Tetzaveh 5784

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Pomegranates, bells, and tzitzis[1]

ועשית את-מעיל האפוד כליל תכלת: ועשית על-שוליו רמני תכלת וארגמן ותולעת שני על-שוליו סביב ופעמני זהב בתוכם סביב
You shall make the me’il of the eiphod entirely techeiles. You shall make on the bottom of it pomegranates of techeiles, argaman, and tola’as shani, on the bottom all around, and golden bells amongst[2] them all around[3]

One of the garments of the Kohen Gadol is the me’il, a type of blue cloak. There’s a dispute about exactly how it looked. Some say[4] it was like a regular long shirt. In contrast, the Rambam describes[5] the me’il as not having sleeves. Rather, it was divided into two corners from the neck downwards. Meaning, it is not attached except adjacent to the neck. This sounds similar to what our tallis katan looks like today, which is a four cornered garment[6]. One of the unique features of the me’il is the bottom of it had threads spun and woven together to resemble pomegranates, as well as golden bells. The latter were there so all would hear the Kohen Gadol as he came[7].

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Terumah 5784

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Colorful creature characteristics[1]

וזאת התרומה אשר תקחו מאתם…וערת תחשים
And this is the donation that you shall take from them…the skins of the tachash[2]

One of the fundamental parts of the Mishkan, the portable Temple that accompanied the Jews in the wilderness, was tachash skins. Rashi tells us[3] that they were beautifully composed of many colors. What animal was the tachash? It’s hard to know[4]. Our Sages tell us that it was a creature that only existed at that specific time, never to exist again[5].

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Yisro 5784

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Respect, honour, and small steps[1]

ולא-תעלה במעלת על-מזבחי אשר לא-תגלה ערותך עליו
Don’t make steps on My altar, such that you don’t reveal your nakedness upon it[2]

The Torah prohibits us from building steps for the Temple altar. The reason for this[3] is so that the Kohanim would not be forced to take large steps during their ascent. Large steps over its stones is, in a way, considered improper, almost profane. Our Sages draw[4] a logical deduction from this. If the Torah was particular about the disgrace of these stones, which don’t have intelligence to notice, your friend, who was created in the image of G-d, all the more so you should be careful not to disgrace them.

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