Tetzaveh 5783 – What’s It All About Alfie

By: Larry Tobin

Today’s Parsha is Tetzaveh. Tetzaveh means commanded. I could talk to you about how G-d commanded Moses to have the B’nai Yisroel bring pure olive oil to keep the everlasting flame of the Menorah burning in the Mishkan. I could talk to you about the clothing that the Kohanim wore. Almost half of the Parsha is dedicated to this topic. All very interesting. But isn’t there some lesson we can learn from this Parsha?

You know I wouldn’t have raised this possibility if no lesson could be learned. Let’s work together to try to figure this out. But first a few questions for you out in audience land, or perhaps never neverland ( I hope you’re interested in my D’var and are listening).

Question #1: Who was supposed to be appointed Kohen Gadol (High Priest)? If you answered Aaron, give yourself half credit, since he is the one actually appointed. But Aaron is not the correct answer to this question.

Question #2: What is the biggest sin committed by the B’nai Yisroel in the wilderness? There are many half credit answers since many sins were committed. But only one sin gets full credit.

Question #3: What did Moses pray to G-d after the B’nai Yisroel committed the terrible sin referenced in question 2 above? If you answered that Moses asked G-d to forgive the B’nai Yisroel, give yourself half credit. But this is not the full credit answer.

When we correctly answer these three questions, we will be on the right path to solving the mystery of what lesson can be gleaned from the Parsha.  So, let’s continue by providing the fully correct answers.

Although Aaron was appointed High Priest, Moses was actually G-d’s choice for that position. Only at the urging of Moses to give Aaron this honor was Aaron appointed.

The mega sin committed by the B’nai Yisroel in the wilderness was the Golden Calf. It is believed that this sin so angered G-d that He was prepared to destroy the B’nai Yisroel.

At the pleading of Moses, G-d spared the B’nai Yisroel from total doomsday destruction. Moses begged G-d to spare them, but also stated that if G-d chose not to forgive them Moses wanted his name removed from the Five Books of Moses.

Well, how do these answers teach us an important lesson? If you carefully examine this Parsha you will find that Moses name never appears in the Parsha. Was this G-d’s way of punishing Moses for challenging G-d about forgiveness? Was the lesson to be learned: Be careful what you ask for because it may come to pass? Nope!

Moses wanted to put his brother Aaron in the limelight by handing over the High Priest position to him. What better way to follow through with Moses’ wish while following through with name eradication than to eliminate his name in this Parsha. Aaron as High Priest could now be the center of attention in the Parsha. We learn about his dress, some of his duties, etc.

What lesson is conveyed by this Parsha? Humility!  Only through the humility of Moses did the Parsha become dedicated to Aaron and the priesthood.

Good Shabbos and stay humble.

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