Parshat Tetzaveh: Exodus 27:20--30:10
By Talia Davis
This Torah portion deals mainly with the processes and garments of the Kohanim, the priests, and the Kohen Gadol, the high priest. It starts out telling Moses to make sure he gets pure olive oil from the Children of Israel (one drash says that when referring only to the men, they say "Children" vs. "People" of Israel) for the menorah, and Aaron was charged with making sure the menorah stayed lit.
The next part of the parasha details the priestly garments that were required. It is unusual for the Torah to go into so much detail and therefore, this part of the portion is very unique. So, while serving in the sanctuary, the Kohanim wore:
- A full-length linen tunic called a ketonet,
- linen breeches called michnasayim,
- a linen turban called a mitznefet or migba'at,
- and finally a long sash, wrapped above the waist called an avnet.
The Kohen Gadol had additional accoutrements. In addition to the above, the Torah says he wore:
- an apron-like garment that had purple, blue, red (dyed) wool, linen, and gold thread called an ephod,
- a breastplate inset with twelve precious stones representing the twelve tribes of Israel, called a choshen,
- a robe made of blue wool with gold bells and pomegranate-shaped tassels on the hem called a me'il,
- and finally a golden crown to be worn on the head that is inscribed "Holy to G-d," the tzitz.
The last part of Tetzaveh is where G-d gives instructions about how Aaron and his four sons -- Nadav, Avihu, Elazar, and Itamar -- should be initiated into the priesthood. It is a seven-day initiation process. Also, Tetzaveh instructs them in how to make the Golden Altar on which incense was burned. These instructions are down to the cubit!
Parshat Tetzaveh from G-dcast.com
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As the daughter, niece, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of rabbis, Talia Davis has been immersed in Jewish culture and communities throughout her life. She has lived in Israel and served as the Religious and Cultural Vice President of the Southeast Region of North American Federation of Temple Youth. Presently she enjoys attending synagogue at a variety of shuls that range from Chabad Orthodox to her father's post-denominational, Rocky Mountain Hai.