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.
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:
Help the Poor Body!
“If you see your enemy’s donkey (chamor) lying under its load, you might want to refrain from helping him; [however], you must surely help with him.” (Exodus 23:5)
Before Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, known as the Alter Rebbe, became the first leader of Chabad, he once traveled to raise money for an important charitable cause. He came to the home of a wealthy man who, sensing that he was not one of the ordinary charity collectors, offered to have him stay and teach his children in return for the entire sum he hoped to raise.
After a short stay, he informed his host that he was leaving because he could not tolerate the conduct of the people of the city. His host asked him what he meant, and Rabbi Schneur Zalman replied, “You torture the poor.”