Parashat Tetzaveh (You shall command) Exodus 27:20-30:10
Haftarah: Ezekiel 43:10-27
Recently I met a nice young man who approached me in a very intense manner. This individual grew up in a Christian home and over the last year had become very interested in the Scriptures. He found that although he was in Church nearly every week, he was not well versed in the Bible. He had heard me relate the concept of holiness to the commandments and he remarked that he had learned that the Torah commands were an instrument of sin and death. Therefore, to now hear that they were related to holiness was quite difficult for him. When we finally met face to face I found that this issue was extremely important to him. How good it is that there are people who are passionate about understanding the Bible. When we began to talk, he stated that he felt that his pastor had deceived him.
In actuality, it is a matter of looking at only one side of the coin. Paul teaches that the law (Torah) works in our body and brings about death (See Romans 7:5, 9). However, this does not mean that the Torah commandments are bad or related to sin and death. Rather, by means of the Torah one can understand that he is sinful and spiritually dead. However, when one trusts in Messiah Yeshua’s work of redemption, he becomes a new creation and with the indwelling Holy Spirit it becomes a reality for the believer to utilize the commandments and live in holiness.
This same individual asked for a connection between the holiness of G-d and the commandments from the Old Testament. Although he and I discussed several things, I would like to share in this brief article such a connection from this week’s Torah portion. In Parashat Tetzaveh, the garments of the Priests are emphasized. One of the garments is the head plate or ציץ. This was a strip of gold which had engraved upon it the phrase, “Holy to the L-RD”. It is commanded that this golden strip should be attached to the turban with turquoise cords. The word turquoise only refers to the color, as the actual Hebrew word is תכלת and this word relates to the material itself which happened to be similar in color to turquoise. The question that one should ask himself is why does the Torah command that the head plate be fastened with cords of תכלת? This same word is found at the end of Numbers chapter 15 in the passage which deals with the fringes which are upon the four corners of one’s garments and one of the cords is commanded to be תכלת. As most of you know, these fringes were made in a unique way which reminds the people of what the passage states,
“Speak to the Children of Israel and you shall say to them, ‘Make for themselves fringes upon the corners of their garments throughout their generations and place upon the fringes on the corner a cord of תכלת and it shall be for you for fringes and you shall look at it and you will remember all the commandments of HaShem and you shall do them…'” Numbers 15:38-39
Hence, it is possible to see the connection between the commandments to which תכלת relates and the concept of Holiness to which the Head plate relates. Is it not interesting how by means of redemption, HaShem makes what once caused death, now to be the framework for how holiness is manifested in a believer. This is but another example of the power of the redemptive work of Messiah Yeshua.
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