Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Tetzaveh I

Click here for a printable version.

In this week’s Torah portion, Tetzaveh the Torah describes the eight garments the High Priest was required to wear while serving in the Temple. The Torah tells us of his breastplate, the Choshen Mishpat[1], and says that[2] “You shall place the Urim V’Tumim into the Choshen Mishpat so that they will be over Aharon’s heart when he comes before Hashem.”

Rashi cites the words “the Urim and the Tumim” and explains, “This is the explicit name (of Hashem) which he, (Moshe), would place within the folds of the Choshen. Through this, it would light up its words (Urim is from the Hebrew word Ohr, which means light) and perfect (Tumim is from the Hebrew word Tam, which means complete, or perfect) its words. There was also a Choshen in the Second Temple because the High Priest couldn’t be missing (any of his eight) garments. However, the (explicit) name (of Hashem) was not inside it. Because of that inscription (of the explicit name of Hashem), it was called ‘judgment,’ as it says ‘And he shall ask for him through the judgment of the Urim.’”

The Second Temple lacked five spiritual revelations, which were present in the first. Nonetheless, the same level of G-dliness permeated both of them. In the First Temple, the G-dly light reached outside the Temple, while in the second, it remained within the Temple. 

This helps us to understand the difference between the Choshen in the First and Second Temple. In the First Bais Hamikdosh, the holiness of the Choshen reached the outside world. This allowed it to make decisions on how to tackle the world outside of the Temple. In the Second Temple, this was not the case.

The same is true during the time of exile. The Hebrew word Choshen – חשן contains the same letters as the Hebrew word for serpent – נחש – Nachash, referring to the primordial snake, the evil inclination. At the same time, the numeric equivalent of the phrase נחש is the same as the numeric equivalent of the word משיח – the Messiah, representing redemption; the time when G-dliness will shine throughout the world. Our sins brought about our exile. As a result of this, the Choshen was concealed, and the serpent was revealed. However, our service with Torah and Mitzvos will hide the serpent. Consequently, it will display the presence of the Choshen, Moshiach, and G-d throughout the world.

I wish one and all a good Shabbos and a happy Purim!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos 11, Page 133ff.

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris

חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. Click here for more information about the High Priest’s breast plate.

[2]. Our Parshah, Shemos 28:30.

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