Sedra TeTzaVeh, True Love, Much More that 120 Words.
And you will make Special Garments for Aharon your brother. These garments in which Aharon will serve in the Mishkan, will glorify and honour the service. [Shemos 28:2] This verse is entirely unnecessary as it is followed immediately by, “And you Moshe, must instruct the craftsmen whom I have inspired, that they must make the garments for Aharon the Cohen, to sanctify him that he serve me.” We will get back to this.
Another question: [28:5] “And they will take the precious materials …” Rashi explains, the craftsmen will collect the donations directly from the donors; it will not be transferred to them via Moshe Rabbenu. What is the significance of this?
Let us ask one more question to help us unravel these issues.
Why do we greet three of our neighbouring congregants during the Kiddush HaLeVana service, with, “Shalom Aleichem, Peace Unto You”?
The surprising answer is that having just said, “Tipol Aleihem Emoso VoFachad – may they be gripped with fear and trembling” we want to reassure our neighbours that we are not referring to them.[Mishneh Berrurah 426:16]
This is utterly baffling. Certainly there are in almost every Synagogue, members who due to various grievances, do not speak to one another; but one doubts that two such people would greet one another with Shalom Aleichem during the service and might well not even stand alongside one another. And if they did, and it was said with that intent, in all likelihood there would be no follow up Shalom Aleichem to THAT fellow.
So we are applying a Halacha that governs two ordinary members of the same religion, the same community and the same congregation about whom there is a concern, that a misunderstanding might erupt, from the words said to Gd during prayer, which require an immediate and unambiguous clarification. This worthy of further investigation.
The Human Mind is capable of the most astounding feats, one of which is the ingenuity and the tendency to insult, hurt and taunt one another. Our digital age seems to offer expanded opportunities to reach further and also mask the offender’s identity. Sledging is a very important part of sports, both to the players and the spectators. But the ingenuity to mask an insult in an innocent sounding phrase, the double entendre has existed from time immemorial and it lurks in the back of everyone’s mind. If we are not greeted as we would expect or as we are accustomed, we tend to begin building an ugly imagery to explain this aberration.
Another feature of this quality is the constant and continuous seeking of reassurances that those who do love us, continue to love us.
Moshe Rabbenu’s protracted refusal to accept Gd’s command to lead the Jews to redemption (It takes 39 verses to persuade Moshe Rabbenu to accept Gd’s command) was due to his concern that his older brother might be offended. [Rashi Shemos 4:14] It is not until Gd reassures Moshe that Aharon will rejoice at knowing of his appointment, that Moshe cedes to Gd’s instruction.
Serving Gd is not much different to our relationships with our fellow congregants. Any suspicion of an ulterior motive can poison a relationship or at least make it unpalatable. Constructing the Mishkan [BTW this word is connected to, neighbourhood, as in SheChuNa] and making clothes for Aharon the Cohen Gadol, require as pure intentions as humanly possible.
HKBH wants Moshe Rabbenu to be seen to be making the clothes that will promote his older brother to prominence. What better way to ensure that the relationship between the brothers remains pure and without even the slightest suspicions? Keep in mind that originally, HKBH’s plan was that Moshe Rabbenu be the Cohen Gadol.
The donors would give directly to the craftsmen. This indicates Trust and Love. A truce is not a peace partnership and a peace partnership is not a loving trusting relationship. What greater testament is there to trust than not scrutinising every penny that goes through the household or the business budget? Of course those being trusted will reciprocate, they will go out of their way to ensure that there is no ambiguity in the reckonings they provide to account for their activities.
The Sedra opens with the requirements for pure unadulterated [weird how that word emerges from adult] olive oil for lighting the Menorah in the Mishkan. This is something that we all understand. Having the clearest oil, the most beautiful Tefillin, the loveliest Esrog etc. is an urge that we can all easily relate to and be driven to achieve. Gd is telling us in these verses that the purity of intentions within our interpersonal relationships is critical to building a Temple in which Gd will be happy to reside, which Gd will be pleased to describe as His Neighbourhood.