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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tetzaveh

William: The Torah is divided into 55 portions. In each Hebrew Calender year if we read a portion of the Torah each week we will have read the complete Torah in one year. Our Torah portion, Tetzaveh, meaning High Priest, is taken from the Book of Exodus, Chapter 27. Exodus is the 2nd book of The Five Books of Moses, and specifically teaches us about the Jews' exodus from Egypt.

Scott: The Torah is very vague in most places and it leaves for our own interpretation, and that's why we think many people are leery of accepting the guidance of the Torah. Our portion is not an exciting part like Creation, or Cain murdering Abel, or the parting of the seas. Tetzaveh is very specific about the details of what a High Priest should wear. This portion gives mundane details about his apron, breast plate, stones to represent the 12 tribes of Israel, the tunic, head piece, and the sash he must wear while preforming the very important mission of lighting the oil lamps in the new Tabernacle. Everyone else is just in regular clothes.

William: What I learned from my Torah portion is how symbolic our clothes may be for specific purposes. For example in karate we wear different patches to denote our school, and gees and different colored belts to denote our rank. Even black belts with different amount of stripes sets an order. When I am in uniform I represent my karate school. I wear my karate gee at karate, I don't wear it at the gym or air soft.

Scott: Likewise my tzitzit, tallit, and kippah are an important uniform for Jewish men. It helps me to be good when I am wearing it. By looking down at these strings and knots it reminds me of G-d and keeps me accountable especially now that I am a man in G-d's eyes. My mom says, when she sees me in a kippah and tzitzit, it reminds her of her responsibility to Judaism, like preparing me to be called to Torah today, so my attire, helps remind her of G-d's presence, the commandments, and G-d's love for us.

William: What do we learn from all this? What does the right clothes for the right purpose have to do with anything else in life? Well, the uniforms, which are clothes designated for a specific purpose, are symbolic for taking what you've got, using it in the right way, for the right reason. G-d does not expect you to be perfect, but you do need to do your best effort with what you got. My brother and I are fortunate to be surrounded by loved ones, have good health, and we have parents that meet our needs. My brother and I are smart enough to know that these are blessings we are given. Now as Bar Mitzvah's we are responsible for what our Torah portion teaches us: to be aware of the spiritual and ethical consequences of our actions.

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