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   by Jacob Solomon

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And you (Moses) bring Aaron… and his sons with him - to be priests to me (in the Tabernacle) (28:1).

The Parasha opens with the sacred oil, and the details of the garments worn by the high priest and regular priests in the Tabernacle and (following the commentaries) later on in the Temple.

The priests were to officiate daily in the Temple service, a 'place of appointment' between G-d and the people (29:43). The commentators state the reason that this privilege went to Moses' brother, Aaron rather than to Moses himself. It was because it was Aaron that acted as a spokesman for his people during their sufferings in Egypt. As Moses put it to G-d: 'I am not a man of words… for I speak heavily and with difficulty' (4:10). Therefore Moses did the instructing and Aaron did the speaking (7:2).

In addition, Moses' not being directly involved with the daily operations of the Tabernacle teaches a very important lesson in leadership. Appropriate leadership for people comes in different form. One is inspirational. They have charisma, which, well-applied, inspires other people to find their own best qualities and employ them towards serving the community to maximum effect. Another type is executive. Those have their job description, as it were, and their brief is to carry it out to the letter - precisely, and with the right impact and aura. And the third is involvement. That is the people who are positively uplifted by that combination and feel spiritually the better each time they come into contact with that combination of people.

The situation may be compared to a large, dynamic, and successful kehilla. The leading rav inspires, through his drashot, shiurim, and individual counseling given to the community. The sheliach tzibur presents the set liturgy in a way that enthuses and arouses the congregation to focus on the content of the tefilla. The gabaim allocate the mitzvoth fairly, and with the shamash, ensure that the edifice is presented cleanly and tidily.

All those people are communal leaders - but all have specific roles. The genius of successful communal leadership lies in the right people for the right roles, and their working in harmony towards shared and positive objectives.

This lesson may be learnt from this Parasha. Moses' initial service (29:1-37) inspired the Tabernacle - the point of intense spirituality, from which G-d would 'dwell amongst the Israelites (29:45). But Moses' real task was to inspire the nation in other ways. It was not to be involved in the details. There were other leaders for that - namely the priests and the Levites, which were given set guidelines within which to carry out their duties to maximum effect…

For those looking for more comprehensive material, questions and answers on the Parasha may be found at and on the material on the Haftara at .

Written by Jacob Solomon. Tel 02 673 7998. E-mail: for any points you wish to raise and/or to join those that receive this Parasha sheet every week.

Parashiot from the First, Second, and Third Series may be viewed on the Shema Yisrael web-site:

Also by Jacob Solomon:
From the Prophets on the Haftara

Test Yourself - Questions and Answers


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