February 21, 2005

This Week's Torah Portion - Parshat Tetzaveh

Exodus Chapter 28:

א וְאַתָּה הַקְרֵב אֵלֶיךָ אֶת-אַהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ וְאֶת-בָּנָיו אִתּוֹ, מִתּוֹךְ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל--לְכַהֲנוֹ-לִי: אַהֲרֹן--נָדָב וַאֲבִיהוּא אֶלְעָזָר וְאִיתָמָר, בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן.

"And bring near to yourself Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that they may minister unto Me in the priest's office..."

This is the first commandment of the sanctification of the Kohanim, the descendants of Aaron. It then goes on to describe the special clothing that needed to be made for the Kohain Gadol (High Priest) and the regular Kohanim.

One of the coolest (in my opinion) vestments is the "Choshen" or breastplate that had twelves stones on it for the twelve Tribes of Israel (see picture above). Inside was placed a parchment called the Urim V'Tumim which would cause the stones to light up when the a question was asked of G-d. Kind of the world's first supercomputer.

For more on the Choshen and the Urim and Tumim, see here: http://www.templeinstitute.org/urim_vtummim.htm

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