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09.02.2014 18:57    Comments: 0    Categories: Weekly Parashah      Tags: torah  shabbat  parashah  tetzaveh  

Parashat Tetzaveh: 1 Minute on the Parasha with Rabbi Cowen:

HaShem instructs Moshe to command the Jewish People to supply pure olive oil for the menorah in the Mishkan (Tabernacle). HaShem also tells Moshe to organize the making of the bigdei kehuna (priestly garments): A breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a checkered tunic, a turban, a sash, a forehead-plate, and linen trousers. Upon their completion, Moshe is to perform a ceremony for seven days to consecrate Aharon and his sons. This includes offerings, dressing Aharon and his sons in their respective garments, and anointing Aharon with oil.
HaShem commands that every morning and afternoon a sheep be offered on the altar in the
Mishkan. This offering should be accompanied by a meal-offering and libations of wine and oil. HaShem commands that an altar for incense be built from acacia wood and covered with gold. Aharon and his descendants should burn incense on this altar every day.


Points to Ponder this Week with Rabbi Cowen:

A. Two articles of the Kohen Gadol which had to stay together when worn-- were the Choshen and the Aifod--the breastplate and the apron.  Thus, the Choshen was tied on all four corners to the Aifod.  This requires some explanation.  After all, the Choshen was intended to provide forgiveness for the sin of “Kilkul Hadin--perverting justice.”  On the other hand, the Aifod was to provide forgiveness for the sin of Avoda Zara.  Why did these two articles--which brought about kapara for such diverse sins need to be tied together?  
HaRav Moshe Feinstein, Z’tl, explains that these two avairot are very much “connected”, for they both involve the grave sin of kefira--denial of Hashem.  When one worships Avoda Zara, even if he joins it with service of Hashem, he is denying Hashem’s Omnipotence.  So too, with someone who deals dishonestly in monetary matters.  If he feels that he can outsmart his colleague, customer or competitor, if he purchases a product with “shtick” in order to save money, if he takes advantage of a big company “because everybody does”, or if he gently pads his time…--all of these provide indication that the person believes that he is in control of his financial destiny--that it is he, his mental prowess, or his technical skill, who will determine whether he is or will be poor, middle-class or wealthy.  We are therefore, enjoined to always remember to keep the Choshen together with the Aifod--for we must always realize that just as we would never, ever, think of worshipping an idol, or the sun, or the stars in any form or manner--for that matter, so, too, should we never, ever cheat, lie or steal in any form or manner in our lives.

B. The first of the Kohen Gadol’s Eight Garments listed in the Parsha is the Choshen.  Chazal (Zevachim 88B) teach as we stated above that the Choshen brings forgiveness for injustices in monetary matters.  We can well understand why this Article of the Bigdei Kehuna is listed first--for, after all, the first question that a person will be asked after his 120 year stay in this world is Nassata VeNatata Be’Emuna--did you deal honestly with people?  Straightening out our actions in monetary and financial matters is a primary matter --a matter of first concern.  As we get set to do the Avodah-we must first be a N’Ki Kapayim--as our living in Olam Hazeh requires that clean hands be the pre-requisite for elevation of our spirit.  When we think of what to do or how to conduct ourselves in a particular monetary matter--let us visualize the holy Choshen--and let us remember it as the very first of the Kohen Gadol’s Eight Garments!

C. The Bigdei Kehuna Gedola of Aharon as Kohen Gadol are described in the Torah as clothing which is LeChavod U’LeTifaret--clothing that brings and displays honor and glory to the position.
  The clothing of the regular Kohanim is also described in the Torah with the very same words of LeChavod U’LeTifaret.  There is a moving message--even if one does not don the garb of a Rav or the Elders of the congregation--he is still an important part of the K’lal and brings Kavod V’Tifaret to himself and his people in his own way.  With this privilege comes the responsibility.  Although Aharon’s sons did not wear Eight Garments--they did wear Four Garments of special dignity.  One must therefore be mindful--especially when going to pray or even when making a brachia in his own home that he also bring Kavod V’Tifaret (or chas veshalom, the opposite) to his Avodat Hashem by his dress and comport.  A person who wears a baseball cap to Mincha or Ma’ariv with the emblem of a cartoon character amusingly sprawled on it may be demonstrating the same (or negative) degree of Kavod V’Tifaret to his Avodah as the person touting a Bluetooth-equipped ear during Shemone Esrei, or the young man clad in an outdoor jacket which proudly and widely displays the Puma or other Western World Insignia.  
This Shabbat is a time to reattach ourselves to the dignity of the Avodah --by showing the regard we give to it in our every day lives!
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