Parasha Inspiration – Tetzaveh

This week’s portion discusses one of the greatest events that take place for the children of Israel before they enter the land of the promise, the Miluim. The Miluim is the installation and ordination of the Kohayns. This ceremony marks the beginning of Judaic practice that is been passed down or thousands of years until today. Since the 2nd temple was destroyed, the Kohayns can not physically do the duties which were inaugurated with the Miluim, but these duties are commemorated with the daily prayer services, the Ma’ariv, the Shacharit, the Mussaf, and the Mincha.

            What Hashem accomplishes with the Miluim, is a separation of roles within Judaism. The Kohayns are consecrated, made holy, separated for a role that is different from the rest of Israel. The ceremony lasts 7 days before the tent of meeting, and the first day of actual service in the Mishkan, a total of 8 days. Once the ceremony is accomplished, the Kohayns role is identified, not only before Hashem, but before Israel. The Kohayns are now responsible for fulfilling a role for Hashem, and also for the children of Israel as a whole, their duties, first and foremost, involve making certain that the national offerings of Israel are guarded and protected.

            “You will be a kingdom of Kohayns.” Until the Miluim, it is difficult to understand precisely what this means. With the Miluim, the role and duties of the Kohayns are affixed and the separateness of the Kohayns is apparent. As the Kohayns are to Israel, Israel is to the nations. Just as the Kohayns have a special role, special duties, Israel has a special role, and special duties. It is important to note that the Kohayns are by no means elevated above Israel. Rather, the Kohayns have a role that is different, just as Israel has a role among the nations that is different.

            The root of the term Miluim is the word malei, which means full. During the ceremony, the hands of Aaron and his sons are filled with oil bread, matzah, and the meat of the sacrifice. There is a tremendous amount of symbolism here, but the main idea is that the Kohayns are filled. And what are they filled with? Responsibility. In their new role amongst the children of Israel, the Kohayns have a responsibility that they must uphold. Now we see the true meaning of the “Kingdom of Kohayns”. It is about responsibility, Israel’s responsibility to the world. If you are born of Israel, you have this responsibility. If you are grafted onto Israel, you have the responsibility to support Israel. Otherwise, what does grafted into Israel mean? So, whether you are born to the obligation to fulfill Israel’s role, or you have the obligation to support Israel and its fulfillment of the role, be aware of your role. This is the real meaning behind the great commission in Matthew 28. Yeshua was telling us that this is our role amongst the nations.


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Rabbi Steven Bernstein

Steve was born on Lag B’Omer in Ann Arbor, MI but was raised in Gainesville, FL. The son of two University of Florida professors, he excelled in the sciences in school. In addition to his normal academic studies, he pursued his Jewish education studying with many Rabbis and professors of Judaic Studies from the University including visiting Rabbis such as Abraham Joshua Heschel and Shlomo Carlebach.