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Showing posts from March, 2020

Unity Through Shared Purpose - Parashat Tetzaveh 5780, March 6, 2020

This coming week, we will celebrate the holiday of Purim. We know that Megilat Esther is the record of the miraculous saving of the Jewish People that occurred in Shushan and in the surrounding areas of King Achashverosh’s reign. One of the culminating themes in the megila is the unity within the Jewish People that was forged as a result of this miracle.

This unity expressed itself in a number of ways. One of the expressions was the re-acceptance of the Torah that occurred in that generation – kiyemu ve’kibelu. This re-acceptance included a unified acceptance of the mitzvah of Purim that was legislated by the Anshei Kinesset HaGedola – the Men of Great Assembly. Another expression of this unity is the emphasis on forging brotherhood within the Jewish People – we read the megila in big groups, we give money to the poor and we give food gifts to our fellow Jews. Clearly, unity is a fundamental theme of Purim.

Given this focus on unity, there is a striking difference between Purim and al…

Honor and Glory - Parashat Termuah 5780, February 28, 2020

This week’s parasha, Termuah, and next week’s parasha, Tetzave, introduce Hashem’s command regarding the plans for the mishkan and its vessels – including the clothing worn by the kohanim. One of the vessels that Hashem commands to be built is the menorah – the candelabra. The description of the plans for the menorah are described in Parashat Terumah and the description of its service is described in Parashat Tetzave.

In Parashat Tetzave, the Torah says, “and they will take for you pure olive oil pressed to be lit to raise an everlasting candle.” Each evening the kohanim were obligated to light the candelabra with enough oil to last the night. In the morning, the kohanim were obligated to fix and relight the menorah, as necessary, thus ensuring that the candelabra would constantly be lit.

The Rambam – Maimonides – explains, based on a later verse, that the mitzvah to light the candelabra in the mishkan creates “honor and glory” for the mishkan. It seems obvious that creating “honor an…