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בס"ד

Erasing Myself From the Narrative

Parashat Tetzaveh

March 11, 2017/13 Adar 5777

Source Sheet by Rabbi Sari Laufer

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  1. (כ) וְאַתָּ֞ה תְּצַוֶּ֣ה ׀ אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל וְיִקְח֨וּ אֵלֶ֜יךָ שֶׁ֣מֶן זַ֥יִת זָ֛ךְ כָּתִ֖ית לַמָּא֑וֹר לְהַעֲלֹ֥ת נֵ֖ר תָּמִֽיד׃

    (20) You shall further instruct the Israelites to bring you clear oil of beaten olives for lighting, for kindling lamps regularly.

  2. You, yourself

  3. (א) וְאַתָּ֡ה הַקְרֵ֣ב אֵלֶיךָ֩ אֶת־אַהֲרֹ֨ן אָחִ֜יךָ וְאֶת־בָּנָ֣יו אִתּ֔וֹ מִתּ֛וֹךְ בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לְכַהֲנוֹ־לִ֑י אַהֲרֹ֕ן נָדָ֧ב וַאֲבִיה֛וּא אֶלְעָזָ֥ר וְאִיתָמָ֖ר בְּנֵ֥י אַהֲרֹֽן׃

    (1) You shall bring forward your brother Aaron, with his sons, from among the Israelites, to serve Me as priests: Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron.
  4. You, yourself

     

  5. It's all really you. You have a greater share in it than anyone. All fulfill themselves through you.

     

    -Moshe Alshekh, as quoted in Nehama Leibowitz

  6. (רַבִּי אַבָּא בַּר כַּהֲנָא אָמַר כָּל מִי שֶׁנִּכְפַּל שְׁמוֹ הוּא בִּשְׁנֵי עוֹלָמוֹת. וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּנִי, הִנֵּנִי לִכְהֻנָּה וּלְמַלְכוּת. אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בִּמְקוֹם עַמּוּדוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם אַתָּה עוֹמֵד, אַבְרָהָם אָמַר (בראשית כב, א): הִנֵּנִי, וְאַתָּה אוֹמֵר: הִנֵּנִי, בִּקֵּשׁ משֶׁה שֶׁיַּעַמְדוּ מִמֶּנּוּ כֹּהֲנִים וּמְלָכִים, אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא: אַל תִּקְרַב הֲלֹם, כְּלוֹמַר לֹא יִהְיוּ בָּנֶיךָ מַקְרִיבִין, שֶׁכְּבָר מְתֻקֶּנֶת הַכְּהֻנָּה לְאַהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ. הֲלֹם זוֹ מַלְכוּת, כְּמָה דְתֵימָא (שמואל ב ז, יח): כִּי הֲבִאֹתַנִי עַד הֲלֹם. וְאוֹמֵר (שמואל א י, כב): הֲבָא עוֹד הֲלֹם אִישׁ. אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא כְּבָר מְתֻקָּן הַמַּלְכוּת לְדָוִד, אַף עַל פִּי כֵן זָכָה משֶׁה לִשְׁתֵּיהֶן, כְּהֻנָּה, שֶׁשִּׁמֵּשׁ בְּשִׁבְעַת יְמֵי הַמִּלּוּאִים, מַלְכוּת, דִּכְתִיב (דברים לג, ה): וַיְהִי בִישֻׁרוּן מֶלֶךְ.

    Rabbi Abba bar Kahana taught: Anyone who doubles God's name stands in two worlds. And he said: Here I am, here I am--Here I am for the priesthood and for kingship...in saying here I am, he was asking that priests and kings descend from him. The Holy Blessed One said to him: Do not approach closer, that is, your children will not offer sacrifices, because the priesthood is already reserved for Aaron your brother...and the kingship is already reserved for King David. 

     

    Despite this, Moses attained both of these: the priesthood, when he officiated during the seven days of inauguration, and kingship, as it is written (Deut. 33:5): Then he became king in Jeshurun.

  7. His famed "humility" is not a lack of aspiration or of conscious genius; he is attuned to the two possible modalities of greatness, priestly and kingly, sacred and political. But God inhibits him: Do not come closer (al tikrav halom) and later confronts him with the shock of: Bring Aaron your brother close (ve-atta karev)--initiate him into the priestly role that I have denied you from the beginning....

     

    The intimacy with God that is the High Priesthood is not for Moses. And yet, in some dimension, he is apt for it, naturally attuned to it.

     

    Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg

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Source Sheet created on Sefaria by Sari Laufer