This week in 5th grade we examined this week’s Parasha called Titzaveh which means “you will command”. In this Parasha we read about the special Olive oil that was used for the lighting of the Menorah in the Mishkan (the building that we talked about last week) and the clothes that the Kohanim were to wear for their work in the Mishkan. The Kohen haGadol (the head Kohen) was to wear garments that even set him apart from the other Kohanim. He had a special coat with bells at the bottom, a special headband on his hat and a breastplate that had all the names of the tribes of Israel written on precious stones.
The question that we asked was why did he need the names on the breastplate?
For answers we read two historical documents.
One by Rashi, our most familiar parshan who lived in France about 1000 years ago, he said that the names of the tribes of Israel were put close to Aharon’s heart because he was known to have a good heart. When Moshe came back to Egypt and said G-d has sent me on a mission, Aharon was not jealous, he was ready to help and his reward for this was to become the one who could give special blessings to all the of people of Israel.
Our second opinion came from Ovadaya Seforno who lived in Italy about 500 years ago (500 years after Rashi). He said that having all of the names on the breastplate, helped Aharon to remember that when he prayed and worked in the Temple he was representing all of the people, not just himself and his family.
It is also said of Aharon that he had a special gift for making peace between people when they had disagreements. We should all strive to be like Aharon and try to bring peace to our corner of the world and to remember that in every endeavor, we are representing our people.
Morah Donna and Morah Yiska