Parashat Tzav (You shall command) Leviticus 6:1-8:36


Parashat Tzav (You shall command) Leviticus 6:1-8:36

Maftir: Deuteronomy 25:17-19

Haftarah: I Samuel 15:1-34

Shabbat Zachor (You must remember)

The final chapter of this week’s parasha deals with the consecration of the Kohanim (Priests). The Kohanim were commanded to wear special garments that reflected the sanctity of their service. The High Priest wore a special head dress and it is his head dress which will be the focus of this week’s article. The primary part of the head dress is the turban. Upon the turban is the head plate which has inscribed on it, “Holy to the L-rd“. There is an additional word that is used which is usually translated “diadem” or “crown”. The question that needs to be addressed is just what is being referred to by this word?

Most rabbinical scholars equate the diadem to the head plate. However some understand the term as referring to the turban when the head plate is attached to it. This means that when the turban has the head plate, the head dress is now complete and it becomes a crown for the High Priest. Hence a turban without the head plate is just a turban and does not have the status as a crown.

There are two issues which need to be addressed.  The first is why would the High Priest have a crown, and the second is what is the literal meaning of the Hebrew word translated “crown” or “diadem”? The High Priest was not a political figure in one sense, but as a priest he was to teach the word of G-d. It was according to the word of G-d that the King was to base his rule. Hence, it could be that the High Priest wore a crown to remind the King that his rule was always subjected to the Holy Scriptures.

The Hebrew word which is translated, “crown” or “diadem” is derived from a word which means separated. It is the same word which is used for a Nazirite, one who is under a sacred oath. The basic meaning of the word is “to be set apart for a divine purpose”. Therefore, the literal meaning of the word we understand as referring to a crown, a symbol of power and authority, reminds the High Priest that he has be placed in this position for a specific purpose— to carry out the expressed purposes as outline by HaShem is the word of G-d.

The book of Hebrews reveals that Messiah Yeshua is the Great High Priest. When one reads in the New Covenant about Yeshua he learns how Yeshua always carried out His Father’s will, never taking any personal glory or doing anything to exert His power, but rather always operating under the call He received.

How rare it is today that spiritual leaders realize there position is limited to the purposes of G-d and that their authority is not a means of self exaltation, but should only be exercised for the fulfilling of HaShem’s purposes.

Shabbat Shalom

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