Parshat Tetzaveh: Being sacred to God

“And you shall make a plate of pure gold and engrave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLY TO THE LORD.” (Exodus 28:36)

We have said that in order to relate and bond with our Creator, we must be sacred before Him because He is sacred. Our Sages refer to sacredness as a state of consciousness where only goodness fill and guide our intellect, discernment, understanding, thought, emotions, feelings and instincts; all towards the purpose of goodness.

Thus we realize that goodness is what is sacred in us, and also what makes us sacred. This awareness is the precondition to approach God.

“And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goes in to the sacred place, for a memorial before the Lord continually.” (28:29)

Being sacred is a commandment for all the tribes of Israel, and their names are placed upon Aaron’s heart, for in total awareness of love they relate to their God through the high priest. Love is the inspiration to have judgment, not only as an expression of what is just but also as the way we must approach life and our interaction with others.

We have said that judgment has to be preceded by goodness as the reference to apply it. Hence we have to have a good judgment in order to make goodness prevail in situations and circumstances where there is no clarity to discern on what is true or false, right or wrong, positive or negative.

In our daily prayers we bless God as the “King who loves righteousness and justice”, preceded by “loving kindness and compassion”. Thus we understand that the former are inspired by the latter, for in order to be righteous and just we must be good.

In this context we become aware of the ethics inherent in goodness and its uncompromising nature, for goodness does not dwell or mix with anything different from it.

“And you shall speak to all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister to Me in the priest’s office.” (28:3)

This verse precedes the previous ones quoted here, because sacredness is inspired and sustained by wisdom. Here we understand wisdom as the ethical expression of goodness that is necessary to initiate our bonding with the Creator. The wisdom we build in our heart through the continuous awareness of goodness is what enables us to “make Aaron’s garments”.

We have said that what we dress usually defines or identifies who we are, what we do, or what we represent. In regards to the sacredness of our connection with God, that Aaron the high priest represents, we must “dress” it with the utmost and highest traits and qualities that speak about the goodness that is the best in us. As we have mentioned often, goodness is what makes us sacred.

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry. He studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota, and lived twenty years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. He emigrated to Israel in 2004, and for the last fourteen years has been studying the Chassidic mystic tradition, about which he writes and teaches. Based on his studies, he wrote his first book "God's Love" in 2009. He currently lives in Zefat.
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