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Simcha Groffman

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Parashas Tetzaveh

For Glory and Splendor

"Shalom Chaim! How was school today?"

"Fantastic, Abba! We learned the parashas ha'shavuah and have a homework assignment about the Bigdei Kehuna (priestly garments)."

"That is a very important and relevant subject, Chaim."

"Relevant? In what way, Abba? How does the clothing that the Kohanim wore while performing the avodah in the Beis HaMikdash over 2000 years ago, affect our lives today?"

"Let us look into the subject Chaim, and we will see. The fourth verse in the parasha states, 'You (Moshe) shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and splendor' (Shemos 28:2)."

"This needs some explanation, Abba. The Torah praises the middah of humility. We are not supposed to look for glory and splendor. How is it that the Kohen Godol, a very holy person, wore clothing whose purpose was apparently the opposite of humility?"

"Excellent question, Chaim. To answer that question, we have to look a little more deeply into the meaning of glory and splendor. The Ramban illuminates this subject with an extensive explanation. The first point is to understand is that the Bigdei Kehuna were dignified. They were the type of clothing worn by kings in the times of the Torah. He cites several examples: the robe, the crown, and the breastplate were all royal garb."

"There can be no person more dignified than a leader of Klal Yisrael."

"Precisely, Chaim. That dignity, glory, and splendor that he personifies are not his, rather Hashem's. He is the Almighty's representative in this world; therefore, he must exemplify his Master's qualities. Aharon HaKohen performed the Divine service in the Mishkan - the place where the Shechina (Divine Presence) rested. His clothing had to reflect the honor and the splendor of the holy place and its sanctified service. The structure and kelim (vessels) of the Mishkan and its successor the Beis HaMikdash were magnificent, as was appropriate for the Shechina. Therefore, the Kohen Godol, the leader of the service, had to garb himself in the same splendor."

"I see, Abba. The honor of the Bigdei Kehuna were not for the Kohen, rather they were for Hashem. Now, what about the other question, Abba. How are they relevant to today?"

"We do not have the Beis HaMikdash, the Divine Service, nor the Kohen Godol in our days, Chaim; therefore we do not have the Bigdei Kehuna. However, we do serve Hashem in our own way. We go to the Beis HaKinesses three times a day to pray. We sit in the Beis HaMedrash and learn Hashem's holy Torah. We serve Hashem with all of our actions; our walking, eating, working, and speech are all li'shaim shomayim (for the sake of Heaven). We try to make a Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of the Holy Name) in all of our deeds. Why? Because we are the Almighty's spokesmen in this world. We are His chosen nation. Therefore, we must dress appropriately to fit our exalted status. Our garb must also be for glory and splendor, befitting the representatives of the King of kings, the Holy One Blessed be He."

"Are you speaking about dressing tsnuah, Abba?"

"Yes, Chaim. This is an obligation upon men as well as women. It is much more than just a combination of rules of dress. It is an outward expression of ones inner self. It is showing the world, Hashem, and ourselves that we are people with dignity and self-respect. We are not drawn mindlessly after the latest fashion trends. Rather, we dress in the timeless style of clothes that reflect the holiness of the soul, and do not draw attention to the physical. A tsnuah person is recognized as the paragon of noble humility, a servant of the Almighty in all of his ways."

"What a great honor, Abba!"

"Yes, Chaim. It is indeed a unique privilege to wear the royal garb of Hashem's holy nation."

Kinderlach . . .

What do our clothes say? They say who we are - how we present ourselves. Who are we? A kingdom of priests and a holy nation. We are Hashem's chosen people, who strive to serve Him. Just as the Kohanim wore special garments for their avodah (service), so too we dress apart from the other nations of the world. We are Hashem's holy servants and we dress as such. Kinderlach, recognize your exalted status, and dress appropriately.

Planned Obsolescence

"It is a real privilege to be your guest Mr. Shearim. Thank you for granting me this interview."

"The pleasure is all mine, young man. Ask whatever questions you like."

"Our school class wants to know how you became wealthy, Mr. Shearim."

"That's simple, young man. I developed a product and sold it to people."

"Many people do that, Mr. Shearim. However, they do not become multi-billionaires like you."

"Correct, young man. I kept changing my product, making the old one obsolete. People constantly came back to me for a new update of the product. I kept making sale after sale to the same people. That's my secret. I make customers dependent on me. If you make them independent, you'll never see them or their money again."

"Take pure pressed olive oil, for light, to keep the lamp (Menorah in the Mishkan) always lit" (Shemos 27:20). The Gemora (Shabbos 21a) comments that the flame must burn by itself, without any outside assistance. We all know that the light of the Menorah symbolized Torah. Rav Shimshon Refael Hirsch explains the wick is like a student of Torah, and the fire that lights the wick is like a teacher. The fire must light the wick and make it burn independently. Similarly, the teacher's goal is to make the student able to learn Torah on his own. The teacher must make himself obsolete! Then his student will burn brightly with the fire of Torah.

Kinderlach . . .

The wealthy man made his riches by making people dependent upon him. His goal is to take, take, and take from them. The more he takes, the wealthier he becomes. The Rebbe who teaches Torah is just the opposite. His goal is to give, give, and give Torah knowledge to his students. The more he gives, the wealthier he becomes. Who is really richer? Money comes and goes. Even the money that stays does not go into the next world. Torah is always with us. And. It is worth much more than money. Learn well, kinderlach, in order to teach. Then give, give, and give Torah. You will become wealthy beyond your wildest dreams.

Parasha Questions:

Where did Moshe Rabbeinu put the blood from the korbonos of the Kohanim (29:20,21)

From where did Hashem speak to Moshe Rabbeinu? (Rashi 29:42)

When did Aharon place the ketores on the mizbeach haketores? (30:8 and Rashi)

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