February-March 26-4, 2023 Exodus 27:20-30:10
Part of this week’s Torah portion:
he name of the Parasha, “Tetzaveh,” means “Commandment” and is found in Exodus 27:20.
The Parasaha deals with the clothing to be worn by the High Priest and priest in the Holy Place. The breastplate and the Ephod. Tetzaveh also contains G-d’s detailed instructions for the seven-day initiation of Aaron and his four sons-Nadav, Avihu, Elazar and Itamar-into the priesthood, and for the making of the golden altar, on which the ketoret (incense) was burned.
וְשָׁ֣כַנְתִּ֔י בְּת֖וֹךְ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וְהָיִ֥יתִי לָהֶ֖ם לֵאלֹהִֽים׃
I will stay with the Israelites and be their G-d.
Why this text?
Staying with the Israelites and being their G-d does not sound similar to a text for Noahides. However, the name of the parasha Tetzaveh means not only “you shall command,” but also “you shall connect.” With all the preparations that have been made to build the Mishkan and now with the final preparations of the clothing and the dedication, it is time for a direct special connection to be possible. The connection to Hashem with the Jewish people. But not only with the Jewish people, but with the whole world. Just as the Priests in the Mishkan, and later in the Beith HaMikdash, provide that connection, the Jewish people provide the connection to the rest of the world.
House of prayer for all nations
כִּ֣י בֵיתִ֔י בֵּית־תְּפִלָּ֥ה יִקָּרֵ֖א לְכׇל־הָעַמִּֽים׃
For My house will be called
a house of prayer for all nations.
The purpose of the Sanctuary is to provide a place of connection, a place where people can go to pray to Hashem.
But surely we can pray to Hashem anywhere?
The Beit HaMikdash is not there today, but the Wailing Wall is. It is a great place to pray to Hashem. When I am there, it feels special, a feeling that is hard to describe. Is prayer more intense there? Do you feel the Ever-Present there more? Intensive prayer is also possible at home or any other place, feeling that immediate closeness to Hashem is possible, and yet…praying at the Wailing Wall, as if on another level. The Beit HaMikdash is sometimes called the gateway to heaven, is that what makes it a different experience?
Be that as it may. The prayer ends, the journey home inevitable. But I take that piece of heaven with me in my heart. And in my own place, I want to use that energy to lift my own piece of earth, to make it also a place where Hashem can dwell.
HaShem will dwell
The Israelites made a Sanctuary, where HaShem could dwell.
Let us all, Jews and non-Jews together make a world, make a Sanctuary, where Hashem can dwell. It takes time, it takes preparation, just like making the Beit HaMikdash, but Be’Ezrat Hashem, with G-d’s help, we will make the whole world a dwelling place for Him, starting in your own place, starting with your own abilities.
By Angelique Sijbolts
Sources: Kehot Chumash: Tetsaveh
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