Linking the Generations - T'tzaveh (Exodus 27:20−30:10)
T'tzaveh - [You] Shall Further Instruct
You shall further instruct the Israelites …
The Mishkan - or the holy sanctuary – is once again at the center of our Parasha this week. We continue to read of the details the Israelites are to follow to make this very important home for our laws - so that God "may dwell amongst them.”
We continue this week with more stipulations about this sanctuary but are further instructed on the sons of Aaron, the priests who will attend to this sanctuary and its workings. We are also instructed as to the eternal lamp that we see in almost every synagogue we may visit.
When speaking to our students last week, we spoke first about the way the Torah – or God’s words – can be a part of them and be spoken by them as a way to "house” the spirit of God. This week we returned to a more literal Mishkan to ask a question about focus and respect. I asked why they thought there was a need for so many specific rules and methods in their lives – whether it be at school or at home. The answers were about how these things help us focus on the task at hand, take things seriously, and how they also keep us safe. And so when entering a sanctuary – like when entering a school – having such guidance can really help us focus on our tasks and lends it a little respect.
Then we discussed what that really looks like in a synagogue or sanctuary. What are the tasks at hand. We focused on this one moment in the Parasha when God expands on his desire to "dwell among” the Israelites. God tells Moses – in the midst of all of these details about the Mishkan – "For there I will meet with you, and there I will speak with you. And there I will meet with the Israelites.”
We rarely think about prayer or our visits to a synagogue as a time to meet with and speak with God. I asked them to think for a moment about what they would say in such a personal meeting. What would they ask? What would they want to say? Some of the responses were profound. Some were of praise for a job well done. Some were about needing some help. And some were about the need to stop bad things in the world – like what had just happened in Florida. I asked them to hold on to that idea and those questions and think of their time in a sanctuary – the modern Mishkan – as a time they can always have that meeting with God and ask those very important questions.
Additional Torah Study Resources:
ReformJudaism.org Torah Study /
T’tzaveh for Tots / T’tzaveh for Tweens / Leading a Family Torah Discussion