Draw Near to You Your Brother!

Draw Near to You Your Brother!

The Temple Institute 

Feb 26 at 12:34 AM

  “Draw near to you your brother!”
(Exodus 28:1)

Adar 14, 5781/February 26, 20
Draw near to you your brother Aharon, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel to serve Me: Aharon, Nadav, and Avihu, Eleazar, and Itamar, Aharon’s sons. You shall make holy garments for your brother Aharon, for honor and glory.” (Exodus 28:1-2)
Words more beautiful than these do not appear in Torah. G-d has expressed His desire to dwell among His children, and now He is teaching us how we are to appear before Him. We draw our brothers near, in love and in unity. We dress our brother in honor and glory every time we gaze upon him and see within him the image of G-d in which he was created.
And this is how G-d sees us – at our finest! Dressed in honor and glory!
But couldn’t the Kohen Gadol (High Priest), our brother who stands before G-d and represents us, be clad in more modest clothes? Is it really necessary for the Kohen Gadol to be cloaked in royal techelet blue and argaman purple, crimson and gold, with a gem-studded breatplate and a golden crown? Not only do these beautiful garments reflect how we appear in G-d’s eye, they also convey a tremendous responsibility for the Kohen Gadol.
Each detail of the High Priest’s garments embodies both a potential sin on man’s part and the ability to overcome and repent and stand before G-d in peace: The High Priest’s tunic atones for killing; his pants atone for sexual transgressions; his turban, worn on the head, atones for haughtiness; his belt, wound about the body and worn over the heart, atones for “sins of the heart” – improper thoughts; his breastplate atones for errors in judgment; the ephod atones for idolatry; his robe atones for evil speech, and the High Priest’s crown, which rests on his forehead, atones for arrogance.
This is the true meaning of the honor and glory that G-d sees in man: man’s ultimate ability to live up to the potential of being a living being formed of the dust of the earth into which G-d “breathed into his nostrils the soul of life.” (Genesis 2:7)
The garments of the Kohen Gadol were extremely heavy, no doubt reminding him every moment and with every movement that he bears a tremendous responsibility: standing before G-d in his brothers’ behalf.
The High Priest is one of us: he is called the High Priest because he is the head priest, but neither his title nor his raiments grant his an exalted status above his brothers. We are equals, and because we are equals the Kohen Gadol can truly represent all of us before G-d, with all his heart. Humility is the true crowning glory of the Kohen Gadol.
In the book of Esther, which we read, today being Purim, teaches us that despite outward appearances, there are no coincidences in life. Behind every apparent happenstance is the hidden hand of G-d. Likewise, it is no coincidence that this year we are reading parashat Tetzaveh, which describes the garments of the Kohen Gadol, on the same Shabbat on which Shushan Purim falls. Midrash tells us that subtext of the Purim story is the struggle to rebuild the second Holy Temple, despite all the political intrigue and machinations of those who opposed the building of the Holy Temple, such as Haman and King Achashverosh, the chief villains of the Purim story.
The book of Esther opens with a massive feast sponsored and hosted by Achashverosh, celebrating what he believes is the the end of the Jewish dream of rebuilding the Holy Temple, whose construction he, himself, halted by royal decree. Not only does Achashverosh, in unbridled hubris feed all his guests with food and drink served in the sacred vessels pilfered from the first Holy Temple, but he has the egotistical gall to greet his guests while wearing the sacred garments of the High Priest.
This begs the question: do the clothes make the man, as the old saw goes?
The answer seems to be a profound no!
Whereas the beautifully spun garments of the High Priest serve the highest purpose in life, reflecting man at his very best, standing at attention before G-d in the Holy Temple, when these same garments are worn by an egotistical tyrant, who sees no authority other than his own, and no law to abide other than his own decrees, they become a sad reflection of man at his lowest, an ungrateful and empty vessel. Using this empty vessel of a man for the ultimate good, as we see unfold in the book of Esther, was G-d’s doing, and not born of any self reflection or atonement on Achashverosh’s part.
Midrash teaches us that Achashverosh’s child born to Esther would become the future King Darius, who signed the royal decree permitting the restarting of the rebuilding of the Holy Temple. G-d may sometimes seem hidden to us, but as G-d’s instructions to bring near our brothers and dress them in honor and glory make clear, G-d will always see us at our finest, when we see in one another a hidden spark of G-d. It just may be that man is G-d’s favorite hiding place. Purim sameach – have a happy Purim! *** templetalk-logo-Tetzaveh-Purim-nwslttr-new-2 Tune in to this week’s Temple Talk, talks about clothing our brothers in glory & splendor, and putting our faith to the test on Purim, and asks the question, “do the clothes make the man or does the man make the clothes?” What are the reasons for the Garments of the High Priest? Are they just to look impressive, or are they designed for a deeper, more spiritual purpose? How is the modest splendor of the garments of the Kohen Gadol turned on its head for nefarious purposes by Achashverosh, King of Persia, who sought to dim the lights of the Holy Temple forever? The answers to these questions, and more, on this week’s Temple Talk! Temple Talk! *** parashat-shekalim-5781-2-nwslttr Parashat Shekalim: The Half Shekel Offering Every year, on the first Shabbat of the month of Adar, Jews in synagogues around the world read, in addition to the weekly Torah reading, the following six verses from Exodus 30:11-16. This is known as Parashat Shekalim: “HaShem spoke to Moshe, saying: ‘When you take the sum of the children of Israel according to their numbers, let each one give to HaShem an atonement for his soul when they are counted; then there will be no plague among them when they are counted… “ The Half Shekel Offering *** AH-Half-Shekel-nwslttr Positivity & the Holy Temple: The Half Shekel Offering The Half Shekel offering first mentioned in Exodus 30:11-16 is intended for the upkeep of the Holy Temple and for the funding of the public offerings in the Temple. Commanding the identical Half Shekel donation from all adult Israelites is G-d’s way of assuring everyone’s participation in the building and maintenance of the Holy Temple. Furthermore, Torah tells us that “there will be no plague among them when they are counted.” The message is clear: participating in the building of the Holy Temple grants Heavenly protection from plague and pandemic. The Half Shekel Offering *** help-to-build-368 Help To Build The Holy Temple In Our Time: Donate Generously To Help The Sacred Work Of The Temple Institute! Every contribution helps to rebuild the Holy Temple in our Time! Donate now! *** RGM-Tetzaveh-Purim-5781-nwslttr What does it mean for G-d to dwell amongst us? What is the significance of the Mishkan – Tabernacle – where G-d’s Shechinah – Presence – dwells? How does the mystery of the Ark of the Covenant make all this happen? Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20 – 30:10)
Parashat Tetzaveh is read on Shabbat:
Adar 15, 5781/February 27, 2021 View a Purim teaching now! *** haftarat-Tetzaveh-5781-fb-nwslttr Haftarah For Shabbat Parashat Tetzaveh Ezekiel 43:10-27 “You, son of man, describe the Temple to the House of Israel, and let them measure its design. But let them be ashamed of their iniquities: When they are ashamed of all they have done, make known to them the plan of the Temple and its layout, its exits and entrances — its entire plan, and all the laws and instructions pertaining to its entire plan. Write it down before their eyes, that they may faithfully follow its entire plan and all its laws… “ Read more! *** Purim-sameach-5781-nwslttr Purim Sameach – Happy Purim! For many, that happiest holiday of the year, Purim is celebrated tonight (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday) around the world, and in Jerusalem, on Sunday (Shushan Purim). The holiday of Purim was established by Esther and Mordechai, who are the central heroes of the events that are chronicled in the book of Esther. Learn more! *** mishteh-achashverosh-after-nwslttr Megillat Esther: Behind The Scenes! Megillat Esther, (the scroll of Esther), has all the trappings of a fairy tale: a powerful king, a sumptuous feast , a girl’s rise from orphan to queen, betrayal, entrapment, and deliverance! In fact, some modern scholars write it off as an unhistorical narrative, designed to amuse and comfort the Jews in their long exile. Part of the magic of Purim, the festival in which we read and celebrate the events described in the book of Esther, is that things do not appear as they are – and book of Esther, itself, is no exception: the story told in the book of Esther describes real people involved in a real struggle that took place during a real time, and involved very real issues. Learn more & see picture! *** Taanit-Ester-5781-nwslttr Ta’anit Ester: The Fast Of Esther Today, (Thursday, Adar 13/February 25) is Ta’anit Ester – the Fats of Esther. The fast is a commemoration of the three day fast that Esther called for all the Jews of Shushan, the capital of ancient Persia, to fast on her behalf, as she was preparing to approach King Achashverosh and plead for him to annul the decree of annihilation against the Jews that he himself had signed and sealed. Learn more! *** garments-of-the-high-priest-5781-nwslttr The Priestly Garments Of The High Priest & Ordinary Priests What did the priestly garments look like? How were they made? What was the deep spiritual significance of the priestly garments? Learn the answers to these questions and more, with photos and paintings of the garments of the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) and the ordinary priests. Learn more & see pictures! *** bells-and-pomegranates-gallery-nwslttr From This Week’s Parashat Tetzaveh: The Blue Tunic Of The High Priest “And you shall make the robe of the ephod completely of blue wool. Its opening at the top shall be turned inward; its opening shall have a border around it, the work of a weaver. It shall have [an opening] like the opening of a coat of armor; it shall not be torn. And on its bottom hem you shall make pomegranates of blue, purple, and crimson wool, on its bottom hem all around, and golden bells in their midst all around… “ (Exodus 28:31-35) Learn more & see picture! *** Beit-HaBechirah-3-18-nwslttr Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah, Laws Of The Chosen House, Chapter 3, Mishneh 18 “The laver had twelve faucets so that all the kohanim officiating at the morning Offering could sanctify [by washing their hands and feet] from it at once. They made a machine so it would always have water inside, and [the machine] was (left) unconsecrated so that the water inside would not become invalid by being left overnight since the laver is a sacred vessel and anything that was sanctified by [being stored in] a sacred vessel becomes invalid [for whatever purpose it was put in there] by being left overnight.” Learn more & see picture! *** choshen-mishpat-nwslttr From This Week’s Parashat Tetzaveh: The Breastplate Of The High Priest “You shall make settings of gold, and two chains of pure gold you will make them attached to the edges, after the manner of cables, and you will place the cable chains upon the settings. You shall make a choshen of judgment, the work of a master weaver. You shall make it like the work of the ephod; of gold, blue, purple, and crimson wool, and twisted fine linen shall you make it…” (Exodus 28:13-30) Learn more & see picture! *** women-praying-nwslttr Women Praying On The Temple Mount This very short video clip shows Jewish women in prayer on the Temple Mount. “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations!” (Isaiah 56:7) View video! *** Beit-HaBechirah-3-17-nwslttr Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah, Laws Of The Chosen House, Chapter 3, Mishneh 17 “The incense altar was a one cubit by one cubit square and was placed in the Sanctuary at the midpoint between the north and south [walls of the Temple] between the table and the Menorah but slightly outward (further away from the Inner Sanctum – translator). All three of them were in the inner third of the Sanctuary close to the curtain which divided between the Sanctuary and the Sanctum Sanctorum.” Learn more & see pictures! *** ephod-high-priest-gallery-nwslttr From This Week’s Parashat Tetzaveh: The Ephod Of The High Priest “And they shall make the ephod of gold, blue, purple, and crimson wool, and twisted fine linen, the work of a master weaver. It shall have two connected shoulder straps at both its ends, and it shall be entirely connected. And its decorative band, which is above it, shall be of the same work, [emanating] from it: gold, blue, purple, and crimson wool, and twisted fine linen…” (Exodus 28:6-12) Learn more & see picture! *** snowball-desecration-nwsttr Desecrating The Holiest Ground On Earth Everyone loves a good snowball fight, but this video clip taken last week, showing Muslims romping on the Temple Mount, is evidence of a profound and spiteful disrespect for all that is holy to the Jewish people and to G-d fearing people around the world. View video & learn more! *** high-priest-garments-gallery-nwslttr From This Week’s Parashat Tetzaveh: Garments Of The High Priest “And you bring near to yourself your brother Aharon, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel to serve Me [as kohanim]: Aharon, Nadav, and Avihu, Elazar, and Itamar, Aharon’s sons. You shall make holy garments for your brother Aharon, for honor and glory. And you shall speak to all the wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, and they shall make Aharon’s garments to sanctify him, [so] that he serve Me [as a kohen]…” (Exodus 28:1-4) Learn more & see picture! *** 21-02-21-tm-13-nwslttr Shavua Tov from the Temple Mount! As seen by these photos, last week began sunny and warm and ended snowy and cold on the Temple Mount. Wishing everyone a good (and warm, where you need it) week! See photos! *** ascend-the-temple-mount-386-nwslttr Interested in Ascending the Temple Mount? Contact us via our website, email us at infotempleinstitute@gmail.com or via our Facebook page. Click below for more information on ascending the Temple Mount in purity. More info! ***
Purim sameach from the holy city of Jerusalem!
Yitzchak Reuven
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