January 19, 2019 ~ Shabbat BESHALAH. Maqam AJAM.

Shabbat Tessave - שבת תצוה


לכבוד ולתפארת - The prestige of the priests (כהנים) is best reflected by the clothing that they wore. The details of the uniforms, especially that of the High Priest, were specifically designed to show respect and splendor (לכבוד ולתפארת). With great honor, however, comes great responsibility. When the priests wear their uniforms, they are representing God. They are warned that corruption or abuse of power is a desecration of the uniform; an offense punishable by death (ולא ישאו עון ומתו). Both Nadab and Abihu (Aaron's children), as well as Hophni and Pinehas (Eli's children), suffered this fate. From this we see that God does not tolerate hypocrisy; being dressed one way and behaving in another. Those who decide to dress in religious or professional garbs must pay attention to how they present themselves in public and must always behave in respectable ways that are consistent with their uniforms (Beth Torah, 3/11/17).

At All Times

והיה על מצחו תמיד - The word Tamid (תמיד), defined as 'at all times,' describes the light placed in the Tabernacle (Exodus 27:20). During the Second Temple era, the historian, Josephus, writes that this light is literally eternal; "never to be extinguished by day or by night" (Against Apion, 1:22). Tamid is also used in Exodus 28:38 to instruct that the Frontlet (מצנפת) must be on the High Priest's "forehead at all times" (והיה על מצחו תמיד). This instruction, says Rashi (1040-1105), should not be taken literally, and only refers to "when the High Priest performs services." Despite this, one should note that the forehead is the part of the body that represents the mind. Therefore, one might suggest that Tamid refers to the High Priest's pure state of the mind. By stating that the Frontlet must stay on his head "at all times" means that the High Priest must always discipline his thoughts and conduct himself consistent with the office in which he represents. Beth Torah Bulletin, 2/24/18.