Monthly Services

In February our Shabbat Service will be held at the UUCOB building
at the corner of Kitty Hawk and Herbert Perry Roads in Kitty Hawk. 

831 Herbert Perry Rd

Please join us!

Upcoming Service:
Saturday, February 16, 2019
Time: 10:00 AM

Parsha Tetzaveh
Exodus Chapters 27:20-30:10

        The Israelites have settled in the desert and Moses has received the Ten Commandments but not yet brought them down from Mount Sinai.  At this point, the Book of Exodus begins describing in great detail the construction of the Sanctuary.
        As a review for the portions (parshot) we did not cover in the past 3 weeks, they include Yithro (Jethro), Moses’ father-in-law, who suggests to Moses that he appoint 5 levels of judges, appeals courts if you will, to rule over matters of law.  Moses had been doing this by himself and Jethro could tell it was wearing him out.  Then Moses goes up Mt. Sinai and receives the Ten Commandments.  The next parsha is Mishpatim (Laws), in which God begins to lay out the Laws concerning the Rights of People, Offences against Property and the Laws of Morality.  The Sabbath Day and Sabbath Year are discussed, and the Pilgrimage Holidays of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot are defined.  Last week’s parsha was Terumah (Offering), which describes how the Sanctuary and the Ark of the Covenant are to be constructed.
        The portion of this week, Tetzaveh (Command), begins with the end of Chapter 27 and deals with the Eternal Lamp, which actually only had to be lit from evening until morning.   Then in Chapters 28 and 29, the parsha shifts away from the building of the sanctuary.
        Except for talking about Joseph’s coat or scarf of many colors, we know almost nothing about the clothing that our Patriarchs and Matriarchs wore.  This is about to change dramatically.  Chapter 28 describes in intricate detail how the High Priests were dressed.  Perhaps their special attire is because they had such a special job to perform, as they alone could help the Children of Israel with their sacrifices.  The Priestly Garments for Aaron and his 4 sons include a short coat called an Aiphode, a gold Breastplate, a beautiful blue Robe, a gold plate attached to a turban-like cloth called a Mitre and a Tunic.  Aaron’s garments were even more ornate than those for his sons. notes that while the Torah specifically prohibits mixing wool and linen for unknown reasons, the High Priests’ robe specifically requires the mixing of wool and linen.  That’s because the High Priests were so special that God singled them out in this way. also says that the reason gold was included in most of these garments was to counter the negative effect of the use of gold in building the Golden Calf, which occurred just a few parshas before.  Chapter 29 deals with the Consecration of the Priests, which was the ceremony to install Aaron and his sons as High Priests.  Of note is that the blood of the sacrificed animals was placed upon the right ear, to hear the word of God, the right thumb, to perform the duties of the Priesthood, and the right great toe, to walk in the path of righteousness.  The chapter ends with a description of the daily sacrifices.  The parsha concludes with the first parts of Chapter 30 that describe the construction of the Altar for Burning Incense.  Verse 10, which I read at the end of our final aliyah,  notes that Aaron shall make atonement upon the altar once a year.  This is the High Holiday of Yom Kippur.
        One of my sources talks about four distinct groups of people, the High Priests (Aaron and his sons), the regular priests, the Levites and the common people who were the Israelites.  The source also mentions four levels of color that can be associated with the groups of peoples, these being gold, then blue, then purple and finally red for the commoner.
        There is a lot of ritual in the Old Testament, particularly in Exodus and Leviticus.  There is also the notion that the Children of Israel are special in many ways, and they were cautioned against assimilating with other tribes.  The rituals described in this parsha and others should remind us that we unique in this world.  We are certainly not better than other children of God, but we were chosen for a reason.  The Old Testament and writings that followed, such as the Talmud, are tribute to the existence of Judaism as not only a religion, but a World Civilization.

        As is our custom, we will now put the Torah aside before continuing on with the Haftorah portion.  After we all sing the opening blessing, we’ll look at it and search for its connection to our parsha.

        The Haftorah comes from Ezekiel, who was a prophet who was exiled to Baylon in 597 BCE and learned about the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE.  The Haftorah contains only chapter 43 in which Ezekiel describes in great detail his vision of the Altar of Burnt Offering and its consecration in the restored Temple.  Please note that the last chapters of the Book of Ezekiel (40-48) present his vision of a new, post-exile Jerusalem, and hence his words are linked to the Torah portion.  The Temple was rebuilt, starting in 530 BCE, by exiles who were allowed to return to Jerusalem by King Cyrus.

        Now let’s sing the final Haftorah blessing and conclude our service.