And you [Moshe], bring near to yourself Aharon your brother…so that he shall be a Kohen to me-Aharon, and Nadav, Abihu, Elazar, Itamar, the sons of Aharon." (Ex. 28:1)
In introducing the subject of the priestly garments, the first verse in the parasha mentions the name "Aaron" three times. Why does the verse need to repeat his name? It can simply say "he". This is to teach us that each "Aaron" represents something different. The first "Aaron" stands for the first Temple, the second "Aaron" stands for the second Temple and the third "Aaron" stands for the third Temple.
Aaron was the first Kohen Gadol - high-priest. Only priests may perform the service in the Holy Temple. All priests are descendants of Aaron and therefore he participates in the all services in all three Holy Temples. Even in the original commandment, the Torah hints to the service of the priests in the third Temple.
(Baal Haturim - Adapted from www.Mashiach.org)

"Make a judgment breastplate." …"Set it with four rows of mounted stones."
(Ex. 28:15,17)
The Choshen (breastplate) was one of the 8 garments that the Kohen Gadol (high priest) wore in the Temple. The numerical value of the word Choshen equals 358. The word Mashiach also equals 358.
The Choshen contained the Urim V'tumim (precious stones with names and letters under them). When the leaders of the Jewish people had a question they presented it to the Kohen Gadol when he was wearing the Choshen. G-d's answer would come through the Urim V'tumim. The letters which formed the answer would light up on the Choshen and the Kohen Gadol would read the message through Divine Inspiration.
So too, Mashiach will have the ability to judge and solve questions and problems through Divine Inspiration, as it is stated in the Talmud that by "smelling" -- a unique holy "smelling", a deeper and prophetic understanding -- he will be able to clarify and solve all problems.
(Adapted from Discover Moshiach in the Weekly Torah Portion (by Rabbi Berel Bell and the students of Bais Chaya Mushka Seminary of Montreal), as published on www.mashiach.org)

"His sound shall be heard when he goes into the holy place." (28:35)
According to all the signs given by our Sages, ours is the last generation before the coming of Moshiach. In fact, our generation is termed "the heels of Moshiach," and likened to the "hem of the (kohen's) robe." The hem of the priestly garment was adorned with bells and pomegranates, symbolic of Jews on the lowest spiritual level who are devoid of Torah and mitzvot. And yet, when the kohen approached "the holy place," the bells and pomegranates made a "great noise" - "and its sound was heard." From this we learn that the spreading of Judaism in our generation should be done with the greatest publicity, fanfare and "noise."
(Likutei Sichot)

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