God Is In The Details - Parshat “Tetzaveh”
בינה בפייסבוק בינה באינסטגרם צרו קשר עם בינה במייל

God Is In The Details – Parshat “Tetzaveh”

God Is In The Details – Parshat “Tetzaveh”

Ran Oron


Parshat “Tetzaveh” describes at great length and in precise detail the clothes of the priests.

In February 1988, on the thirtieth day after his wife’s death, the Lubavitcher Rebbe chose to quote from the parasha the verse “so that the choshen (breastplate) shall not be cut off  (velo-yezach) from the ephod (apron)” (Exodus 28:28). The choshen and the ephod were two of the eight pieces of clothing worn by the high priest. On that day, the Rebbe chose to shed light on the meaning of the connection between them.

The choshen was a square breastplate about the size of a palm. Twelve stones were assembled inside the plate, the twelve minerals that represented the twelve tribes of Israel. In the choshen were folded the Orim and Thummim, a kind of divine “truth machine” with which Aaron consulted in order to guide the people when they came to ask him for advice. The choshen, “the jewel of the heart” as Rashi describes it, was the most important of the garments and was close to the high priest’s heart during the service in the Mishkan.

The ephod was like an apron which the priest belted around his waist and which hung from his lower back down to his heels. In contrast to the choshen, the ephod is considered the most inferior of the priest’s clothing but like it, it also carried inside it the names of the tribes of Israel. The twelve names were engraved on two stones that were inserted in the shoulder straps of the ephod and carried on the priest’s shoulders.

“Velo-yezach” means “will not be cut off.” The two are commanded to always remain connected. By describing in meticulous detail the connection of two items of clothing that are so opposite in nature and at the same time carry our names within them, the Torah shows us that the truth, both the divine and ours, is found in our faith in the power of the connection of opposites.

As in the connection of the choshen to the ephod, the divine will always be connected to the earthly, the front to the back, the heart to the heels and legs. Dreams and inspiration are connected to reality in the same way the spirit is connected to the body. Darkness is always a ray of light. The names of the children of Israel are carried against the thinking heart and also on the shoulders that carry the garment. Thought is connected and equal in importance to action. Both are needed, enriched, and are tied to each other.

Moshe and Aaron also represent opposites. Action and speech, leadership and priesthood. Brothers, opposites and connected. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai interprets the words that appear later in the chapter “you shall place the Urim and Thummim so they are over Aaron’s heart ” (Exodus 28:30): “The heart that rejoices in the joy of his brother will come and be glad and wear Urim and Thummim” (Tanhuma, Exodus 27:3). For the first time in the Torah, brothers support each other and lead together. Brotherly love is the driving force behind the “truth machine.” The moment of the nation’s formation through a system of commandments and laws requires its integrity and strength. Driven by brotherly love, a connection becomes a miracle through which complementary opposites create a new reality, greater and far more significant than the sum of their parts.

I am an architect. I build a place by connecting materials. In a precise connection, each material utilizes its properties to the limit of its strength and at the same time highlights and illuminates the properties of the other. Each of the materials will then contribute its part, with respect and awareness of the need for the other, in order to create a space for living. In regard to humans, the characteristics of a good connection are talent and humility. It is faith in the challenge of togetherness.

A few days before her marriage, the poet Zelda wrote to a family member: “In every relationship of love, and even friendship, there is the secret, the surprising, the disappointing, and the uplifting. Because man, by his very nature, has contradictions and has the characteristics of a high tide and a low tide, like nature, and cannot always be considered a full moon. To find a person with whom you have a common language, to whom you can give the turmoil in your heart – it’s a miracle.”

In these days of turmoil in our hearts we must insist on the power of connection. We have to know how to accept the opposite and the different from us. Learn to contain the other. We must go back and reinvent our common language of existence. Build and believe. Connect with talent and humility as individuals, as brothers, and as a nation.

Written by Ran Oron

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