This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10).
* Do you find some Torah portions more interesting than others? These sanctuary details are hard to get through.
* Being natural is not a Torah ideal (Dennis Prager). Clothing is civilization. I had a friend who was an Orthodox nudist, the only one I’ve known.
* Purity, separation, distinction are major themes of this week’s parsha and all of Torah. What you wear matters. Some things in life, such as the altar, are more holy than others.
* This week’s Torah portion introduces the office of priest. Do we need such holy men? Do you like Roman Catholic priests and nuns in their habits?
* There are no benefits to being a priest or a rabbi in Judaism. There are only obligations.
* Priests are to be obsessed with life and to have nothing to do with the dead.
* Priests have to wash their feet and hands before going into service.
* A physically blemished priest can not serve in the sanctuary.
* Priests can’t marry hookers or divorcees. Widows are fine, except for the high priest.
* Divination forbidden. Substitute Urim/Thummim, but it could only be used by the national leader on national questions. It’s use died out with King David.
* Does Judaism care about art? There’s verse after verse about artistic details for the sanctuary. After the destruction of the temple, is art unnecessary?
* The Jews used artistic beauty to come to God. Is secular art dangerous?
* In Judaism, you can’t live a religious life alone.
* We have more “spiritual” people than ever before. People want to build their own tabernacles to God.
* This new Jewish religion burns rams and bulls, gods in Egypt. It would be like burning the Academy Awards (Dennis Prager).
* You can’t perpetuate values without rituals.
* Why is Africa such a wasteland?
* Ex. 29:46: And they shall know I am God. If Jews do not do the Torah, the world won’t know God.
* If you wear holy garb and you’re a jerk, that’s terrible!
* Always ask yourself if what you are doing is bringing you closer to God.
* Judaism uses all five senses. The Sabbath, for example, has distinctive smells. Passover has particular tastes.