Parshas Tetzaveh continues the discussion of the construction of the Mishkan, with the details of the clothing of the Kohanim. The Kohanim were, and will be, our messengers to Hashem through which we bring korbanos and conduct services in the Mishkan and the Beis Hamikdash. Therefore, their outfits also needed to be specifically tailored, in more ways than one, to their roles as well. Like we said last week, every detail in the Mishkan’s construction had a special significance attached to it.
However, that is not what I want to speak about. Instead, I’d like to focus on the interesting language found at the beginning of the parshah. The parshah begins, “וְאַתָּה תְּצַוֶּה | אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ שֶׁמֶן זַיִת זָךְ” “And you shall command the Children of Israel, and they shall take to you pure olive oil” (Shemos 27:20). Why does the pasuk say specifically that Bnei Yisrael should bring the oil to Moshe, whom else were they going to bring it to? The Ramban explains that Moshe needed to make sure that the oil was as pure as it was needed to be. Was there was no one in the entire nation that was qualified enough to check the oil except for Moshe?
Two pesukim later, the same idea is repeated: “וְאַתָּה הַקְרֵב אֵלֶיךָ אֶת אַהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ וְאֶת בָּנָיו אִתּוֹ … לְכַהֲנוֹ לִי” “And you bring near to yourself your brother Aharon, and his sons with him…to serve Me as Kohanim” (28:1). Again, why does the pasuk say that Moshe should bring Aharon directly to him? Where else was he going to go?
Until the time Moshe became the leader of Bnei Yisrael, Aharon had been acting as their leader in Mitzrayim. When Hashem spoke to Moshe by the Burning Bush, Moshe tried to convince Hashem to keep Aharon as the leader since Moshe felt his brother deserved the honor. Hashem tells Moshe that not only was Moshe going to be the leader, but that Aharon was extremely happy for his brother, and eager to help him in any way he could. However, because Moshe delayed taking the position, Hashem gave Aharon and his sons the position of Kohanim instead of Moshe.
Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz in his sefer, Sichos Mussar, explains that this was more than sibling love; with each other’s accomplishments, Moshe and Aharon felt as if they themselves were benefiting as well. They each cared so much for the other that the success, happiness, or pain of the other hit them as if it was happening to themselves. He uses this idea to explain our pesukim.
During the dedication ceremony for the Mishkan, a representative of each tribe brought a series of gifts and korbanos, except for Shevet Levi. Aharon, the Nasi of the Levi, was upset that his tribe was unable to participate in the dedication. Hashem informed him that he was being given the mitzvah of lighting the Menorah every day, which was even greater than any gift the other tribes were bringing.
The oil mentioned at the beginning of the parshah is the oil that would be used for lighting the Menorah. When Hashem told Moshe that people were to bring the oil directly to him, He was giving him the gift that was going to make both him and Aharon feel better! Even though it was Aharon that felt left out of the ceremony, Moshe felt his pain so much that receiving the oil, even though it was not his personal mitzvah, made him happy. The fact that it was given to Moshe and not Aharon did not make a difference, Moshe was just as happy as Aharon for receiving this oil!
The same thing is true in the later pasuk. Even though Moshe missed out on the Kehunah, he was still thrilled for Aharon that he received it instead. So when Hashem tells Moshe to bring Aharon to him to receive the Kehunah, Moshe was receiving so much pleasure from it! By making Aharon the Kohen, it was the same to Moshe as if he had become the Kohen himself! Therefore, the pasuk says to Moshe to bring Aharon and his sons to him, it means that this is being done for him.
Since his brother Aharon will benefit from the Kehunah and the oil, Moshe will receive so much joy, even though they are not intended for his personal use.
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