"You shall command the Children of Israel that they bring to
you pure, beaten olive oil
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
(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
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."
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.
"You shall command (tetzaveh)."
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.
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.
"You shall make holy ornaments for Aaron your brother, for glory
and for ornament... to sanctify him, that he be a priest to Me."
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
"You shall make the breastplate of judgment ("choshen mishpat")."
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.
"The breastplate is not be loosened from the Ephod."
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."
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.
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."
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.
"Beaten (katit) for the light, to cause a light to burn
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
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
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
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."
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
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
(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."
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."