These are my thoughts on Torah Portion Tetzaveh, this Shabbat’s Torah portion.

Thoughts about Tetzaveh


At the beginning of this portion, we are told the children of Israel are to provide pure olive oil for the Light  in the Tent of Appointment. Don’t you just LOVE that language… Tent of Appointment.  Doesn’t that give such a clear picture of what the purpose of the tent was?  And light… notice the children of Israel played a critical role in the provision of Light… if they didn’t bring the olive oil, the lampstand had no light.  Of course, if Abba wanted that light there, He would provide… but I think this is a great way to start the portion; we have a role in the walk of not only ourselves, but those around us. Notice the lampstand is only lit through the night and that the Priest is responsible for maintaining this light… so the Children of Israel have a role in the light as well as the Priests. We have an action item!  And it is an everlasting law… however, since we don’t have a “Tent of Appointment”, this is one of the laws that cannot be fulfilled until we have a Temple.

We now get to the Priestly Garments and their pattern.  I love the details that are in this portion.  Try to slow down and really study these words, each one is so rich in meaning and so much can easily be overlooked.  For example, so many want to say that the Ruach (Holy Spirit) was not given in the “old testament”, but that is not what scripture says.  Here in Exodus, we see another example of people filled with the Ruach….

Exo 28:3  And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.

I also love the “wise hearted” language being used here.  In Scripture, wise is always associated with knowing Abba’s Word and will. So, the one’s that are wise hearted are filled with the Ruach.  B’H!  Do a study just on the word “Wise”… it is fantastic!  Another word to research is consecrate (H6942). We hear all the time that means “set-apart”.  I really like how the AHLB (Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible) defines it:

Set apart from the rest for a special function. Separating and joining to something. {emphasis is mine}

Another word to look up is minister (H3547).  In the AHLB its definition reads…

The base which supports the people.

In the Priestly garments’ description, we see that the 12 Tribes names are engraved on two onyx stones which are part of the shoulder pieces of the efod.  Isn’t that amazing?  The very definition of the word means base that supports and then we read in scripture that the names are on the shoulders of the Priestly garments.  That is Hebrew for you.  It usually focuses on the function and purpose, not the description like Greek.  Take a Pencil, for instance..  In Greek thought, you might say it is yellow, long, has an eraser on one end, lead on the other, made of wood, etc.  In Hebrew thought, you would say, it is a writing instrument.  Function, purpose.

We move onto the “breastpiece of judgment”.  Here we see a list of stones that are used for each Tribe.  I have not fully studied this section out, but I can guarantee you there is meaning in these stones associated with each Tribe!  One thought that comes to mind though is that now we have the tribes on the Priest’s chest. First they were on the shoulder’s and now on his breastplate near his heart.  Near and dear and supported by the Priests.  That is how I see this description.  Remember the priest went in to atone for their sins. Act as their mediator. We already have Moses as a model… he was always on his face praying for this people, protecting this people, interceding on their behalf. Exactly what the priest was to do.

We have very, very, very precise pattern here. Do you think Abba is about happenstance or precision? Yeah… we have patterns to live by, like everything else in nature.  There is so much more here than I have studied out… the pomegranates, the bells, the Urim and the Tummim.. what do they all mean?  Don’t just rush past this section (or any section for that matter). Spend some time here really studying the Word!

Did you notice in Chapter 29 it is Matza (unleavened) bread?  Does that give you a clue as to the time of year?  If you are familiar with the feasts, it should.  What feast do you only have Matza?

I love the description of the Turban.  That is such a foreign thought and not many of the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) images I see have them in turbans.  But, these were Middle Eastern men. So when we give up our westernized vision of Scripture, we realize, this is exactly fitting! When we striped all the “jewishness” out of scripture, we stole the meaning and richness of it!

Another section that fascinates me is

Exo 29:20  Then shalt thou kill the ram, and take of his blood, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of Aaron, and upon the tip of the right ear of his sons, and upon the thumb of their right hand, and upon the great toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about.

What is up with the ear, thumb and toe being slathered in blood?  Well the ear represents hearing… Shema, Hear O Israel. (Hear and DO). The hand represents work. Our hands are to be doing His work and will.  And toe represents walk / path. Walking Abba’s path. Remember Hebrew is about function and purpose not description!  Makes so much sense, doesn’t it?  I know!

There is more to this portion, but I think I’ll close it here.  I encourage you to really slow down and put some effort into studying the Word and learning what the intended meaning was (not our westernized version… but the Ancient Middle Eastern version that it was written in, by and for). In my humble opinion, the fact that the West assumes it is all about their understanding is another form of pride and arrogance.  The entire Bible is about the Middle East, that is the location where everything takes place, to Hebrew people, that spoke a Middle Eastern language in ancient times with ancient customs and thoughts.  Study it out… there is so much richness there!  Abba will grant wisdom to those that seek it!  He promised that!

Until next time, Shabbat Shalom!