Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Shemos – Tetzaveh 27:20-30:10

Spend any time talking with me about places to live and you’ll find out I dislike Las Vegas. Aside from preferring a cooler climate, I detest gambling. This could be why creating emotional intimacy challenges me. Parsha Tetzaveh, will explain:

“And you will command the Children of Israel . . .” (Shemos/Exodus 27:20).

Intimacy Requires Investing Your Essence

This Sabbath’s parsha explains the mitzvah of the Ner Tamid (continually lit lamp), how to make the vestments for the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) and the Kohanim, and how to inaugurate them, the mitzvah of the korban tamid (continual offering), and how to build and use the incense alter, the Holy of Holies.

If you read the parsha carefully you will notice that something is missing. Since the first parsha in Exodus in which he was born, Parshas Tetzaveh is the only one to omit Moses’s name. In the opening line above the “you” is Moses. Unlike the usual way G-d speaks, “And G-d spoke to Moses saying . . .” this week’s parsha refers to him only as you. Why is his name excluded?

One opinion is that 7 Adar, the anniversary of Moses’s death, almost always falls during the week of Tetzaveh. So his name being missing is a fitting memorial for the loss of the greatest prophet of all time. Also, during the Golden Calf incident when Moses pled to G-d to spare the Israelites, he told G-d if He destroys them He should erase his name from the Torah. The Almighty forgives the people, but the words of a great sage are eternal. Thus G-d removed Moses’s name from Parshas Tetzaveh in fulfillment of his plea.

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Shakespeare said, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” The Immortal Bard echoed thoughts developed by the Chassidic masters. They noted a name is not for an individual but for others who wish to call to a person. Your name is external, secondary to your inner essence. While your parents chose a name that expressed hope for who you would become, still this represents their goal for you rather than who you really are.

So when G-d declines to call Moses by his name, He is acknowledging Moses risked his very essence in defense of the Israelites. Pleased, G-d speaks to him in the more intimate, second person “you” form, representing Moses’s neshamah, his soul.

Only by risking your essence will you create truly emotionally intimate relationships.

Can spiritual growth happen without intimate relationships?

You can leave a comment on this question or ask another question below↓
Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. Its name comes from the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.
Do you have a question about the Old Testament? Ask it here and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!

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