Tetzaveh 5782


Hashem’s concern for injustice[1]

ואלה הבגדים אשר יעשו חשן ואפוד וגו’ לאהרן אחיך וגו’ ועשו את-האפד זהב תכלת וארגמן וגו’ ועשית חשן משפט מעשה חשב וגו’‏
These are the garments that you shall make for Aharon, your brother: The Choshen and the Eiphod…You shall make the Eiphod out of gold, techeiles, and argaman…You shall make the Choshen of Justice, the work of a craftsman…[2]

One of the prominent features of parshas Tetzaveh is the focus on the bigdei Kehuna, the Priestly garments. The Kohanim had to wear four special articles of clothing for their Temple service to be accepted[3]. The Kohen Gadol had four additional articles of clothing as part of his uniform. The Torah introduces these special garments by first mentioning the Choshen, an ornate breastplate, and then mentions the Eiphod, a type of decorative apron. What’s interesting is when the Torah proceeds to describe how to make them, it starts with the Eiphod, and only then discusses the Choshen. Why is there this switch in the order?

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Devarim 5781


Having the proper perspective[1]

יקוק אלקינו דבר אלינו בחרב לאמר רב-לכם שבת בהר הזה: פנו וסעו לכם ובאו הר האמרי וגו’‏
Hashem, our God, spoke to us on Chorev (Mount Sinai) saying: “Rav lachem dwelling on this mountain. Turn and travel and come to the Ammorite mountain…”[2]

Moshe, as part of his goodbye speech to the people, described the various events which got them to where they were now holding. Most of this speech was intended to act as a rebuke towards the people for their shortcomings throughout their journeys. One episode he described was that after spending over a year at Mount Sinai learning Torah, Hashem told them rav lachem. Literally He said, it is too much for you to dwell further on this mountain. It sounds like they wanted to stay longer, but Hashem told them it was time to move on. However, this seems to contradict a teaching of our Sages[3] that the Jews ran away from Mount Sinai like schoolchildren who run away from their classes. It sounds like they didn’t need much pressure from Hashem to leave. Which was it?

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Nasso 5781


The three who became impure[1]

צו את-בני ישראל וישלחו מן-המחנה כל-צרוע וכל-זב וכל טמא לנפש
Command the Jewish people to send out of the camp anyone with tzara’as, anyone who had an unusual emission, and anyone who is spiritually impure due to contact with the deceased[2]

After the Torah describes the three different camps, the camp of the Shechinah, the Divine Presence, the camp of the Leviim, and the camp of the rest of the Jews, it immediately relates the inherent holiness present in these camps. These camps are concentric circles, with the camp of the Divine Presence containing the highest level of sanctity, and the camp of the Jews having the lowest level. Someone with tza’ras, a leprous-like spiritual malady with physical symptoms, would be sent out of all three camps. Someone known as a zav, who suffered an unusual emission from their body, would be sent out of the inner two camps. Someone who is tamei mes, spiritually impure due to contact with the deceased, is only sent out of the innermost camp.

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Lech Lecha 5781


Considering proper thoughts[1]

ואברכה מברכיך ומקללך אאר ונברכו בך כל משפחת האדמה
I will bless those that bless you, and he[2] that curses you I will curse, and all the families of the land will be blessed through you[3]

The parsha begins with Hashem commanding Avraham to leave his homeland and to travel to an unknown destination. We know that Hashem intended to take Avraham to the land of Canaan, a prosperous and beautiful land promised to be given to his descendants. However, Avraham didn’t yet know his destination. As a means of an introduction to what was in store for Avraham and his descendants, Hashem promised him tremendous blessings. Wealth, prosperity and fame were to await him. Hashem told Avraham that those that bless him will themselves be blessed, and those that curse him will themselves be cursed. However, the verse is presented with an anomaly. Regarding blessings, Hashem first said what He will do, and then said the subject of His action. He will bless those that bless Avraham. However, regarding curses, Hashem preceded the subject to the verb. Those that curse Avraham will be cursed. Why did Hashem speak this way and change the order[4]?

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