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February 14, 2008 - Image 47

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2008-02-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

TORAH PORTION

Our Lasting
Consecration

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Shabbat Tetzaveh: Exodus 27:20-
30:10; Ezekiel 43:10-27.

Efrat, Israel

cent of the wine libations at the altar
and bless our children once again
his week's portion exclusively with the priestly blessing. Our special
belongs to Aaron. It is a por-
Sabbath challah is our form of our
tion devoted to the holy vest- sanctuaries show-bread.
ments and the consecration of Aaron's
If the priests conducted the sacrifi-
priestly descendents.
cial services in the Temple, every Jew
This is the week of the priest but in
is capable of conducting the services
actuality it is the week of the entire
in our Temple. Individuals without
nation of Israel, a nation created to
any priestly lineage or Levitic lineage
be wholly holy — an entire nation of
can recite the Amidah for the congre-
priests, dedicated to God.
gation, cantillate the weekly biblical
Such is the Divine
portion and call people up
charge to the Israelite
to the Torah. Indeed, as our
nation immediately prior
biblical reading of Tetzaveh
to the revelation at Sinai
describes the high priest's
"and you shall be unto
eight special garments, it
me a kingdom of Priest-
emphasizes the tzitzit — the
Kohanim and a holy
pure gold forehead-plate,
nation" (Exodus 19:6);
on which is written "Holy to
mark every word of the
God." A twist of royal, sky-blue
commentary of Sefarno
wool (tkhelet) was attached to
to this verse: "You shall
this forehead-plate, evidently
Rabbi Shlomo
be a kingdom of Priest-
expressing our descent from
Riskin
Kohanim to understand
the royalty of Abraham, Isaac
Special to the
and to teach to the entire
and Jacob, Sara, Rebecca,
Jewish News
human race the necessity
Rachel and Leah.
of the calling out in the
Today, the tzitzit — ritual
name of the Lord, so that they might
fringes with a string of royal sky-blue
serve Him together ... for from Zion
wool — may be worn by every Jew,
shall come forth Torah (to the world)." enabling the one who wears it to feel
The day of the observant Jew begins and act with the majesty of the high
by expressing the innate Kohen-dom
priest of old. There is no more demo-
of every single member of our nation. cratic institution in our present day
Before the Jew does anything else, he
synagogue, where in everyone may be
fills a large vessel with water, his left
draped in a prayer shawl with ritual
hand pours the water over the right,
fringes, everyone together. Just ask
and the right hand pours the water
an non-Jewish visitor to distinguish
over the left, for three cycles. The
between the laymen and the clergy
blessing we make as we wash refers to
and he will not be able to do so. We
the consecrating of the hands.
are all Kohanim — priests — and
Our Kohen-Dom continues with the must continue to teach first Israel and
two blessings we make in which we
then the world. ❑
thank God for giving us His Torah. It
is fascinating that out of all the verses
Shlomo Riskin is chancellor Ohr Torah
of the written Torah our sages choose
Stone and chief rabbi of Efrat, Israel.
the priestly benediction — "May God
bless you and keep you ..." as the
blessings which we recite. We begin
Conversations
the day with priestly actions and
Consider Passover, Yom Kippur
priestly words.
and other major observances
On Friday evening, we greet the
and note the traditions that are
Sabbath by kindling the lights in every
similar to the actions of the
Jewish home, by reciting the blessing
priest in the Holy Temple.
of sanctification over wine reminis-

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February 14

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