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פרשת תצוה
Shabbat Zachor
Prepared by Rabbi Stephen Texon

Dear Friends,

You may wonder what this photo of an 8 year old child is doing here in my weekly D'var Torah, well the child is I, your Rabbi, and this Shabbat Tetzaveh is my Bar Mitzvah portion.

Notice that I appear to be very well dressed, complete with bowtie, vest and a beret. OK, so what does that have to do with the Parasha? Well, dressing well and respectfully is an admirable practice for people as it promotes respect for one's self and for others. Our Parasha this week deals primarily with proper and specific dress codes for the holiest group of the Israelites namely the Priests and in particular the High Priest, the Kohen Gadol. An incredibly detailed description of the priests and the High Priest's vestments with the accompanying jewelry are described, literally from head to toe. From the white turban and gold plate on the head and forehead down to his bare feet, every detail of clothing, gold and precious stones are spelled out including the gold vessel for spreading the fragrant incense, ALL is to proclaim the glory of G-d and to atone for sin.

So, this young child, Stephen Texon, was raised to dress appropriately and respectfully and how "fitting" that this Parasha would be mine. The expression "clothes make the man" has a lot of validity, but obviously the character of the man or woman beneath the beautiful clothing is far more important. We can not hide behind beautiful clothing with unjust actions, rather the clothing should inspire us to act justly and respectfully, as it was meant to inspire and enhance the lives and practices of the priests.

Finally, may we draw inspiration from the Parasha's opening command of Hashem to Moses to have Aaron, the High Priest and his sons, kindle the Eternal Light (Ner Tamid) above the Holy Ark to burn forever as a statute throughout all generations proclaiming the eternity of G-d and the people of Israel! 

Shabbat Shalom.
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