Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the Chabad.org website. We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given. For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website. If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the Chabad.org website.
The Golden Calf in the Middle of the Tabernacle
“Okay, Hebrews. Build Me a Tabernacle, and put into it an ark, menorah, altars, skins, vessels. Those who serve there should wear such-and-such clothes, and the high priest must have his own unique eight-part wardrobe.”
That, in a nutshell, is the summary of the two Torah portions of Terumah and Tetzaveh.
Following them come the next set of two portions, Vayakhel and Pekudei, which relate how the Jews followed the commandments and prepared the Temple for G‑d. Perfect.
If only things made so much sense. Alas, we have a problem.
Prophet and Priest
The sedra of Tetzaveh, as commentators have noted, has one unusual feature: it is the only sedra from the beginning of Shemot to the end of Bamidbar that does not contain the name of Moses. Several interpretations have been offered:
The Vilna Gaon suggests that it is related to the fact that in most years it is read during the week in which the seventh of Adar falls, the day of Moses’ death. During this week we sense the loss of the greatest leader in Jewish history -- and his absence from Tetzaveh expresses that loss.
The Portable Torah
In this week’s Torah portion, the Jews are commanded to erect a Tabernacle wherein G‑d’s presence will rest. In its inner sanctum, the Holy of Holies, would rest the tablets of the covenant, ensconced in the holy ark. Moses was commanded to plate the wooden ark with pure gold, and to attach four golden rings to its corners. G‑d then directed Moses: