Tetsaveh (Exodus 27:20 – 30:10), Shabbat Zachor (Deut. 25:17-19)


This Sabbath is Shabbat Zachor (“Remember!”), the second of the 4 special Sabbaths before Passover having a second scroll reading.  This time, the reading instructs us to remember Amalek, who perpetrated a sneak attack on the weak rear guard of the Israelites.  For more, see http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Jewish_Holidays/Purim/In_the_Community/Special_Sabbaths/Remembering_Amalek.shtml by Rabbi “Yitz” Greenberg.  Shabbat Zachor occurs right before Purim, which starts this coming Wednesday night, Haman is traditionally understood to be a descendant of Amalek and Mordechai, a descendant of Saul.  The special haftarah, Samuel 15:1-34 (Ashkenazim begin at 15:2 for some reason), concerns Saul’s inability to carry out the Lord’s command to destroy the Amalekites including their king, Agag.  It’s very dramatic (e.g., when Saul pulls on Samuel’s robe, begging the prophet to return with him, the robe tears and Samuel says, “The Lord has this day torn the kingship over Israel away from you and has given it to another who is worthier than you.” (15:28), and I think my daughter enjoyed chanting the Haftarah more than the Torah portion, at least more than the aliyah with the twelve gemstones.  

The main Torah portion includes instructions for Moses (the “you” – his name isn’t mentioned) concerning the menorah; the duties, vestments, and ordination procedures for the priests; and the altar for burning incense.  Again, these are just the instructions; we’ll read about their being carried out in a few weeks.  The garments for the priests (Aaron’s sons) include fringed linen tunics, linen headdresses (turbans?), embroidered sashes, and, for modesty and decorum, linen
breeches.   As High Priest, Aaron has additional vestments: a breastplate, an ephod, and a robe.  The breastplate is to include 12 gemstones representing the 12 tribes, with the name of each tribe carved on a gemstone.  Here is a definition of “ephod” I included here last year: “A definition of ephod: ‘n. A part of the sacerdotal habit among Jews, being a covering for the back and breast, held together on the shoulders by two clasps or brooches of onyx stones set in gold, and fastened by a girdle of the same stuff as the ephod. The ephod for the priests was of plain linen; that for the High Priest was richly embroidered in colors. The breastplate of the High Priest was worn upon the ephod in front.’ Source: http://www.lexic.us/definition-of/ephod ,” which also has a link to lots of pictures related to the vestments.  The robe is to be blue and have on its hem alternating golden bells and “pomegranates” (pom-poms) of blue, purple, and crimson yarn. The bells were my daughter’s favorite part of the uniform.  


[Source for the following paragraph’s content: A Daily Dose of Torah, Y. A. Weiss general editor] Why does the High Priest have such elaborate garments, aside from simply wowing those who look at him?  And they had to fit perfectly; according to the Gemara, a priest’s sacrificial service could be invalidated if his clothes were too long or short (Zevachim 35a).  According to Sefer HaChinuch (Mitzvah, section 99), the vestments constantly remind the priest of his mission and contribute to the aura of holiness in the Tabernacle. The Maharal of Prague (apparently one of my ancestors) further noted that the Hebrew words for “heavy” and “honor” have the same root.  Presumably, the substance (weightiness) of the vestments symbolized the degree of honor accorded the priest.

I’m part of a Facebook group set up for my high school class.  A recent discussion concerned when we were first allowed to were slacks (not jeans) to school. It was the middle of junior year.  By graduation, slacks had become the new “normal” to the extent that it was actually a shock to see everyone in dresses (white dresses, not cap and gown).  When I was a child, on Fridays, I wore a dress to school, play clothes afterwards, and a slightly dressier dress for services.  The particular clothes worn clearly marked off segments of time.  Nowadays, casual clothing (even pajama bottoms instead of slacks) appears to be the rule, or the desire, everywhere and all the time.  This can be economical, but it also reinforces the regrettable tendency for time and corresponding identities to blur.  In my opinion, special times and places, like Shabbat synagogue services, deserve special clothing.    

Shabbat shalom,
Memory’s Going
(I’ve sent this one out before, but I still get a kick out of it.)

An eighty year old couple were having problems remembering things, so they decided to go to their doctor to make sure nothing was wrong with them. When they arrived at the doctor’s office, they explained to the doctor about the problems they were having with their memory.

After checking the couple out, the doctor told them that they were physically okay but might want to start writing things down, making notes to help them remember things. The couple thanked the doctor and left.

Later that night while watching TV, the old man got up from his chair and his wife asked, “Where are you going?”

He replied, “To the kitchen.”

She asked, “Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?”


Then his wife asked him, “Don’t you think you should write it down so you can remember it?”

“No, I can remember that.”

“Well, I also would like some strawberries on top. You had better write that down cause I know you’ll forget that,” his wife said.

“I can remember that, you want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries.”

She replied, “Well, I also would like whipped cream on top. I know you will forget that. You had better write it down.”

With irritation in his voice, he said, “I don’t need to write that down, I can remember that.” He went into the kitchen.

After about 20 minutes, he returned from the kitchen and handed her a plate of bacon and eggs.

She stared at the plate for a moment and said, “You forgot my toast.”
Jewish Light Bulb Jokes

How many Mossad agents does it take to change a light bulb?
Light bulb? There was no light bulb

How many Chabbadniks does it take to change a lightbulb?
None! It’s not dead!

Q: How many Hasidim does it take to change a light bulb?
A: What is a light bulb?
A: One, but it must have The Rebbe’s supervision.
A: None. Only goyim do such things.

Q: How many Orthodox Jews does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Change?
A: One to do it and two [minimum] to testify that it was properly changed.

Q: How many Conservative Jews does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None, call a committee meeting.
Military Jokes and Humor  –  Camouflage Uniform Wear Policies

MARINES: Work uniform, to be worn only during training and in field situations.

ARMY: Will wear it anytime, anywhere.

NAVY: Will not wear camouflage uniforms, they do not camouflage you on a ship. (Ship Captains will make every effort to attempt to explain this to sailors.)

AIR FORCE: Will defeat the purpose of camouflage uniforms by putting blue and silver chevrons and colorful squadron patches all over them.

Police Uniform?Sonya asks a man in uniform, ‘Are you a policeman?’

‘No, I am an undercover detective.’

‘So why are you in a policeman’s uniform?’ demands Sonya.

‘Today is my day off.’


Mrs. Johnson decided to have her own portrait painted by a very famous artist.
She told the artist, “Paint me with 3 carat diamond earrings, a 20 carat diamond necklace, glimmering emerald ring, and a beautiful red ruby brooch.”
“But ma’am, you are not wearing any of those things.”
“I know,” said Mrs. Johnson. “My health is not good and my husband is having an affair with his secretary. When I die I’m sure he will marry her, and I want the b*$#h to go nuts looking for the jewelry…”

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One Response to Tetsaveh (Exodus 27:20 – 30:10), Shabbat Zachor (Deut. 25:17-19)

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