Here is your weekly commentary from Ovadyah Ben Yisrael:
T’tzaveh – פרשת תצוה “You shall command”
Torah reading: Sh’moth (Exodus)27:20 – 30:10
Haftarah reading: Yechezqel (Ezekiel) 43:10-27
Ketuvim Hatalmidym reading: Alef Timotiyos (1Timothy) 2:1-2,8, Eph’siym (Ephesians) 6:10-18
Shalom alekykhem, achym, b’shem Yehoshua Moshienu
~ Peace unto you, my brothers, in the name of Yehoshua our Saviour.
Olat tamid l’doroteykham petach ohel moed lifney YHWH asher ivaed lakhem shamah l’daber Eylekha sham
~ “A continual ascending offering throughout your generations at the entrance
of the tent of meeting before YHWH, where I will meet with them, there to
speak there unto thee.”
This command that Aharon and his sons should offer up a lamb both in the morning and evening, daily and continually throughout their generations as a precondition to speaking with them is, for us, a lesson. This offering was a whole burnt offering—one which was completely consumed on the bronze altar in the courtyard before the Mishkan. No part of it was allowed to be eaten. It was a complete giving up to YHWH.
These “olah” (ascending) offerings were the first and last offerings of each day. They bracketed and encased all other sacrifices, worship, and rituals performed, beginning and ending each day’s activities in the Mishkan. They were not done in silence but were accompanied by the fervent prayers of the Kohanym (priests), then echoed or affirmed by all the people, as it is said,
“Take with you words” and, “we offer the bulls of our lips.”
These prayers were the very essence of the service of the altar, just as much, or moreso, than were the sacrifices themselves.
The prayers, which were used during these services, are no longer entirely known to us for certain. However, the core of them was the Amidah prayer—also known as the “Shemona Esrei,” or simply “The Prayer”—which is still to this day said by pious Jews each morning and eve. As with the services in the Mishkan, these prayers now begin and end each day of the children of Yisrael in the presence of YHWH and wholly dedicate it to Him. All other studies, worship, deeds of Torah, and other activities are bracketed and encased between them.
This is the lesson of the daily olah offerings for us—that we should begin and end every day of our lives, continually and for all of our generations, by drawing near to YHWH, giving ourselves completely to Him, both in word and deed, then striving to fill all of the time in between with works of Torah which are devoted to Him and to the furtherance of His kingdom.
If we do, He promises to meet with us there and speak to us. And then He promises even more:
v’shakanti b’tok bney Yisrael v’hayiyti, lahem L’eylohym. V’yadu ki ani YHWH Eloheyhem asher hotzeyti otam meyeretz Mitzrayim lashakni b’tokam. Ani YHWH Eloheyhem
~ “And I will dwell within the children of Yisrael and will exist to them as their Elohym. And they shall know that I am YHWH their Elohym that brought them forth from the land of Mitzrayim, for I dwell within them. I am YHWH their Elohym.”
May He bless you and speak to you as you begin, end, and fill your days walking prayerfully, and obediently, before Him.
B’Shalom, Ovadyah Ben Yisrael