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Parashat Tetzaveh

“And you shall make garments for the holy service…and you shall dress (with these things)…Aaron…and his sons.”

Shemot 28:2-4

With these words our parashah almost begins. For us who see history hundreds of years later, it can be pompous and even exaggerated. All the description that the text of the Torah makes of the Kohen's garments makes us wonder if it would not be too much... if it would not have been something superficial, that someone in such a spiritual function should be clothed with so much wealth.

And if we add to it what we can read in the Talmud, treatise on Zevachim 17, everything gets even worse: “While their garments are on them, they are clothed with the priesthood; if their garments are not on them, they are not endowed with the priesthood.” What kind of priesthood is it if when he took off his clothes, he did not have any investiture???

Human beings seem to need images and the investments that accompany them. To respect a policeman, he himself must have a uniform; for a judge, we must see him elevated above us on a bench and feel himself “above”; Even in the most sublime and spiritual act of our people, such as the giving of the Torah at Sinai, it was necessary for the mountain to almost rise above itself and surround itself with fire and lightning that "elevated it spiritually".

Not all special effects started with Spielberg. The Cohen Gadol dressed with all possible pomp and placed on his chest the pectoral with the twelve tribes that were present in that way in each spiritual act in a sort of collective commitment that brings us together to this day.

On his shoulders the High Priest wrote the name of each tribe, "loading" on them the always difficult task of summoning and directing and helping and accompanying them on a path that is not always smooth.

We can see the pomp of the dressing room as something futile, or we can see it as that which forced the Cohen to "get on topic". And maybe that was it too. It is not that the Kadosh Baruch Hu needed him to dress in the best clothes. It is not just that the people saw him in a prominent place. It was about him preparing himself for the task and focusing on what he had to do. And THAT made his investiture.

Zevachim 17, refers to the fact that each one of us has, and it is good that he has, different facets. And we must respect and develop them, but in each one we must put the body and the image so that each task is carried out with all our dedication and focus.

Zevachim 17, you may be wrong. We have the investiture as long as we are dedicated to the task, and we help ourselves with the suit that we choose to put on. But it's just a suit. The best we can choose to help us fulfill it, but it's just a suit.

What makes us more solid, more credible, more reliable is our sincere dedication to what we choose to be, carrying on our shoulders, not the burden of the task, but the responsibility we choose to have towards it. And then, only then, the suit will accompany us and perhaps, at best, help us sustain it.

Gustavo Geier


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