Pearls of Rashi – Tetzaveh II

This week we read the Torah portion Tetzaveh. It tells us of the inauguration of the tribe of Levi as the aristocracy of the Jewish nation. It is known that after the giving of the Torah, a sin was committed with the golden calf. The entire tribe of Levi would have nothing to do with this. In that merit, Moshe’s brother Aharon, his children, and their descendants for all generations were chosen to perform the service in the Bais Hamikdosh. The remainder of the tribe would serve as their assistants.

This portion teaches us of the “Bigdai Kehunah,” the priestly vestments which were worn by the Kohanim at the time that they performed the service in the Mishkan, and later in the Bais Hamikdosh. It then tells us of the offerings which were brought as their inauguration into the Kehunah[1]; “this is the thing that you shall do for them to sanctify them to serve Me (as kohanim) …”

The Torah follows this by telling us the specific offerings which were to be brought. Among these were[2] “unleavened bread and unleavened loaves mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil …”

How were the unleavened wafers anointed? Rashi cites the words “anointed with oil,” and explains as follows. “After they were baked, Moshe would anoint them in the shape of the Greek letter ‘Kof – כ,’ (‘Chi,’ which was pronounced like the Hebrew ‘Kof’). Its shape resembles the Hebrew letter ‘Nun – נ.’”

Rashi is always frugal with his wording; he always uses as few words as possible. Why does he tell us that it was anointed in the shape of a Greek letter, which is shaped like a Hebrew letter? He could have simply written that it was shaped like the Hebrew letter “Nun.”

One explanation is that Rashi is emphasizing the letter “Kof – כ,” which is the beginning of the word “Kohen – כהן.“  This entire procedure is related to Kohanim, which is expressed in its every facet.

This may possibly be related to the fact that[3] “In the various studies that have been done with Jewish males in numerous parts of the world, both Ashkenazim and Sephardim, over 98 percent of those who claimed to be Kohanim were found to have the Y-chromosome Alu Polymorphism (YAP) marker. The is because the male Y-chromosome does not change from generation to generation. In other words, everything related to Kehunah screams out that it comes directly from Aharon the High Priest[4].

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 26, Page 239

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR FATHER
Mr. Sholom Moshe ben Reb Shlomo Meir
Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach,
13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
*
DEDICATED BY HIS FAMILY
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
*
יו”ל ע”י בני משפחתו שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 29:1.

[2]. Our Parshah, Shemos 29:2.

[3].https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/762109/jewish/Raise-Your-Hand-If-Youre-A-Kohen.htm

[4]. This addition is the surmise of Rabbi Mendelsohn, who accepts total responsibility for its validity.

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