Parshas Tetzaveh is usually read in the week of Zayin Adar- the seventh day in the month of Adar which we know is the Yartzeit of Moshe Rabeinu. It is also the day of his birth. Moshe was born in the year 2368 from creation. According to the Gra’ for every year in history there is a corresponding Posuk in the Torah and if we look at the events of that year we would invariably find a defining verse of those events. Now if we were to count the verses in the Torah from the beginning the 2,368th verse in the Torah falls out in this week’s Parsha as well. The verse is found in Chapter 29 verse 37 which speaks about the holiness of the Altar. “Anyone who touches the Altar shall become Holy.” This is the core of who Moshe Rabeinu.was. The lawgiver, the transmitter of the Torah, of Kiddusha. Like a flame that transmits light but is itself not diminished.
Although there are two Parshious that speak of the instructions for building the Mishkon, it is Parshas Terumah that deals with the vessels such as the Aaron, Menorah, the Shulchan and the Mizbeach of copper used for the offering of sacrifices. The only exception is the silver Mizbeach upon which was brought the daily incense which is found in this weeks Parsha Tetzaveh. The Meshech Chochma writes that the Ketores was unique in that the Avodah can be done even without the Mizbeach. This is not so with the other vessels. One needs an Aron to to house the Luchos, a Menorah to light up the Mishkon, a Shulchan in order to place the Lechem Haponim, and a Mizbaiach to bring the sacrifices upon. If the vessel is missing then the service cannot be performed. In contrast, the Mizbeach of the Ketores does not require its vessel and the incense can be burnt even on the ground. This places the Mizbeach of the Ketores in a different category from the other vessels and is therefore set apart in another Parsha.
Why is this so? Chazal say that the foul odor that emanates from one of the eleven spices does not hold back the obligation of including it together in combination with the other spices. The inclusion of the Chelbenah is meant to teach us that even one who has made himself distant from Hashem must nevertheless be embraced by the Kahal and we must try to be Mekarev him. The word Ketores means tied or connected. Even a sinner is still connected to Hashem no matter how low he may sink.
This sends a message that even if Klal Yisroel has not made themselves the spiritual vessel worthy of receiving the Divine Shefah from Hashem they can still receive it because the deep connection has not been revoked. As the Posuk says (Vayikra 16:16) “HaShochain Itom B’Toch Tumosom-Who dwells with them amid their contamination” Even if Yisrael are Tamei, Hashem will still dwell within their midst. This is the power of the Ketores.
That is the Segulah of the Ketores that is can save Yisroel from a plague. This was the gift given to Moshe by the Malachim when he was receiving the Torah. The secret of the Ketores that can ward off a plague. It was told to Aharon in the Midbar when a plague threatened Klal Yisroel. (Bamidbar 17:11) “Kach es H’Machtah..V’Sim Ketores V’Holech M’hairah el Ho’Aidah.” He was told to take a fire pan with incense and quickly pass through the people to stop the plague. At this time when a deathly virus is spreading over the world, we as Hashem’s nation clearly know that it is a message from Hashem. We also know that the Ketores is a Segulah to protect us from being stricken Ch’V. Unfortunately, in our own communities we have many Chelbanahs. Even in each individual there is some part of us that is also Chelbanah. We should embrace and make peace with all of our brethren, stop Machlokes and Ayin Haras towards one another and like the Ketores create a Reiach Nechoach for Hashem.
(27:20) "V'atom Tetzaveh-You shall command" The Kli Yakar asks why these words were necessary? It should just have written "Tzav es Benei Yisroel" as it does in Parshas Emore. (Vayikra 24:2) what is the significance of the word V'atoh? Additionally the Posuk goes on to explain that the oil would be needed to light the "Neir Tamid" using the singular, Neir even though the Menorah contained seven Neirous.? He explains that although the Shechina was in the Holy of Holies it was not visible to all, being behind the Paroches. In order to promote the idea that the Shechina was constantly amongst them there was a constant miracle needed in the Mishkon. This was the Neir Tamid which was a singular miracle. Only the western Neir remained burning continually.
The Ramban writes that the word "V'atoh" comes to choose Moshe in particular to carry this out and not be done through a messenger. Why then was Hashem more particular about this commandment than all of the others?
The Abarbanel explains that the word "Tetzaveh" is in the future tense. That Moshe will in the future command Benei Yisroel. However according to this explanation the whole verse is superfluous. What is Hashem conveying to him in saying that he is destined to command regarding the Menorah flames?
It seems that all of this can be resolved by what the Ramban writes in his explanation of this verse, that the phrase "to keep the flame burning continuously" refers to the Western flame that burns eternally. However, the rest of the flames did not burn continuously, but rather only from evening until morning. With this insight all the questions above will be resolved.
We can say that this whole Parsha does not intend to command about the flames of the menorah, the principal place for that command is in Parshas Emore. Here the principal command is about the western flame, to reveal to Moshe that even though the partition concealed the Aron there would be, in the holy place,, a continuous miracle that publicized that Hashem resided there. Moshe was like that western flame, for from it many flames are lit and the flame itself is not diminished. Similarly, the flow of the divine spirit emanated from Moshe to all the prophets who came after him, for Moshe's countenance was like that of the sun and from him the divine light emanated to all. Similarly, Moshe’s light emanated to the western flame, who's light, miraculously, was continuous, since he was the intermediary between the divine light and every type of light that existed miraculously. This became apparent from the very moment that he was born. The whole house became filled with light, indicating that he would become the first recipient of the heavenly light, and through his agency, this light would emanate to each place where something existed miraculously.
For this reason the verse says "V'atoh-and you" that is, from you, from your essence and the abundance of light that is within you. The oil will be brought "to you" meaning, you will affect the transformation of it into miracle oil, to keep the flame burning continuously, referring to the western flame that burned continuously. This is the reason why this miracle was necessary because it was in the tent of meeting outside the partition that conceals the Ark of Testimony. The partition separated between the holy of holy's, the place that bears witness that the Divine Presence dwells within Israel, and the Tent of Meeting. Therefore the next verse says "Aharon shall set it up from evening until morning."
Why was the oil brought to Moshe if it was Aaron who was to light the flame? Specifically for Moshe to transform that oil. The mission of both Moshe and Aharon was to unite Hashem with Israel. The Sefas Emes writes that Moshe went up to heaven and brought the light down in a spiritual sense and Aharon raised the physical upwards. As the Torah describes. "Aharon shall light the lights from evening to morning." From evening meaning form the darkness of this world to the light. Whereas by Moshe it says that "he judged the people from morning till night." From morning meaning from daybreak when the light begins to shine and dispel the darkness.
This could also perhaps explaining how it was possible for Moshe to serve as the Kohen Gadol without being anointed and without wearing the High Priest vestments. For Aharon it was the clothes that made the man. But for Moshe it was the man who made the clothes Moshe did not need any special clothing to become the high priest. He was already on the highest level man could achieve. He was the source of the Kiddush that would be instilled forever in this world.
Finally after twenty generations of distancing Hashem’s presence from this world, there would be a place for the Shechina to reside once again amongst his creations. A new beginning was about to dawn of the Kesher between man and his creator. The words “Vatoh Tetzaveh” equal 913 as does the word “Bereishis”
(28:1) “Metoch Benei Yisroel-From the midst of the Children of Israel.” This week’s Parsha deals with the next phase of the Tabernacle/Mishkon. After completing the details of the structure we now move on to the human aspect of the Mishkon. Hashem tells Moishe to bring near to himself, his brother Aharon from amongst the children of Israel. What is meant by including the words “from amongst the children of Israel?” Where else would he be brought from? The Kli Yakar writes that Aharon was amongst the children of Israel that were involved in the sin of the Golden Calf. Hashem was prepared to take his life were it not for the fact that Moshe was his brother. This is the meaning behind the words “bring near to yourself.” Moshe’s prayers for his brother not only saved him but helped establish him and his descendants as eternal carriers of atonement for the entire nation.
This idea has its roots in Aharon’s ancestry. The Shem M’shmuel writes that when Avraham was cast into the fiery furnace by Nimrod, his brother Haron was watching on the side lines. He committed himself to following suit if Avraham was to survive. When Avraham emerged unscathed Haron allowed himself to be cast into the fire as well. His willingness to give up his life was admirable but was not as purely motivated as was Avraham. However although he did not survive his life sacrifice did not go in vain. Aharon was a reincarnation of Haron thus the similarity in the names.(Aharon/Haron) Aharon was to correct this by being placed in a similar life threatening situation.
When Moshe was delayed in returning from Mt.Sinai with the Luchos the people gathered around Aharon wanting him to replace Moshe with an idol. After their experience at Sinai, where they heard the voice of G-d directly and their souls departed, they feared facing any encounter with Hashem without Moshe as an intermediary. One of the images they experienced on the chariot of Hashem was the image of a calf. Aharon's nephew Chur attempted to approach the crowd, but he was killed. When Aharon was confronted by the people he feared that they would stone him as they did his nephew Chur. His concern was that killing the Kohen Gadol would be a sin from which they would not be able to recover. Instead he chose to attempt delaying the making of the golden calf until the next day when Moshe would surely return. Had Aharon confronted the people he would have been able to restrain them. Hashem would have protected him. By risking his life to honor Hashem he would have corrected the shortcoming of his ancestor Haran.
In the end he failed and that failure became the basis for all of his descendants to carry the atonement of the nation for all time. The words “Mitoch Benei Yisroel- From the midst of the Children of Israel” equal 1069 in Gematria the same as the words “L’chapare al Kol Benei Yisroel-To atone for all the Children of Israel.”
This week we usually read Parshas Zachar. To remember how Amalek attacked Benei Yisroel when they left Mitzraim. There is a Mitzvah to blot out their memory. Hashem made an oath “Ki Yad al Kes Koh-His hand is upon the throne”so to speak Hashem's hand is on the throne making an oath. The words Kes Koh are each missing a letter, implying that the Shem and the throne are not complete as long as Amalek still exist. What does that mean?
We learn that there are 39 Melochos that may not be performed on Shabbos, these are the Melochos that were performed in the building of the Mishkon. What is the connection? The purpose of the Mishkon is to provide a place for the revelation of the Shechina. It is a microcosm of the perfect world. In our Siddur there is a description of how Hashem created the world. Thirty nine words are used to describe it. These are the same actions used for the making of the Mishkon. When you use something in the physical world in the way it was intended to be used, the way Hashem wants it to be used, it’s as if you are transforming it into something spiritual.
This is why there is a connection between the 39 Melochos and the Mishkon. Because the Mishkon was to be a model of a perfect world, the use of the Melochos for Kiddusha is tied with Shabbos, which is a taste of the future perfect world.
The first example of this is related in the incident of the snake. When the Torah describes the first part of creation it uses only one of Hashem's names Elokim afterward when Adom and Chava were created the two names Hashem Elokim appear. Adam and Chava understood that the world consists of both spiritual and physical and that the physical is not just for their use but is to be uplifted, to be used for the spiritual. The name Elokim equals Hatevah in Gematria. When we speak about the relationship of Hashem to this world we are dealing with Tevah and how that Tevah is to be used. The snake told Chava “Elokim said not to eat from the tree.” And she answered him the same way using the name “Elokim” leaving out Hashem. Afterward it goes back to using both Hashem Elokim. That means when the snake spoke to her he was trying to say there is no spiritual, there is only tevah. This message has been carried over for centuries and is heard to this very day. The secular world today views anyone who believes in anything supernatural as a dreamer at best. There is no spiritual, there is only Tevah, Nature.
Many years later the story of Purim arose where an attempt was made to destroy Benei Yisroel. Haman, a descendant of Amalek, possessed the same aspect of tumah as the snake. The definition of Yisroel is Yoshar Kael, straight to Hashem. It is the placing of spiritual into everything physical. The goal is always Kiddusha. That’s why Amalek attacked Yisroel before they received the Torah to prevent them from having the very thing that they would use to put Kiddusha into this world. Haman is rooted in the Torah by the snake, that very place where the purpose of the world is defined. The mitzvah to wipe out Amalek is essential to the completion of the two words Kes Koh. Because until that is done Hashem's name and his throne is incomplete.
This could be a reason why the name of Hashem is not found in the Megillah. When dealing with tevah (Elokim) we must perceive that it’s Hashem who runs everything. The Jews had seen miracles done for them in the past. But this was the first time that the Jews had tevah do miracles for them. It was so obvious that Hashem had a hand in what was happening that many gentiles wanted to convert. They saw there was no such thing as a lottery, no such thing as chance. Everything that fell into place wasn't just by accident. There was no reason to mentioned Hashem's name because the entire event was a revelation of Hashem.
In last week’s parsha Terumah, all of the utensils that were to be used in the Mishkon are listed except one, the Mizbayach Hakitores which is in this week’s parsha. One reason given is that each of the utensils of the Mishkon represented a Kapora for a particular sin. The Mizbayach Hakatores represents the sin of Loshon Hora. Just as Loshon Hora creates a separation between men. The Tikun for that Avera also had to be separate. The Ramban offers a much deeper explanation. In parshas Terumah the various parts of the Mishkon are listed the walls the curtains the sockets. Then in this parsha all of the clothing for Aaron and his sons are mentioned. Then the anointing of Aaron and his sons and then all the Korbonos are listed. Finally at the very end it says to make the Mizbayach Hakatores after everything is already in place for the Shechina to descend. Why?
Having a place for the Shechina to dwell amongst man can be very dangerous. Not only do we have the divine presence in our midst we also have divine judgment. Being in such close proximity to the Shechina places man under extreme scrutiny. There needed to be a buffer between man and Hashem. Thats why the Mizbayach Hakatores was listed last because it was that buffer for the extreme justice of Hashem's presence. We see this later in the Midbar when Hashem was angry at Klal Yisroel and he sent a plague to punish them. Aaron was told to run through the camp with the incense to stop the plague. This was a secret given by the Malochim as a present to Moshe when he was leaving Har Sinai. The secret was that incense has the ability to stop a plague, to ward off death. That’s why the Mizbayach Hakatores was the last thing listed of the Mishkon. In that final stage, when all of the various ingredients are about to be switched on, a buffer was needed to be set into place.
There are three things that were made for the Kohen Gadol which needed engraving. The Ephod, Choshen and the Tzitz. The term used by all three is Petuchey Chosem, the engraving of a seal. The Villna Goan says that there is an allusion here to a Gemarra that speaks of the three keys that Hashem holds control over. Chaya (birth) Motar (rain) and Techiyas Hamaisim (resurrection of the dead). Each of these three are directly controlled by Hashem and not given over to an agent- sheliach. The initial letters of each of these are Ches Tuf Mem. Which spell the word Chosem (seal). All three of these are Kodesh L'Hashem. The word Petuchei comes from the word Mafteach which means key.
(28:21) “V’Ho-Avonim Tihiyenah al Shemos Benei Yisroel- The stones shall be on the names of Benei Yisroel...Pituchei Chosem.” The question is if the engraving was done like a seal then it had to be engraved backwards so that when it is stamped it can be read. How could the names be engraved that way? They would be illegible. Also why does the posuk say the stones should be on the names? It should have said the names should be on the stones! Rav Dessler answers these questions by saying that the stones were engraved on the bottom. That's why they had to be done backwards so that when you looked through the stones you could see the names correctly. Now the posuk reads well. The stones were on the names. The question is why was it this way?
We know that the Torah begins with the letter Beis and ends with the letter Lamed, which spells Lev (heart). This represents that every Jewish heart encompasses all the letters of the Torah. But as long as there is Amalek, doubt, Yetzer Hora, the heart becomes a heart of stone. As it say's in the Navi “Vehasirosy es Lev Ho'even.” In the future Hashem will remove the heart of stone from man. The Choshen represents that as long as there is a connection to Hashem the light from the letters will be able to shine through the stones.
On Purim we know that King Achashverous made a party at which he brought out the Bigdey Kehuneh. As if to show that there is no longer a connection to Hashem. The seventy years of the prophecy that the Temple would be rebuilt, was over and there would be no salvation. He showed the Choshen saying there is no light. There are no letters to light. The king sent out a decree to kill all the Jews and we know that the decree of the king cannot be overturned. In the Magillah whenever it says “the King” without mentioning the king's name it means the ultimate King, Hashem. So there was also this decree in heaven. But Hashem said as long as there is that tiny spark of a Jew in his Neshama he can be saved. That's what the Gemarra in Magilah means when it say's “Layihudim Hayisa Orah.-By the Jews there was light.” The Gemarra explains that Ohr means Torah. Then why didn't it say “Layihudim Hayisa Torah?” The Pshat is that they saw the Ohr of the letters shining through, they saw the spark of the Neshama that remains in every Jew. That's why it could be said that there was a Techiyas Hamaisim here on Purim.
We find that although Hashem saved Klal Yisroel on Purim, there is no mention of Hashem’s name in the Megillah! All of Hashem’s manipulations were done B'nistar (hidden). Moshe's name is also not mentioned in this week’s parsha yet it is there B'nister. There are letters that are Giluy (open) and letters that are Nister (hidden). The Nister letters of Moshe's name equal 101 the same as the amount of posukim in this week’s parsha.
What does this number represent? The Zohar says that a tzaddiik that has passed on is found in all worlds to a greater degree than when he was alive. Why? There are two answers. First while the Tzaddik is alive his life force was clothed in a physical body, so only a glimmer could be perceived. However after he has died this limitation ends and it is possible to experience his essence. Secondly the demise of a Tzaddik involves the elevation of his spirit and soul to its root and source. This elevation is reflected in all worlds, including this physical one. Therefore at the time of Moshe Rabeinu’s passing he ascended to a level far loftier than can be encompassed by a name.
This concept of Moshe Rabbeinu being present even after death is alluded to through an interpretation of the Chazal in Megillah 12. When Haman's lots fell on the month of Adar to be the designated month of genocide of the Jewish Nation, he was ecstatic for he realized that Moshe Rabbeinu died in Adar. To him this meant a bad Mazal and omen for Yisrael. The Gemarrah says but he failed to realize that Moshe Rabbeinu died in Adar and was born on the same day! Two questions are quite bothersome. One, this statement that he did not realize that Moshe died and was born in Adar is only partially true. He did know that Moshe died in Adar, and it was only his birthday that he didn’t realize. Secondly, even if he was born on Adar it still doesn't erase the fact that he nevertheless died on Adar which still makes this month one of bad Mazal. To answer these two questions the Seforim explain that our Chazal when they use the term "being born" in Adar it does not mean born in the sense of physical childbirth. But Rather the term used here of being born means after death he was reborn in the manner that he spiritually was on earth in order to help all those who learn Torah. That is what Chazal mean when they say that Haman did not realize that Moshe died and was born again immediately. Had he realized this interpretation of being born he would have said that Adar is the worst month to annihilate the Jews. This also answers the order of Chazal when they said that Haman did not realize that Moshe died and was born on this month. The death and birth order should have been reversed according to the time line. However, now that we understand that the term birth of Chazal is after death, the order is perfect.
Chazal tell us that “Haboh Litaheir M’sayiin Oso-If a person attempts to do good they help him.” Who exactly is meant when they say they? It means that Hashem sends Tzaddikim who have mastered that particular character trait. Moshe Rabeinu is said to be assisting us in every generation. How do we merit receiving such assistance? The Gemmarah says that one who relearns something 100 times does not compare to the one who learns something 101 times. If a person goes beyond the norm, if he stretches himself more than what is expected of him, if he goes beyond the 100 times to the 101st, then he merits divine assistance. Then he merits the hidden part of Moshe Rabeinu to assist him.
(29:1) “V’Zeh Hadovor Asher Taseh Lohem L’Kadesh Osom-This is the matter that you shall do for them.” The verse uses the word “Dovor”which means word, something not found by the other offerings. This alludes to a time when the sacrifices would no longer be brought, when the temple no longer will stand, prayer would be used in place of the offerings. (R.Behaya)
(29:45) “V’shochanti B’toch Benei Yisroel-And I shall dwell amidst the Children of Israel.” The verse should have read “V’shochanti B’tochem-I will dwell amongst them.” What is the purpose of writing “Amidst the Children of Israel?” Hashem’s holy name consists of four letters that were only pronounced once a year on Yom Kippur in the Holy of Holies. It is common practice for Hashem’s name to be shortened to the letters “Yud” two times. The last letter of Benei and the first letter of Yisroel comprise Hashem’s name via two “Yuds”. Between the words Benei and Yisroel we find Hashem’s name.