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February 24, 2024: Parashah Torah Portion Tetzaveh

This week’s Parashah Torah Portion Tetzaveh is taken from Exodus 27:20-30. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers, as he studies the differences in the oils that were reserved for the Menorah, versus the oil made for the meal-offerings, and how in the Tabernacle, the best quality of oil was reserved for the Menorah. How about us? Do we give ELOHIM our best oil? 


Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Torah Portion:

This week’s Parashah Torah Portion Tetzaveh is taken from Exodus 27:20-30

Lion of Judah Speaks: Parashah Torah Portion Tetzaveh - Exodus 27:20-30


On of the most important Jewish contributions to our understanding of leadership is the understanding called: “the separation of powers.”  Neither authority nor power was to be located in a single individual or office.  Leadership was divided between different kinds of roles as we see in Eph. 4:1-16.  The question being “Who gave these gifts?”

 

In this Torah portion we see a fundamental division of religious leadership into two distinct functions – that of the prophet and priest.  It is highlighted in this week’s Torah portion as it focuses on the role of priest to the exclusion of that of prophet.

 

Tetzaveh is the first Torah portion since the beginning of the book of Exodus which Moses’ name is missing.  This portion deals with the priestly not the prophetic!  However, Elohim addresses Moses and three times tells him “You shall command and you shall bring.”  In doing this Elohim stressed the importance of his responsibilities and of the confidence Elohim had in him. 

 

Moses’ mission to teach the Torah to the people and to enforce it brought him immense satisfaction, “If your Torah had not been my delight, I would have perished in my distress” (Ps. 119:92).  Moses came to realize that the crown of the Torah is even more precious than the crown of the priesthood.  The crown of the Torah is accessible to all Jews, no matter what their origins (Deut. 33:4), whereas Aaron’s distinction is passed on solely to his own offspring.

 

Ex. 27:20 says, “You are to order the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pounded olives for the light, and to keep a lamp burning continually.”  The olives were pressed for illumination.  The first press was the purest and highest of quality olive oil and was reserved for the Menorah, but the oil for the meal-offerings could be made of oil of lesser quality.  We find that usually the better oil was used for preparing food while oil of secondary quality was used for lighting a lamp.  In the Tabernacle the best quality of oil was reserved for the Menorah.  Do you give Elohim your best oil?

 

Within Judaism matters of the spirit symbolized by the sacred light – take precedence!  Seek first the Kingdom of Elohim; lay treasure in Heaven; give Him the first fruits (tithe).  Exodus 27:20 told us to keep a lamp burning continually and has a symbolic side to its command.  The Torah is compared to fire and the human soul to light.  Whoever lights the Menorah brings the flame of the law into men’s hearts and ignites them.  The word kindle (literally to cause a flame to go up) is used instead of the simpler expression to light.  This implies that the Cohen should keep the small flame with which he is lighting the wick, near the wick until the flame goes up from the wick by itself.  What is the lesson:  The goal of the teacher of Torah is to make his students independent and himself unnecessary.  Eventually, they should be able to do without his assistance.

 

Although we no longer have (possess) our Temple, we still have our synagogues and house of study and by keeping their eternal lights constantly lit, we are preparing for the future light of the Messianic Kingdom as the prophet did in Isa. 60:3.  From the children of Israel, this was man’s first contribution to the Divine dwelling on the earth, just as the creation of light was the first act in the creation of the universe.  This bond unites man (represented by the lamp) with the Divine Light of Torah.  The Torah is the flame which spreads from the heavenly spark of Elohim.

 

We, body and soul, are a lamp which absorbs the light of the Torah.  Our body is the wick and our soul is the pure olive oil which fuels the flame.  When the lamp and the flame unite, we produce a light which fills the whole house – the world!

 

Exodus 28:1 includes Aaron’s sons which unlike Torah-learning, which is not hereditary, the priesthood is a hereditary right that passes from father to son.  Moses the lawgiver, was not privileged to see his sons replace him, as was his brother.

 

Priests and Prophets were very different in their roles despite the fact that some prophets, the most famous being Ezekiel, were priests also:  the priest role was dynastic and his sons were involved, wore robes, exclusively male, did not change over time, had a different sense of time and matter of everlasting recurrence and return as the priest heard the Word for all time.  The priest was holy and set apart from the people eating their food in a state of purity and avoided the dead. Key words for priest were; pure, impure, sacred, and secular and the tasks of the priest were boundary maintenance and maintaining rules.  There is nothing personal about the role of priest…if a priest could not fulfill his duty another one would step in.

 

A prophet was charismatic and parenthood had no part in his calling.  They had no official uniform, and the mission of the prophet was not known until Elohim revealed it to him.  Prophecy was never a matter of routine.  They lived in historical time, which means his today was not the same as yesterday and tomorrow and could still change.  The prophets heard the Word for this time!  They lived among the people and spoke a language they could understand.  The key words for prophets consisted of; righteousness, justice, love, and compassion.  Prophets gave warnings!  Prophecy was essentially personal and no two prophets prophesied alike or in the same style.  Hosea was not Amos and Isaiah was not Jeremiah.  Each prophet had a distinct voice!

 

The prophet became the voice of Elohim and the conscience of society, reminding the people of their spiritual and moral vocation.  Calling them to repent and return and reminding the people of their duties to Elohim and to each other and warning of consequences if they did not!  They are the world’s first social critics mandated by Elohim to speak truth to power!

 

What is the lesson of Torah…leadership can never be confined to one class or role.  Kings dealt with power, priests with holiness, and prophets with the integrity and faithfulness of society as a whole.  Melody and harmony, two distinct voices blending together!  As a House, we are made up of people with different roles, strengths, temperaments, and perspectives.  We must always be open to criticism and must always be on the alert against group-think!  The power of Judaism is it’s insistence that only in heaven is there ONE commanding voice.  Down here on the earth, out of the clash of perspectives; kings, priests, and prophets come something larger than any individual or role can achieve.

 

According to Eph. 4:1-16 we must understand our gift, stay in our lane, be willing to be taught, and use what He gave us for the purpose of the community…to edify and perfect each other!  In this Torah portion, He reveals the importance of each one’s role for the Kingdom…whatever He called you to do…it is important!

 

Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha,

 

Join us every Wednesday at 7 pm for Bible study and every Saturday at 11 am for Sabbath service at:

 

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Blackstone, VA


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Have a powerful Sabbath.  Walk in the calling Elohim has given you.  Fulfill the destiny that lies before you and take this world by storm. Make a difference!  Be useful for the Kingdom of Elohim on the earth!  See you at the altar!

 

Shalom Aleichem

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