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Mailing Address Only: 84 Senior Place Fairfield, CT 06825 | Phone: 203-372-6529 | Email:

Congregation Ahavath Achim logo Congregation Ahavath Achim

A Modern Orthodox Synagogue

Dear Friend,
While last week's parasha, Parashat Terumah, focused on the construction of the Mishkan and its vessels, this week's parasha, Parashat Tetzaveh, focuses primarily on the production of the Kohanim's special vestments.  These articles of clothing- four articles for a standard Kohen and eight for the Kohen Gadol- are referred to in Hebrew as the bigdei kehuna
The bigdei kehuna were functional on some level.  For example, the choshen, the plate of gems worn on the chest of the High Priest, served as an oracle of sorts to help discern the Divine will.  However,  there was a more basic purpose for these garments besides their utilitarian functionality.  It would seem that the Torah wanted the kohanim to be clothed in these garments for the value inherent in the fact that the kohanim should appear "a certain way".  After all, the kohanim were the priests of the Tabernacle and the Temple, administering before the Almighty on behalf of His people.  It would only make sense for the Torah to mandate that these priests should appear in a dignified and refined manner.
The following questions may be worth pondering as we approach Parashat Tetzaveh, a parasha focused on the intersection of clothing and religion:
- How do I dress, and why does it matter?
- What is the reason that the Halacha mandates that we dress up nicely on Shabbat?
- How has our society's decreased formality, including in areas relating to dress code, affected our standards of ethics and morality, if at all?
Please note that the Fairfield eruv is currently down.  It should be assumed that the eruv will not be functional for this Shabbat, Parashat Tetzaveh, February 23rd-24th.  I will keep you posted regarding the status of the eruv.
Also, Purim begins on Motzaei Shabbat Saturday night March 23rd, and continues throughout the day of Sunday March 24th.  God willing we will have Purim services and Megillah reading both on that Saturday night as well as on Sunday morning at Mozaic Senior Living (JSS).  I look forward to seeing you there on Purim.
All the best,
Rabbi Peretz Robinson