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Tetzaveh – A thought for the week by Mike Lewis

It is a busy week ahead. Purim begins on Monday with the reading of the Megillah and all the customs associated with the festival.

Last week was all about the building of the Mishkan but now we move on to the functions of those who would serve; the Leviim and the Cohanim. To this day we call up first a Cohen and then a Levi to the reading of the Torah. The Sedra does not mention Moses and we are being introduced to the concept of an hereditary elite – the role of priest was dynastic. Priests were the sons of Aaron. They were born into the role.

When we recite Yigdal we say:

לֹא קָם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל כְּמֹשֶה עוֹד נָבִיא
There hath never yet arisen in Israel a prophet like unto Moses

Moses’ own children did not become prophets. The role of a prophet is to be charismatic.

But what about the role of the Priests? They are described in all their finery and the rites of sacrifice.

The following was not written by me but by our much-missed Rabbi, Rabbi Collick:

The greatness of the Cohen was not on his proficiency around the altar, how good was he on the slaughtering, the bleeding, the handling of the organs after the slaughtering, the correct arrangement of the wood or the sacrifice on the fire. His greatness was in his special ability to see: to look at the person in front of him, the beating heart, the intention and feelings that brought him or her to the Sanctuary, and his longing for being connected to G-d. The prophet “sees” the invisible G-d. The priest “sees” the heart of the people, that it is also invisible to the regular eye.

This week is also Shabbat Zachor, of remembrance.  On 16th Adar it will be the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Collick z"l. Jeremy had that special ability to see into the heart of people.

Parshat Tetzeveh begins with the command of the Ner Tamid

Take to you pure olive oil, crushed for lighting, to kindle the lamps continually

Jeremy always kept that flame alive.

zikhrono livrakha - may his memory be a blessing.
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