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A Message from Rabbi Anderson

Tetzaveh

"On the two stones you shall make seal engravings - the work of a lapidary - of the names
of the sons of Israel.... as stones for the remembrance of the Israelite people, whose names
Aaron shall carry upon his two shoulder-pieces for remembrance before the LORD." (Ex. 28:11-12)

 

Why does the High Priest's special outfit include two gemstones engraved with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, six per shoulder? The Torah says they are for "remembrance," and rabbinic midrash (Ex. Rabbah 38:8) clarifies that the tribes' names will help the Holy One of Blessing remember their righteousness. Medieval and modern commentaries bring in Ps. 115:12, "The Lord has remembered us and will bless us," in support of the idea that God is eager to hear about every part of the Israelite people in order to bless them.

This coming Shabbat morning we have a special guest speaker, TI's own Ariella Kovach, who will talk about her experiences studying in Israel during and in the aftermath of October 7. Even those of us who've been following the news and keeping in touch with our own Israel connections can benefit from hearing Ariella's first-person account. The more we hear about and remember our Jewish family in Israel, the more, we pray, they will be blessed.

A Message from Cantor Marx

 

 

 

 

 

Among the visible items one notices when walking to any synagogue is the “ner tamid”, or the eternal light. The concept of the "ner tamid" holds a central place in our tradition, symbolizing the enduring presence of God and the perpetuity of the covenant between God and the people of Israel. The origins of the eternal light trace back to the instructions given in the Torah for the construction and maintenance of the Tabernacle (Mishkan) and later the Temple in Jerusalem. In Exodus 27:20-21, right at the beginning of this week's parashah, Tetzaveh, God commands Moses to ensure that a lamp fueled by pure olive oil burns continuously in the Tabernacle, attended to by Aaron and his descendants.

In modern times, the eternal light remains a visible symbol within our religious practice and communal life. While the physical Temple is destroyed, the concept of the “ner tamid” persists in synagogues worldwide. Typically located above the ark containing the Torah scrolls, the “ner tamid” serves as a visual reminder of God's eternal presence and unique relationship with “Am Yisrael”. Beyond its symbolic significance, the eternal light also provides a focal point for congregational worship and reflection.

In contemporary Jewish thought, the eternal light continues to evoke themes of spiritual enlightenment, commitment to divine service, and the eternal bond between God and all of us. In an ever-changing world, the eternal flame remains a firm symbol of God's enduring love and the eternal promise of redemption for our people.

 

Sat, March 2 2024 22 Adar I 5784