Torah Weekly

For the week ending 7 March 2009 / 11 Adar I 5769

Parshat Tetzaveh

by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair -
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G-d tells Moshe to command the Jewish People to supply pure olive oil for the menorah in the Mishkan (Tent of Meeting). He also tells Moshe to organize the making of the bigdei kehuna(priestly garments): A breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a checkered tunic, a turban, a sash, a forehead-plate, and linen trousers. Upon their completion, Moshe is to perform a ceremony for seven days to consecrate Aharon and his sons. This includes offering sacrifices, dressing Aharon and his sons in their respective garments, and anointing Aharon with oil. G-d commands that every morning and afternoon a sheep be offered on the altar in the Mishkan. This offering should be accompanied by a meal-offering and libations of wine and oil. G-d commands that an altar for incense be built from acacia wood and covered with gold. Aharon and his descendants should burn incense on this altar every day.


Expletive Deleted

“Its sound shall be heard in the Sanctuary before G-d... so that he will not die.” (28:35)

Do you remember the term ‘expletive deleted’?

Back in what used to be called the "good old days", there used to be a ‘beep’ on the TV to cover up an offensive word or sentence.

The days of ‘expletive deleted’ seem rather quaint to contemporary perception. Nowadays, public speech has descended to a level where gross indecency hardly causes the raising of an eyebrow. What pours forth from the television most resembles a stream of untreated sewage. Nothing is considered offensive anymore, except maybe to those who are offended.

The standards of speech that the Torah requires of the Jew are of a different galaxy compared to today’s ‘standards’. A Jew is forbidden to speak badly of someone even if what he is saying is true, unless he has a permitted purpose in conveying such information.

The Me’il — the robe that the Kohen Gadol wore — atoned for the sin of evil speech: slander, gossip, lewdness.

The color of the robe was blue.

Just like the blue sea, which knows its bounds and keeps within them, just like the blue vault of the sky and all the planets move only within their predefined orbs, so too man must not diverge from his Divinely ordained purpose as a being who guards his tongue.

Bells were attached to the hem of the robe.

They rang whenever the Kohen Gadol walked. The sound of the bells was a reminder that there are some words that should never be heard, that they need to be ‘deleted’ before they are 'expleted.'

  • Sources: Kli Yakar

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