The first Commandment in this portion is intended as a permanent ongoing and continuous action, and it encompasses the duties of our constant connection with God.
“And you shall command (tetzaveh) the children of Israel, and they shall take to you pure olive oil, crushed for lighting, to kindle the lamps continually. (…) an everlasting statute for their generations, from the children of Israel.” (Exodus 27:20-21)
It is a practical moment-to-moment dynamics of being and manifesting love’s ways and attributes in every expression of our life. This commandment involves taking the best that we may “extract” from ourselves as the essential goodness represented by the “pure olive oil”. This is the quality that comes from our material nature, although it transcends the material world.
It is the kind of goodness free from ego’s fantasies and illusions represented by the ephemeral, finite and limited shape of material life. It is the goodness that remains after we toil to survive in this world, the “oil” to light every aspect of life in what we are and what we do. And this goodness is nothing but love the Creator commands His people to be and manifest continually as an everlasting decree.
It is meaningful that these verses are the preamble to introduce the one who is the permanent servant of the Creator of all.
“You shall make holy garments for your brother Aaron, for honor and glory. (…) to consecrate him, that he serve Me. (…) holy garments to serve Me.” (28:2-4)
Aaron the high priest represents the permanent connection with God’s love. From this connection depends the honor and glory with which we consecrate ourselves, and the means to serve the Creator.
All aspects, levels, and dimensions of our consciousness in their refined state are the qualities to clothe this connection.
“They shall take the gold, the blue, purple, and crimson wool, and the linen (…)” (28:5)
This awareness is about our permanent bond with God.
“(…) Aaron shall carry their names [of the children of Israel] before the Lord upon his two shoulders as a remembrance.” (28:12, 29-30)
This process culminates with the elevation of our entire consciousness pursuing our unity with the Creator. This ascent includes redirecting ego (the ram) to the service of Him.
“(…) and you shall make the entire ram go up in smoke upon the altar. It is a burnt offering made to the Lord, it is a spirit of satisfaction, a fire offering for the Lord.” (29:18, 25; 29:41)
Once more we are reminded to do this in an ongoing, continuous basis.
“For seven days you shall perform atonement upon the altar and sanctify it. Henceforth, the altar shall be most holy. Whatever touches the altar shall be holy.” (29:37)
In this awareness of God’s love what we think, feel, say and do become consecrated in love’s ways and attributes.
Let’s recall that we are made out of God’s love, and for the sake of His love for us and His Creation. The central presence of the high priest as the axis of our consciousness is the means to return to the Creator. In this awareness, love infuses spirituality in our life and in the material world, creating a place for Him to dwell among us.
Our sages summons us to be and manifest this permanent connection with God.
“Be of the disciples of Aaron, a lover of peace, a pursuer of peace, one who loves the creatures and draws them close to Torah.” (Pirkei Avot 1:12)
Hence the awareness of love leads us to peace, and through love we come to the Divine Presence (in the Sanctuary) in order to dwell in His ways.
“There I will arrange meetings with the children of Israel, and it will be sanctified by My glory. I will sanctify the tent of meeting and the altar (…) I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel and I will be their God. They will know that I, the Lord, am their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt in order that I may dwell in their midst; I am the Lord, their God.” (Exodus 29:43-46)
God’s glory is God’s love. When we dwell in His love, He also dwells in us. At this point of our awareness of oneness with the Creator, we fully recognize that He is our God. Love redeems us from the slavery of the attachments to ego’s materialistic fantasies and illusions.
Love, as the material manifestation of God’s love becomes the most sacred awareness in our consciousness. In this awareness we rebuild Jerusalem and its Temple as the necessary steps to invite the Messianic consciousness in every aspect of our individual and collective identity, as the vehicle to our final redemption.
The portion ends mentioning again the lighting of the lamps in the Sanctuary, this time in conjunction with the burning of spices to reaffirm our permanent connection with God’s love.
“And when Aaron kindles the lights in the evening, he shall make it go up in smoke, continual incense before the Lord for [all] your generations” (30:8)
This verse precedes the final ones referring to Yom Kippur as the day of the holy convocations in which we are collectively united to Him.
“(…) it is the most holy to the Lord.” (30:10)