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Parash 20 T’tsaveh (you shall command) Sh’mot/Exodus 27:20 – 30:10



Synopsis God tells Moshe to receive from the Children of Israel pure olive oil to feed the "everlasting flame" of the menorah, which Aaron is to kindle each day, "from evening till morning."

The priestly garments, to be worn by the  Kohanim (priests) while serving in the Sanctuary are described. All Kohanim wore: 1) the ketonet -- a full length linen tunic; 2) michnasayim -- linen breeches; 3) mitznefet or migba'at -- a linen turban;  4) avnet -- a long sash wound above the waist.

In addition, the Kohen Gadol ("high priest") wore: 5) the efod, an apron-like garment made of blue, purple and red-dyed wool, linen and gold thread; 6) the choshen, a breastplate containing  twelve precious stones inscribed with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel; 7) me'il -- a cloak of blue wool, with gold bells and decorative pomegranates on its hem; 8) the tzitz -- a golden plate worn on the forehead bearing the inscription "Holy to God".

Tetzaveh also includes God's detailed instructions for the seven-day initiation of Aaron and his four sons -- Nadav, Avihu, Elazar and Itamar -- into the priesthood, and for the making of the Golden Altar on which the ketoret ("incense") was burned.



Theme & Message – The focus of this portion of the Torah is the God who is holy.  The God of the Israelites is first and foremost holy. In order to worship Him and in order to draw near to Him we must be willing to follow His instructions without deviation, variation and without question.  The excellence of our Lord demands that we serve with excellence. The work of serving the King of Kings requires skill and wisdom. Not just any servant can serve inside the master’s house. Some servants work in the stables, some work in the fields, yet there are those who are skilled and trusted enough to work inside the house. There is no shame to be a servant of any kind in the master’s kingdom. However, the high honor of serving closest to the King is reserved for those who are willing to do the work preparing and sharpening their gifts and skills for the very hour they are called to serve inside the chambers of our King. The benefit of this obedience and high level of skill is to be able to be with our Lord and dwell with him intimately.   We can then be his priests, his representatives on this earth. We will be given knowledge, power and wisdom to minister to the people on His behalf.



H224  אוּרים 'ûrîym  BDB Definition: Urim = “lights”

1) stones kept in a pouch on the high-priest’s breastplate, used in determining God’s decision in certain questions and issues

Part of Speech: noun masculine

A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: plural of H217


H8550  תּמּים  tûmmîym BDB Definition: Thummim = “perfection”

1) stones provided for the means of achieving a sacred lot

1a) used with the Urim, the will of God was revealed

Part of Speech: noun proper masculine

A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: plural of H8537



TORAH LESSON – This portion of the Torah begins with the instructions regarding the lighting of the lampstand. The priests were to use pure olive oil. The light in the tabernacle was to burn morning to evening and never is allowed to go out. This was to be a statute forever. The priests, Aaron and his descendents, were to be sanctified, or set apart in every aspect of their lives. Even their garments were unique. The Lord tells Moses to speak to a specific group of people who were chosen by God to be filled with wisdom and skill to make the garments.  The word says the garments were made for glory and for beauty.

            The garments of the high priest were made in the same colors as used in the tabernacle curtains and veils. These were gold, blue, scarlet and purple and linen. The first piece made was the ephod, a type of belted vest. The shoulder straps were connected together on the top using clasps of gold that had settings to hold two onyx stones each engraved with the names of the sons of Israel.

                The breastplate was also woven of the same color fabric as the ephod, but attached to it were gold settings each holding gemstones representing the tribes of Israel. Each tribe was represented by a different color stone laid out on the breastplate in four rows of three stones each. The breastplate was secured on top by gold chains to the onyx clasps of the ephod. Blue cords tied the gold rings of the ephod and the breastplate together. The ephod contained an inside pocket, the pocket of judgment, in which was kept stones called the Urim and the Thummim.  Both names are rendered in the plural in the original Hebrew text. Urim means the lights. Thummim means the perfections. Thus Aaron bore the judgment of the sons of Israel upon his heart and before God continuously

            Beneath the ephod and the breastplate Aaron would wear a solid blue robe. The robe had a border around the neck to prevent it from being torn.  Around the hem were sewn an alternating border of gold bells and pomegranates. This garment provided a sound for those outside the holy place to listen for Aaron’s movements within.

            Aaron was to wear an engraved gold plate or crown tied to his forehead that read Holiness to Yehovah. This was so Aaron could bear the iniquities of the holy things which would be made holy by the gifts given by the Israelites. These gifts would be acceptable to God so long as this plate was worn by Aaron before the Lord.

            Under these other garments was a robe of fine linen. All of the priests would wear similar robes tied with woven sashes of blue, scarlet and purple. The priests would wear a headband of the same woven cloth

                After the proper garments were made, the priests had to be sanctified and the high priest had to be anointed. First, all the priests had to wash with water. Then the high priest had to don all of the special garments. His head was covered by the special turbin and the gold plate fixed to his head. The priests put on their linen robes and sashes. Their headbands were applied. The priests had to be sanctified by animal, bread, and wine sacrifices. All of the animals had to be without defects.

            Then a bull was brought forward and all the priests placed their hands on its head. The bull was sacrificed at the door of the tent of meeting and some of its blood was placed on the altar and the rest poured out at the base of the altar. Its flesh was burned as a sin offering outside the camp. A ram was sacrificed after the priests laid their hands on its head. The blood was placed on the altar. A second ram was sacrificed after the priests laid their hands on its head. This time the blood was placed on the right ear, the right thumb and the right great toe of each priest. Each priest was sprinkled with blood and anointing oil.

            Finally, the ram’s inner parts, fat, and the right thigh were waved before the Lord by Aaron. A loaf of bread, a cake with oil, and a wafer of matzah were waved. After the wave offering, the breads and the meats were burned as a sweet smelling aroma to the Lord. Aaron and his children were allowed to eat the meat and bread that were prepared for the sacrifice. No one from outside the priesthood could partake of this food.

            A daily sin offering of a bull was to be given every day. The altar was to be made holy by seven days of atonement offerings, cleaning and anointing. A lamb was offered with a bread offering and wine every morning and every evening. This was to be done daily forever. Once the altar was sanctified, it became holy and anything that touched the altar was also made holy.

            The last piece of inside furniture to be built was the incense altar. It was built of acacia wood and covered in gold. This altar was to be kept in the holy place outside the holy of holies. The incense was to be burned every morning and every evening when the lampstand was checked. Strict instructions were made that no other sacrifice other than the incense could be burned on this altar. Atonement could be made on the horns of this altar only once per year by the high priest.




And there I will meet with the sons of Israel, and Israel shall be sanctified by My glory.

And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar. I will also sanctify both Aaron and his sons to minister to Me in the priest's office. And I will dwell among the sons of Israel, and will be their God. Exodus 29:43-45

Gold Nuggets

Exo 28:1  "Bring Aharon your brother, and his sons with him, near to you from among the children of Yisra'el, that he may minister to me in the Kohen's office, even Aharon, Nadav and Avihu, El`azar and Itamar, Aharon's sons.

Why are these names there and why are they in that order?

H175  אהרון  'ahărôn  BDB Definition: Aaron = “light bringer”

H5070  נדב  nâdâb BDB Definition: Nadab = “generous”

H30 אביהוּא  'ăbîyhû' BDB Definition: Abihu = “he is (my) father”

H499  אלעזר  'el‛âzâr BDB Definition: Eleazar = “God has helped”

H385 איתמר  'îythâmâr BDB Definition: Ithamar = “coast of palms”


The Light bringer is generous. He is my Father. For my God has helped the coast of the palms.


Exo 28:17 - Four rows of stones - With a name on each stone, making in all the twelve names of the twelve tribes. And as these were disposed according to their birth, Exo_28:10, we may suppose they stood in this order, the stones being placed also in the order in which they are produced, Exo_28:17-20 :-


Four Rows of Stones

First Row

Sons of Leah

Sardius or Ruby









Second Row










Third Row

Sons of Bilhah, Rachael’s maid

Ligure or Jacinth






Son of Zilpah, Leah’s maid




Fourth Row

Beryl or Crysolite



Sons of Rachel

Onyx, or Sardonyx







In this order the Jews in general agree to place them. See the Jerusalem Targum on this place, and the Targum upon Son_5:14; and see also Ainsworth. The Targum of Jonathan says, “These four rows were placed opposite to the four quarters of the world; but this could only be when laid down horizontally, for when it hung on the breast of the high priest it could have had no such position. As it is difficult to ascertain in every case what these precious stones were, it may be necessary to consider this subject more at large.

1.    A Sardius,  מדם  ,su  odem, from the root adam, he was ruddy; the ruby, a beautiful gem of a fine deep red color. The sardius, or sardie stones, is defined to be a precious stone of a blood-red color, the best of which come from Babylon.

2.   A Topaz, פטדה  pitdah, a precious stone of a pale dead green, with a mixture of yellow, sometimes of a fine yellow; and hence it was called chrysolite by the ancients, from its gold color. It is now considered by mineralogists as a variety of the sapphire.

3.   Carbuncle, ברקת  bareketh, from ברק  barak, to lighten, glitter, or glister; a very elegant gem of a deep red color, with an admixture of scarlet. From its bright lively color it had the name carbunculus, which signifies a little coal; and among the Greeks ανθραξ anthrax, a coal, because when held before the sun it appears like a piece of bright burning charcoal. It is found only in the East Indies, and there but rarely.

4.   Emerald, נפך  nophech, the same with the ancient smaragdus; it is one of the most beautiful of all the gems, and is of a bright green color, without any other mixture. The true oriental emerald is very scarce, and is only found at present in the kingdom of Cambay.

5.   Sapphire, ספיר  sappir. See this described, Exo_24:10.

6.   Diamond, יהלם  yahalom, from הלם  halam, to beat or smite upon. The diamond is supposed to have this name from its resistance to a blow, for the ancients have assured us that if it be struck with a hammer, upon an anvil, it will not break, but either break them or sink into the surface of that which is softest. This is a complete fable, as it is well known that the diamond can be easily broken, and is capable of being entirely volatilized or consumed by the action of fire. It is, however, the hardest, as it is the most valuable, of all the precious stones hitherto discovered, and one of the most combustible substances in nature.

7.   Ligure, לשם  leshem, the same as the jacinth or hyacinth; a precious stone of a dead red or cinnamon color, with a considerable mixture of yellow.

8.   Agate, שבו  shebo. This is a stone that assumes such a variety of hues and appearances, that Mr. Parkhurst thinks it derives its name from the root שב  shab, to turn, to change, “as from the circumstance of the agate changing its appearance without end, it might be called the varier.” Agates are met with so variously figured in their substance, that they seem to represent the sky, the stars, clouds, earth, water, rocks, villages, fortifications, birds, trees, flowers, men, and animals of different kinds. Agates have a white, reddish, yellowish, or greenish ground. They are only varieties of the flint, and the lowest in value of all the precious stones.

9.   Amethyst, אחלמה  achlamah, a gem generally of a purple color, composed of a strong blue and deep red. The oriental amethyst is sometimes of a dove color, though some are purple, and others white like diamonds. The name amethyst is Greek, αμεθυστος, and it was so called because it was supposed that it prevented inebriation.

10. The Beryl, תרשיש  tarshish. Mr. Parkhurst derives this name from תר  tar, to go round, and שש  shash, to be vivid or bright in color. If the beryl be intended, it is a pellucid gem of a bluish green color, found in the East Indies, and about the gold mines of Peru. But some of the most learned mineralogists and critics suppose the chrysolite to be meant. This is a gem of a yellowish green color, and ranks at present among the topazes. Its name in Greek, chrysolite, χρυσολιθος, literally signifies the golden stone.

11. The Onyx, שהם  shoham. See Clarke’s note on Gen_2:12; See Clarke’s note on Exo_25:7. There are a great number of different sentiments on the meaning of the original; it has been translated beryl, emerald, prasius, sapphire, sardius, ruby, cornelian, onyx, and sardonyx. It is likely that the name may signify both the onyx and sardonyx. This latter stone is a mixture of the chalcedony and cornelian, sometimes in strata, at other times blended together, and is found striped with white and red strata or layers. It is generally allowed that there is no real difference, except in the degree of hardness, between the onyx, cornelian, chalcedony, sardonyx, and agate. It is well known that the onyx is of a darkish horny color, resembling the hoof or nail, from which circumstance it has its name. It has often a plate of a bluish white or red in it, and when on one or both sides of this white there appears a plate of a reddish color, the jewelers, says Woodward, call the stone a sardonyx.

12.       Jasper, ישפה  yashepheh. The similarity of the Hebrew name has determined most critics and mineralogists to adopt the jasper as intended by the original word. The jasper is usually defined a hard stone, of a beautiful bright green color, sometimes clouded with white, and spotted with red or yellow. Mineralogists reckon not less than fifteen varieties of this stone: 1. green; 2. red; 3. yellow; 4. brown; 5. violet; 6. black; 7. bluish grey; 8. milky white; 9. variegated with green, red, and yellow clouds; 10. green with red specks; 11. veined with various colors, apparently in the form of letters; 12. with variously coloured zones; 13. with various colors mixed without any order; 14. with many colors together; 15. mixed with particles of agate. It can scarcely be called a precious stone; it is rather a dull opaque rock.




Only a loving God would be so understanding and caring to give us so much help to do things he wishes for us to do. Our Lord deeply wants us to succeed in our walk. God called His people the children of Israel. This is a fitting name. He always knew that we, like children, would need reminders and helpful teachings in order to keep His commandments and to fulfill His purposes in our lives (1Cor 14:33)(2Tim 3:16). Therefore, He, in His wisdom and love, has given us the scriptures and the entire account of His plan of salvation from the very beginning and even to its fulfillment. (Heb 5:13-14).

The foreshadows of Messiah and of the believers of today are beautifully represented in the account of the first priests of God on the earth preparing to minister in a tiny replica of the temple of God that exists in Heaven. First, among the families of Israel, God revealed that the tribe of Levi would take on the role of priests. We have learned in other lessons that the Lord also revealed that through this ministry, He would teach all of Israel His ways and make them all a nation of priest that could minister to the people of the world. In the Brit Hadasha, we are taught that those have been saved have been made into a nation of holy priests (Kefa Aleph/1Pet2:9). Even those who are from the Goyim, the nations, can become honorary citizens of Israel (Eph 2:19) and partake of this ministry if they are grafted in by loving Yeshua (Rom 11:17). 

The preparation for becoming a priest is essential. All believers are washed in the blood of Messiah to cleanse us from our sins (Heb 9:22)(Rev 1:5). In the prayer, each of us accepts Yeshua as the Lord of our life and submits to His authority (Mat 28:18). We choose to enter into His service. We then become baptized, cleansed in the water (Mar 16:16)(Luke 3:21) (Acts 2:38)(Mat 29:19). As we rise up from beneath the water, we rise up to our new life in Messiah’s service and a new life of cleanliness (Eph 5:26). Once we have been properly cleansed, we must wear the proper attire of the priest (Eph 4:24)(Eph 6:14. ) No one can enter the chambers of the King unless he or she is appropriately dressed.(Mat 22:11-14)(2Titus 4:8) Others cannot recognize the King’s servant unless he or she is wearing the proper uniform.(Rev7:13-14)(Rev 19:8,14))  therefore we need to be wearing white linen robes to show that we have been cleansed of our sins. We need to bear our testimony of how Yeshua from Heaven (blue) has touched our old life of sin (scarlet) and made us into a figure of royalty (purple) in God’s courts. We wear the robe of righteousness sashed with the royal colors of blue, scarlet and purple..

Within the priesthood there is an order of things as our Lord is a God of order. Different family groups among the Levites were assigned different tasks within the tabernacle itself and within the ministry. Even as Yeshua walked in His ministry on the earth, he made a point of discussing the roles the disciples had been given (Mat 16:18)(Mar 3:13-14) (Mar 3:17). Clearly they were not all the same job (Gal 2:8). The Kohen family was the family of the high priest whose job it was to actually operate the holy things inside the tabernacle (the lampstand, the showbread table, the incense altar and the ark of the covenant). They would also take care of all the offerings and the sacrifices. The Word teaches us that these holy instruments of the tabernacle now dwell inside of each believer (1Cor 3:16-17). Yeshua taught that those who followed Him would need to be the ones who carried the light to the world (Mat 5:16). We would need to be the salt and the oil to minister to the people (1Cor 7:14). The Word teaches us that we are each given gifts  (1Cor 12:4-11) and different callings that we must use to complete the plan of God while we live on this earth (Eph 4:11-12). Yeshua demonstrated (John 13:15-17) that by denying the self as a sacrifice and submitting ourselves to the plan of God others would be saved (1Cor 6:19). Finally, there is a high priest, anointed of God who is the leader who bears the responsibility of those under him. (Heb 5:4) He intercedes for all others. He makes sure that God’s instructions are followed. He is given direction and knowledge of how to proceed should anything unusual occur. He is the one who bears the burden of sin and intercession for the entire nation..

Yeshua is our high priest. Yeshua is the Anointed one of God.(Luke 4:18) (Mar 14:8) (Luk 7:38) He is the Son, of God, the very Holiest of all. In the previous lesson, we learned that Yeshua even wore a crown of thorns, a scarlet robe and a purple robe (His body contained the necessary blue because he had come down from Heaven, the source of the blue for holiness). Before He began His ministry, He was baptized in the Jordan by John (Mat 3:16).  He, of course, had the Urim and the Thummim. He was perfection and light and He spoke openly of how He had long carried the burden judgment of the people next to His heart and before His Father in Heaven. Yeshua was given the power to judge over the people (John 5:26-27) He has already interceded for us and will continue to do so (Heb 7:25).  He will stand before God with us on judgment day so that we do not need to bear that moment alone (Mat 10:32). The end of Yeshua’s life embodied the prescribed offerings of sin exactly. Even the bread and wine were shared at the Pesach of Messiah’s last meal. Even at his execution, there was wine and incense offered (Mar 15:23). Yeshua became the final sin offering who was sacrificed outside the walls of Jerusalem to follow the prescribed Torah (Heb 13:12-13)(Mat 27:31-33). His blood was poured out for all (Mar 14:24). Yeshua became the offering of bread and wine for our sakes to again follow exactly the torah.(John 6:55) The scriptures tell us that He was the perfect Lamb of God without any defect. He alone followed the Torah perfectly as He lived on earth. We, who accept Him as our Messiah, have been sprinkled with His blood and sanctified by Him.


TODAY’S TEMPLE  Hebrews 1-:11-22 and  Rev 20:2-6  The tabernacle was  the instrument or tool that God used to introduce the world to the nature of holiness and to illustrate to man the far distance we had fallen from Him.  The light of the tabernacle and the priests that God established are still holding the line between sin/death and righteousness/life. The believers today represent the sanctified tabernacle and we have become the priests who minister there. This ministry will continue until the agent of sin, Ha Satan and his minions and followers are forever banished by Yeshua into the eternal flames. Then, in perfect fellowship we will dwell with our Lord. There fore we must always have skilled knowledgeable ministers of righteousness through the word of God. There must always be those who wear the recognizable garments of the Lord’s priests so that the people can know where to turn for help. There must continue to be those who hold back the darkness with the light of God. We must always have priests in training. Remember, there will continue, until the end of this earth, to be people seeking and needing to be washed clean. Those people will continue to require ministering and teaching from the words of wisdom and knowledge left for us to read and to keep, written by the hand of God on our hearts.



As today’s Talmidim/disciples of Yeshua/Jesus we are to diligently study the Word so that we can skillfully take on the role of priest. We must recognize that the holy ministry as liaison between God and man is essential to God’s plan to save the earth. God does not require anyone’s help, but we are simply the instruments God has chosen to use.  



Even from Yeshua the faithful Witness, the First-born from the dead and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and made us kings and priests to God and His Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Revelation 1:5-6  



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