Commentary - Year 2 Sabbath 14

Exodus 27:20 - 28:43   -   Ezekiel 3:10-27, 43:10-12; Jeremiah 11:1-23   -   Psalm 59  
Hebrews 3:1-19


Tammuz 5, 5762 / Jun 15, 2002

Tammuz 9, 5765 / July 16, 2005

Tammuz 9, 5768 / July 12, 2008

Tammuz 7, 5771 / July   9, 2011

Tammuz 7, 5774 / July   5, 2014

Tammuz 7, 5777 / July   1, 2017

Tammuz 5, 5780 / Jun 27, 2020


V'atah Tetzavah / You Shall Command   SCRIPTURES (should be read first)


The commandments concerning the Tabernacle being finished, we now look at commandments concerning the priests. The priests must remain pure and separated to God, and may not allow unauthorized people to take part in the service.


Moses had previously given instructions to those who were creating the components for the Tabernacle, but now he was to personally take part in the preparations. He was told to take part in preparing the oil, designating the priests, and selecting those who would make the garments and construct the Tabernacle.


(V.27:20 The Lamp Oil

The oil for the menorah was extra-virgin olive oil – from the first pressing of unheated olives. The wording indicates that it had to be pure from the beginning, not purified by filtering; it was taken from only the first drop of each pressed olive. This indicates the purity of Spirit of God, which, as in this text, presents the purity to be pictured in the priesthood.

(V.21) The Menorah had to remain lit from evening until morning, every night; this is called “continual” (in the same sense the morning and evening offerings were called “continual”).

“Gethsemane,” the name of the garden where Yeshua prayed, is a transliteration of Aramaic words for olive press.

After __ , priests were only descendants of Aaron. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Ezrsa, Zechariah the prophet, Zechariah the father of John the baptizer, and John the baptizer were all priests.

Priests were required to be holy – they were required to be dedicated to Yahweh. When serving in the Holy Temple, they were required to wear holy garments – garments to glorify God, not the priest. The garments had to be clean and beautiful, and even of specific materials. The priests themselves had to be clean – going through a miqvah before each portion of service, sometimes several times a day.

The word for glory, kivodh, is related to the word for heavy: the garments had to be “heavy” – appropriate to glorify God.

(V.28:1) The Sanctifying Garments


The High Priest, while performing services, usually wore Sh’moneh B’gadol / Eight Vestments. During certain parts of the Yom haKippurim service he only wore four – the Bigdey Lavan / White Vestments. Other priests wore these four white vestments, though there were some differences in the material.


(V.4) Six of the vestments noted here are a breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a tunic of checkered work, a turban, and a sash. The knit kesonet / tunic (v.39), similar to a long-sleeved dress, was worn next to the skin. The me’il / robe (v.31) was a four-cornered garment with a hole for one’s neck, and was worn over the tunic. The ephod was like an apron, worn over the robe, extending from one’s waist to the ground: it had shoulder straps and was tied in front with a belt. The breastplate was attached to the shoulder straps. The turban was worn far enough back on the head to allow space for the tefillin (leather box with Scriptures inside) on the forehead. Two other items are the breeches (v.42), which were worn underneath for modesty, and the tzitz / headplate (v.36)  with the words Kadosh l’Yahweh / Holy to Yahweh, which was worn in front of the turban.


(V.6) The Ephod / Skirt

The ephod and belt were woven as one piece of material, and the shoulder straps were sewn on. The ephod was woven from ornate yarn, such that each side had a different pattern. The yarn consisted of the following: six strands of turquoise wool and one of gold were twisted together, then six strands of purple wool and one of gold, then six strands of scarlet wool and one of gold, then six strands of linen and one of gold, then these four seven-strand threads were twisted together to make a twenty-eight strand thick yarn. On the tops of the shoulder straps were precious stones set in gold, with the names of the twelve tribes engraved.


(V.15) The Hoshen / Breastplate of Judgment

The Breastplate of Judgment was a pocket made from the same kind of material as the ephod. On the face of this breastplate were twelve stones, each in its own setting, and having the names of the twelve tribes engraved on them.  The pocket contained a parchment bearing the Name of Yahweh – this was called the Urim v’Tumim / Urim and Tumim; it was called Urim / Lights, because it would cause letters on the breastplate stones to light up, and it was called Tumim / Completeness, because the letters would spell answers to the answers of national importance that the High Priest would ask of God..


The garments were made by artisans from materials supplied only by the congregation. The priests were not acting on their own behalf in self-aggrandizement. They were appointed to the serious and solemn duty of representing God to the whole congregation, and their appearance was to indicate this.

(V.36) The Plate of Gold

A plate of gold was to be worn on the high priests turban. It was engraved with the words “Kadosh L’Yahweh” – Holy to Yahweh. This was a crowning statement of what everything else represented.

(V.39) The Tunic, Turban and Sash

The turban was wound around the waist. It was made of the same colored threads as the tabernacle curtains.

Those who serve God know that there are difficulties and rewards. It is neither to be done light-heartedly nor for profit. It is serious business that brings both peace and sorrow, both support and rejection. But it is not done for oneself.


The idea of special clothing to perform services is seen to generally extend to our own service; we should dress with dignity and respect when we come before our God for communal prayer and spiritual service. The way one dresses and approaches a task also influences the way in which he performs it.


A striking concept here is that God promotes beauty! I think of flowers and rainbows and waterfalls – the many things that God has created to appear beautiful to us. Adam was told to care for the beautiful Garden of Eden. Now man is told to provide for this structure with its utensils and vestments of great beauty – the place where God would accept offerings and send forth His Word.


From the haftarah we learn of the future Holy Temple.

You, son of Adam, tell the family of Israel about the Temple, and let them be ashamed of their sins, and measure the design. And if they are ashamed, make known to them the form of the House and its design, its exits and entrances and all of its appearance, its laws, all its decoration, and all its regulations; write it down before their eyes, that they may remember its form and its decrees and perform them. This is the teaching of the House; the mountain, its entire boundary all around, is most holy” – Ezekiel 43:10-12.

This passage is taken (according to Radak) to show that, for those who are ashamed of their sin, and study the decrees, the resurrection from the dead will take place!


As we saw last week in the study of the Tabernacle, we now may see in the priests’ garments the idea of holiness. This is where we learn of the atonements for sin, and where we learn of God’s ways. This is where we learn that our creator loves us enough to give us life, provide for us, and show us the way of life. This is where we learn of the high road of peace with God. This is where we may see a picture of a grand future that awaits overcomers. This is where we may see Yeshua giving His life for us, and where we may see Him as our patient teacher, and where we may see Him in all of His glory – our priest, prophet, and king.


In lovingkindness, God promotes holiness and beauty and order. And He has provided Yeshua – our Salvation, to redeem us and lead us into His glorious kingdom. We are given the deepest insights in the simplest terms.


David said, “O my God; set me securely on high away from those who rise up against me” – Psalm 59:1. We can see this applying to David when Saul was after him. We can see it applying to Yeshua when unholy leaders were after Him. We may also see this applying to us when the world wants to capture us. David closes with (v.16-17), “But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning, for You have been my stronghold and a refuge in the day of my distress. O my strength, I will sing praises to You; for God is my stronghold, the God who shows me lovingkindness”.




"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who chose us from among all peoples by giving us Your Torah.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."


Reader 1 Amen. 20 "You shall charge the sons of Israel, that they bring you clear oil of beaten olives for the light, to make a lamp burn continually. 21 "In the tent of meeting, outside the veil which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall keep it in order from evening to morning before Yahweh; it shall be a perpetual statute throughout their generations for the sons of Israel.

28:1 "Then bring near to yourself Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the sons of Israel, to minister as priest to Me-- Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons. 2 "You shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. 3 "You shall speak to all the skillful persons whom I have endowed with the spirit of wisdom, that they make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister as priest to Me. 4 "These are the garments which they shall make: a breastpiece and an ephod and a robe and a tunic of checkered work, a turban and a sash, and they shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons, that he may minister as priest to Me. 5 "They shall take the gold and the blue and the purple and the scarlet material and the fine linen.

Reader 2Amen.  6 "They shall also make the ephod of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet material and finetwisted linen, the work of the skillful workman. 7 "It shall have two shoulder pieces joined to its two ends, that it may be joined. 8 "The skillfully woven band, which is on it, shall be like its workmanship, of the same material: of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen. 9 "You shall take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel, 10 six of their names on the one stone and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, according to their birth. 11 "As a jeweler engraves a signet, you shall engrave the two stones according to the names of the sons of Israel; you shall set them in filigree settings of gold. 12 "You shall put the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of memorial for the sons of Israel, and Aaron shall bear their names before Yahweh on his two shoulders for a memorial. 13 "You shall make filigree settings of gold, 14 and two chains of pure gold; you shall make them of twisted cordage work, and you shall put the corded chains on the filigree settings.

Reader 3Amen.  15 "You shall make a breastpiece of judgment, the work of a skillful workman; like the work of the ephod you shall make it: of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen you shall make it. 16 "It shall be square and folded double, a span in length and a span in width. 17 "You shall mount on it four rows of stones; the first row shall be a row of ruby, topaz and emerald; 18 and the second row a turquoise, a sapphire and a diamond; 19 and the third row a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst; 20 and the fourth row a beryl and an onyx and a jasper; they shall be set in gold filigree. 21 "The stones shall be according to the names of the sons of Israel: twelve, according to their names; they shall be like the engravings of a seal, each according to his name for the twelve tribes. 22 "You shall make on the breastpiece chains of twisted cordage work in pure gold.

Reader 4Amen.  23 "You shall make on the breastpiece two rings of gold, and shall put the two rings on the two ends of the breastpiece. 24 "You shall put the two cords of gold on the two rings at the ends of the breastpiece. 25 "You shall put the other two ends of the two cords on the two filigree settings, and put them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, at the front of it. 26 "You shall make two rings of gold and shall place them on the two ends of the breastpiece, on the edge of it, which is toward the inner side of the ephod. 27 "You shall make two rings of gold and put them on the bottom of the two shoulder pieces of the ephod, on the front of it close to the place where it is joined, above the skillfully woven band of the ephod. 28 "They shall bind the breastpiece by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a blue cord, so that it will be on the skillfully woven band of the ephod, and that the breastpiece will not come loose from the ephod. 29 "Aaron shall carry the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgment over his heart when he enters the holy place, for a memorial before Yahweh continually. 30 "You shall put in the breastpiece of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron's heart when he goes in before Yahweh; and Aaron shall carry the judgment of the sons of Israel over his heart before Yahweh continually.

Reader 5Amen.  31 "You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. 32 "There shall be an opening at its top in the middle of it; around its opening there shall be a binding of woven work, like the opening of a coat of mail, so that it will not be torn. 33 "You shall make on its hem pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet material, all around on its hem, and bells of gold between them all around: 34 a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, all around on the hem of the robe. 35 "It shall be on Aaron when he ministers; and its tinkling shall be heard when he enters and leaves the holy place before Yahweh, so that he will not die.

Reader 6Amen.  36 "You shall also make a plate of pure gold and shall engrave on it, like the engravings of a seal, 'Holy to Yahweh.' 37 "You shall fasten it on a blue cord, and it shall be on the turban; it shall be at the front of the turban. 38 "It shall be on Aaron's forehead, and Aaron shall take away the iniquity of the holy things which the sons of Israel consecrate, with regard to all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before Yahweh.

Reader 7Amen.  39 "You shall weave the tunic of checkered work of fine linen, and shall make a turban of fine linen, and you shall make a sash, the work of a weaver. 40 "For Aaron's sons you shall make tunics; you shall also make sashes for them, and you shall make caps for them, for glory and for beauty. 41 "You shall put them on Aaron your brother and on his sons with him; and you shall anoint them and ordain them and consecrate them, that they may serve Me as priests. 42 "You shall make for them linen breeches to cover their bare flesh; they shall reach from the loins even to the thighs. 43 "They shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they enter the tent of meeting, or when they approach the altar to minister in the holy place, so that they do not incur guilt and die. It shall be a statute forever to him and to his descendants after him.


"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."



"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who selected good prophets, delighting in their words which were spoken truthfully.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,

and the prophets of truth and righteousness."


Ezekiel 43:10-12

Reader 8 Amen.  10 "As for you, son of man, describe the Temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the plan. 11 "If they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the House, its structure, its exits, its entrances, all its designs, all its statutes, and all its laws. And write it in their sight, so that they may observe its whole design and all its statutes and do them. 12 "This is the law of the House: its entire area on the top of the mountain all around shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the House.


Ezekiel 3:10-27

10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. 11 Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, 'Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.' 12 "Therefore prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says Lord Yahweh, "Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 "Then you will know that I am Yahweh, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. 14 "I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, Yahweh, have spoken and done it," declares Yahweh.'" 15 The word of Yahweh came again to me saying, 16 "And you, son of man, take for yourself one stick and write on it, 'For Judah and for the sons of Israel, his companions'; then take another stick and write on it, 'For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and all the house of Israel, his companions.' 17 "Then join them for yourself one to another into one stick, that they may become one in your hand. 18 "When the sons of your people speak to you saying, 'Will you not declare to us what you mean by these?' 19 say to them, 'Thus says Lord Yahweh, "Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will put them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand."' 20 "The sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes. 21 "Say to them, 'Thus says Lord Yahweh, "Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations and no longer be divided into two kingdoms. 23 "They will no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. And they will be My people, and I will be their God. 24 "My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. 25 "They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons' sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever. 26 "I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. 27 "My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.


Jeremiah 11:1-23

1 The word which came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, saying, 2 "Hear the words of this covenant, and speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; 3 and say to them, 'Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, "Cursed is the man who does not heed the words of this covenant 4 which I commanded your forefathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, 'Listen to My voice, and do according to all which I command you; so you shall be My people, and I will be your God,' 5 in order to confirm the oath which I swore to your forefathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day."'" Then I said, "Amen, O Yahweh." 6 And Yahweh said to me, "Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, 'Hear the words of this covenant and do them. 7 'For I solemnly warned your fathers in the day that I brought them up from the land of Egypt, even to this day, warning persistently, saying, "Listen to My voice." 8 'Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked, each one, in the stubbornness of his evil heart; therefore I brought on them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but they did not.'" 9 Then Yahweh said to me, "A conspiracy has been found among the men of Judah and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 10 "They have turned back to the iniquities of their ancestors who refused to hear My words, and they have gone after other gods to serve them; the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken My covenant which I made with their fathers." 11 Therefore thus says Yahweh, "Behold I am bringing disaster on them which they will not be able to escape; though they will cry to Me, yet I will not listen to them. 12 "Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry to the gods to whom they burn incense, but they surely will not save them in the time of their disaster. 13 "For your gods are as many as your cities, O Judah; and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to the shameful thing, altars to burn incense to Baal. 14 "Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them; for I will not listen when they call to Me because of their disaster. 15 "What right has My beloved in My house When she has done many vile deeds? Can the sacrificial flesh take away from you your disaster, So that you can rejoice?" 16 Yahweh called your name, "A green olive tree, beautiful in fruit and form"; with the noise of a great tumult He has kindled fire on it, And its branches are worthless. 17 Yahweh of hosts, who planted you, has pronounced evil against you because of the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done to provoke Me by offering up sacrifices to Baal. 18 Moreover, Yahweh made it known to me and I knew it; Then You showed me their deeds. 19 But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; and I did not know that they had devised plots against me, saying, "Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, And let us cut him off from the land of the living, That his name be remembered no more." 20 But, O Yahweh of hosts, who judges righteously, who tries the feelings and the heart, let me see Your vengeance on them, for to You have I committed my cause. 21 Therefore thus says Yahweh concerning the men of Anathoth, who seek your life, saying, "Do not prophesy in the name of Yahweh, so that you will not die at our hand"; 22 therefore, thus says Yahweh of hosts, "Behold, I am about to punish them! The young men will die by the sword, their sons and daughters will die by famine; 23 and a remnant will not be left to them, for I will bring disaster on the men of Anathoth-- the year of their punishment."


Psalm 59    (To be sung.) For the choir director; set to Al-tashheth.

                                A Mikhtam of David, when Saul sent men, and they watched the house in order to kill him.

1 Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; set me securely on high away from those who rise up against me. 2 Deliver me from those who do iniquity and save me from men of bloodshed. 3 For behold, they have set an ambush for my life; fierce men launch an attack against me, not for my transgression nor for my sin, O Yahweh, 4 For no guilt of mine, they run and set themselves against me. Arouse Yourself to help me, and see! 5 You, O Yahweh God of hosts, the God of Israel, awake to punish all the nations; do not be gracious to any who are treacherous in iniquity. Selah. 6 They return at evening, they howl like a dog, and go around the city. 7 Behold, they belch forth with their mouth; swords are in their lips, for, they say, "Who hears?" 8 But You, O Yahweh, laugh at them; You scoff at all the nations. 9 Because of his strength I will watch for You, for God is my stronghold. 10 My God in His lovingkindness will meet me; God will let me look triumphantly upon my foes. 11 Do not slay them, or my people will forget; scatter them by Your power, and bring them down, O Lord, our shield. 12 On account of the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips, let them even be caught in their pride, and on account of curses and lies which they utter. 13 Destroy them in wrath, destroy them that they may be no more; that men may know that God rules in Jacob to the ends of the earth. Selah. 14 They return at evening, they howl like a dog, and go around the city. 15 They wander about for food and growl if they are not satisfied. 16 But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning, for You have been my stronghold and a refuge in the day of my distress. 17 O my strength, I will sing praises to You; for God is my stronghold, the God who shows me lovingkindness.


Hebrews 3:1-19

Reader 9 Amen.  1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Yeshua, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession; 2 He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. 3 For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. 5 Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; 6 but Messiah was faithful as a Son over His house-- whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.

Reader 10 Amen.  7 Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, "Today if you hear His voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, 9 where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, and saw My works for forty years. 10 Therefore I was angry with this generation, and said, 'They always go astray in their heart; and they did not know My ways'; 11 as I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest.'" 12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.

Reader 11 Amen.  13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Messiah, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, 15 while it is said, "Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me." 16 For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Rock of Ages, righteous throughout all generations.

You are the faithful God, promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,

for all Your words are true and righteous.

Faithful are You, Yahweh our God, and faithful are Your words,

for no word of Yours shall remain unfulfilled;

You are a faithful and merciful God and King.

Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."


© 2005  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)