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Tetzaveh-Not Moshe but Kohen

Not Moshe but Kohen It is remarkable that Parshas Tezaveh is the only Parsha (weekly portion of the Torah) of the last four books of the Torah in which Moshe is not mentioned by name. The Baal HaTurim explained that Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses our teacher) was so humble and selfless that he told Hashem (Shmos 32:32) “And now, if You would forgive their sin, but if not, erase me now from Your book that You have written!” He did this in the hope that Hashem would forgive and save Klal Yisrael (Children of Israel) after the sin of the Golden Calf. Although Hashem made the “decision” to spare the lives of Klal Yisrael, Moshe’s request was partially heard and his name was erased from one portion of the Torah – Parshas Tetzaveh. Of all of the Parshiyos in the Torah, for Moshe not to be mentioned in the choice of this Parsha for the omission of his name is puzzling. Parshas Tetzaveh talks about the Kehuna (Priestly Class) (Moshe was a Kohen for 8 days) and the listing of the responsibilities which were to be handed over to his brother and nephews. Hashem could have removed his name from Parshas Balak! Why was he specifically removed from Parshas Tetzaveh? Perhaps, contrary to the Baal Haturim’s insight, Moshe Rabbeinu’s name is mentioned in this past week’s Parsha. A person has three names: that given to a person by parents or guardian (such as Moshe, Aaron, Dovid, Shlomo, …) one which people call him/her and one which he/she earns for him/herself – the actual essence of a person (Midrash Tanchuma ). In this week’s Parsha, by “removing” Moshe’s name (which was given to him by Batya – Pharaohs’ daughter and describes the quality of Batya not of Moshe), we see the true essence of Moshe Rabbeinu. The first word of the Parsha illustrates this idea. The Parsha begins, “V’Ata Titzaveh Es Bnei Yisrael.”(And you command the Children of Israel). Who does the “you” refer to? It is Moshe Rabbeinu! The only one who was truly responsible enough to handle this important revelation from Hashem about the priestly garb and the duties of the Kohen was Moshe. Instead of Moshe being removed, Parshas Tetzaveh is the only Parsha where the real Moshe is mentioned. The Moshe whose very essence was service to Hashem without wish for personal gain, aggrandizement or any honorific rank or title, exemplified simply by the pronoun: “V’Ata” (you).

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