Weekly Torah Portion: T’tzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10)


In this Torah portion, God appoints Aaron and his sons as priests. God describes the priestly clothing, and explains how to properly sanctify the priests. Aaron is commanded to make incense offerings to God every morning on an altar. God explains that once a year Aaron will make an offering on that altar to atone for all of the Israelites’ sins. Read an extensive summery on My Jewish Learning

Related D’var Torah

“[A new Rabbi] comes upon an ugly man and he says, ‘MY WHAT AN UGLY MAN YOU ARE?!?’ Without missing a beat, the ugly man says, ‘Why don’t you tell my Creator how ugly of a creation I am?!?’…” – Rabbi Heather Miller in 2018. Read the full drash.

“We cannot ‘love our neighbor as ourselves’ or ‘see all humans in the image of God’ unless we are consistent in seeing Sacredness.” – Aviyah Farkash in 2017. read the full drash

“I live amidst a community who experiences and feels, and that we are all on this bumpy road together” – Rabbi Heather Miller in 2014. Read the full drash

“You are strong, you persevere, you see the long run, you get the irony of how chronic illness calls you to cherish each day even as you curse some days.” – Rabbi Heather Miller in 2013. Read the full drash

“Who are your enemies? Our Amelak? As I have learned, and am reminded from year after year at the Think Tank, that my enemies, my Amelak is not
what I see…” – Davi Cheng in 2005. Read the full drash here

“When faced in our own lives with those moments of fear about coming out–whatever that may mean — or a choice between taking the easiest route and the better route, may we remember Esther and what a little self-reflection, and also a little moral and morale support from others, can do.” – Rabbi Lisa Edwards in 1999. Read the full drash

Torah Verse of the Week*

“In the Tent of Meeting, outside the veil (parochet) which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall arrange [the Menorah], from evening to morning, before God; it is an eternal statute to their generations from the Children of Israel”  (Ex. 27:21)

“In the Tent of Meeting, outside the veil”
In the heart of every person must burn a permanent flame, a Divine flame, not only “in the Tent of Meeting” — in the synagogue and in the study hall — but also “outside the veil” — in the street, in one’s business dealings, at work, in dealing with one’s fellow human being.

— Adapted from Pardes Yosef
Rabbi Joseph Poznovsky of Pabianice, 1875-1942, Lodz Ghetto

Suggested Reading

Rabbi Lisa published in the Jewish Journal a Purim-related Torah essay that also connected to this week’s Torah portion, Tetzaveh. Read it here

Lisa Grant Ph.D. discusses the parallels of this week’s Torah portion with Purim in ‘Confronting an Absence’: Both Parashat Tetzaveh and the Book of Esther are missing some central characters. Read more in our Telephone Torah Study archives



*Torah Verse of the Week is chosen by Rabbi Lisa Edwards during Tuesday’s Torah studies. Check out when our next Torah Study takes place