Blog Tetzaveh Adar 15, 5781
Parashat Tetzaveh begins with lighting the menorah with pure oil. Although this has spiritual application for our lives, it was also very practical. The Ochel Moed, the Tent of Meeting had no windows, making it totally dark. The menorah served to bring light so that the cohanim who worked inside could see what they were doing. In Genesis, we read that “in the beginning” the Creator separated the darkness and created the light. The light of the menorah would dispel the darkness inside the Ochel Moed, pointing toward the light for all humanity – the Ten Commandments. We might say that the Ochel Moed was a microcosm of God’s entire creation.
One of the requirements for the light inside the Tent was that it had to be made from “pure olive oil”. The olive holds special meaning in the Torah. When Noah sent out a dove to see if the earth was dry, it returned with an olive branch in its mouth depicting that humanity would begin again with the hope that there might finally be peace. Another beautiful picture is the natural olive tree – descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob with the grafted branches from the wild olive tree forming the commonwealth of Israel. We see this with Caleb, son of Yefunneh the Kenezite becoming the prince of the tribe of Judah and being given the land of Hebron as his inheritance.
The oil had to be pure for both spiritual and practical application. In the spiritual sense, the cohen needed to be “pure” – “tahor” – טָהוֹר and practically, the oil had to burn cleanly, or the Tent would be filled with smoke, causing death to those inside. The Torah is light to the souls who live by it allowing them to live well. In contrast, most religions will tell you that they are the only ones who can bring light to their followers. They light their own menorah inside their own tents of meeting. The problem is that their oil is not pure, rather it produces a lot of smoke, suffocating their followers. Religion kills! Choose any religion and you will see that they are sending their own light to the world but not the light of the Torah. We have been religiously polluted. Everyone has their own god made according to their own likeness and image. They will ask you to do things that our Creator never asked you to do. The greatest religion today is humanism enthroning mankind who insists that he is more humane than the Creator. This is what happened with King Saul who disobeyed the Almighty. If he had obeyed when he was told to destroy all of Amalek, there would not have been a Haman at Purim.
There are many details that describe the clothing and rituals of the kohanim for the descendants of Aaron and his sons. Rather than examining them all, let’s just see what we can get to apply to our daily lives. “For every season, there is a reason.” The elaborate clothing of the Kohanim teaches us about the care we must take before approaching God. We must always approach Him with the best of everything, represented from the turban that represents us protecting our thoughts, to the bare feet of the Kohanim, representing humility, so that they will not forget to put their “feet on the ground.”
Just as the people of Israel had been programmed in Egypt and would now be given the opportunity to slowly change their mentality, we too, need to change many of the things from our childhood which we accepted as truth. Our parents and grandparents did their best to teach us, but our truth differs greatly from the Creator’s Truth. The Ten Commandments are the Almighty’s Divine Revelation to the people at Mt. Sinai to be dispersed to the whole world. These are the foundation of the Truth. They were placed inside the Ark – the Aron – אֲרוֹןat the center of the Holy of Holies, from which the Creator would speak to the people of Israel. He told us that we would be a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” with the special role of being “ohr l’goyim” bringing the light of the Ten Commandments to the rest of the nations. Can you imagine what this world would be like if we all simply kept these Commandments?
Our lives are like the menorah which illuminated the Mishkan. We each have the responsibility of being a beacon of light in a dark place. Our mere presence makes a difference wherever the Almighty has placed us. Do you realize that you affect others by your words and even by your silence? We need to speak out for those who cannot speak up for themselves. Messiah Yeshua spoke a lot about light. In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:14-16 he said: 14 “You are light for the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Likewise, when people light a lamp, they don’t cover it with a bowl but put it on a lampstand, so that it shines for everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. Let us ask ourselves if we are being a light to the world through our actions and our behavior? Our actions speak far louder than our words.