Parshat Tetzaveh-Siena Rappoport

Posted on February 27, 2015

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This week’s parsha is Parshat Tetzaveh. Parshat Tetzaveh mainly talks about the menorah, the Kohen Gadol’s clothing, and the the incense altar. The main theme of the menorah is light. Light is not an entity unto itself, rather it is a portrayal of its source. Light cannot “fake” how bright its benefactor is, it is an authentic reflection of its origin, e.g. the sun or a candle. The aroma from incense comes from the same origin as light. It too is not its own entity, alternatively, it belongs to that of its source. As well as light, aroma, or smell, is an exact representation of its benefactor. The smell of something cooking in the air can even accurately tell us what is being prepared.The parsha also speaks about the Kohen Gadol’s clothing. Clothing is like the aroma and the light in the way that it is not its own entity, it is that of the wearer. But unlike the prior two, clothing is not a reflection of its wearer. A poor man could wear the clothes of the rich man, and a rich man could wear the clothes of the poor man, but neither are what they appear to be.

The parsha then speaks of how the Kohen Gadol is to be dressed with the grandeur of a king, but that alone is not enough. He needs the purity of the menorah and incense altar as well.We are like the light and the aroma, with G-d as our benefactor. We are pure and we represent Him. But along with being the light and aroma, we are also the clothing, and our world is the wearer. We must choose whether or not we decide to be like that around us.