Tetzaveh – A thought for the week by Michael Lewis

Updated: Mar 19

This week we celebrate Purim; one year on from the start of the Covid lockdowns. We miss the companionship, the pleasure, the noise, and the dressing up that sets the scene for the holiday. Zoom meetings don’t quite fulfil the memories!

Hamantaschen mutate. We are offered a change in fillings year by year! Customs vary. From place to place and in different times there have been many alternative and fascinating practices that we have followed. (I made notes about these and, if you are interested, Linda has a copy). Listening to the reading of the Megillah is a duty although it celebrates a holiday where the name of God is absent. The Parasha this week, Tetzaveh, also misses a name. It is the first time that the name of Moses is absent since we began to read Shemot (Exodus). Dressing up is part and parcel of Purim, especially for children. The Sedra is full of details of the formal robes for the priests. In the present times, shielded behind our electronic devices and from each other, it is casual dress that most of us choose to wear. Formal attire expresses a wish to be seen as serious people.

There is a saying that

Clothes maketh the man

but in the Zohar is a pithy comment

What does the fool see? The external; What does the wise person see? The person within

In the Sedra we read

וּבִגְדֵ֤י הַקֹּ֨דֶשׁ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר לְאַֽהֲרֹ֔ן יִֽהְי֥וּ לְבָנָ֖יו אַֽחֲרָ֑יו
The holy garments that are Aaron's shall be for his sons after him

Priests wore robes of office and were dynastic. Moses is seen as Moshe Rabbenu and there is no prophet like him. There was no official uniform for a prophet.


At the beginning of the Sedra we read

And you shall command the children of Israel, and they shall take to you pure olive oil, crushed for lighting, to kindle the lamps continually.

We, each of us, still have the power to bring light to the world.

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