Torah Thoughts for Today
Shabbat Zakhor – Parashat Tetzaveh 5772
Rabbi Mark Mallach
Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, Springfield, NJ
IMPORTANT NOTES FOLLOW BELOW
PARASHAT TETZAVEH – SHABBAT ZAKHOR
March 3, 2012 – 9 Adar 5772
Annual: Exodus 27:20 – 30:10 (Etz Hayim, p. 503; Hertz p. 339)
Triennial: Exodus 28:31 – 29:18 (Etz Hayim p. 508; Hertz p. 342)
Maftir: Deuteronomy 25:17-19 (Etz Hayim 1135; Hertz 856)
Haftarah: I Samuel 15:2 – 34 (Etz Hayim, p. 1282; Hertz p. 996)
Prepared by Rabbi Joseph Prouser
Much of parashat Tetzaveh describes the golden menorah that was placed in the tabernacle, along with the procedure for lighting it. It is a precursor to the ner tamid, the eternal light that is displayed and kept illumined in our own sanctuaries.
The priests, including Aaron, the first of their line, are outfitted with sacral vestments and equipped with a gem-encrusted breastplate and the oracular urim and tummim. The terminology used for the vestments also has been adopted for the appurtenances of the Torah scroll: me’il, choshen, and so on. The bells often attached to Torah crowns and the fringes on Torah mantles also find their origin and inspiration in the priestly vestments described in our chapter. The significance of the vestments may be summarized by the inscription on the gold “tzitz” worn on the priest’s headdress: “Holy to the Lord.”
The priests’ consecration and ordination is described in graphic and dramatic detail. The occasion is marked with an elaborate sacrificial offering, and the new priests undergo a ritual washing. The priests are anointed with oil. Sacrificial blood is dashed on the altar and placed on the priests’ ears, thumbs, big toes, and vestments. The priests eat the flesh of the sacrificial ram, as well as the bread that accompanies the offering. The ordination rites are protracted, conducted over the course of seven days. An expiatory bull is sacrificed each day, and the altar undergoes a daily purification.
The daily sacrificial regimen is prescribed and God offers a consequent assurance that He will dwell among the Israelites. The parashah concludes with instructions about burning incense on the altar.
Parashat Zakhor, read on March 3, 2012, prescribes our obligation “to remember” the genocidal designs of Amalek and, in particular, that nation’s ruthless early attack on the Jewish people. On March 3, 1933, 100 prisoners were taken to a school in the small town of Norha near the city of Weimar. They were interrogated and placed under guard by policemen and students from the school. This is considered the start of Germany’s first concentration camp.
Shabbat Parshat Tetzaveh/Shabbat Zakhor falls this year on 9 Adar. According to the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 580:1-2, this date is among the “days of misfortune” to be observed as a fast day. The fast is intended to express contrition for the historic pattern of dissension – the philosophical and halakhic rift – between the schools of Shammai and Hillel and their respective followers. Since this year the ninth of Adar falls on Shabbat, no fasting is permitted: on that halakhic point Hillel and Shammai were in agreement! Perhaps the fast is also related to the Talmud’s statement (Sota 47b) that “When the disciples of Hillel and Shammai increased who had not studied with their teachers sufficiently, dissensions increased in Israel and the Torah became like two Torahs.” Even if we must forego the fast, the 9th of Adar is a fitting time to contemplate how we might redress the Jewish communal ills of religious infighting and neglect of Jewish study.
Your thoughts as always are welcome…
A. Sunday, March 4, 2012:
1. 9 AM:
a. Religious School
b. Morning Minyan
2. 12 noon – 2 PM: USY’s Purim Carnival!!!!
3. 7:45 PM: evening minyan
B. Thursday, March 1st, 8 PM: Coffee & Clergy Corner – NJ Marriage Equality???? – Barnes & Noble, Rt. 22 W, Springfield
C. Friday, March 2nd, 6:30 PM: SHABBATis4U service in honor of Kitah Bet & Hey – Shabbat dinner to follow – RSVP needed: firstname.lastname@example.org – NO LATE SERVICE
D. Wednesday, March 7th, 7 PM: Megillah Readings – Sanctuary & Chapel
E. Thursday, March 8th, 6:30 PM: morning minyan & Purim continues – Megillah Reading in the Chapel
F. Saturday, March 10th, 9:30 AM: Bar Mitzvah of Matthew Nadel
G. Thursday, March 15th, 7:45 PM: Torah on Tap
NEXT CONGREGATIONAL ISRAEL TOUR
1. Depart EWR: December 18, 2012
2. Return to EWR: January 1, 2013
3. The itinerary & application is available: www.israeltours.com/rmallach2012.php
4. INFORMATION MEETING – note date change – SUNDAY, March 11TH – 12:30 PM – IN THE BOARD ROOM – come learn more from our tour company – all questions answered
For updated information go to: http://www.tbaynj.org/
You can also visit my website at http://ridinrebbe.com/