RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Pentateuch
Parashah # 20: Tetzaveh (You are to Order)
By: Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr
The 5 senses can be an amazing time machine. Sometimes I am in a crowd of people and get a whiff of a particular perfume I haven’t smelled in years and depending on what brand the perfume is, it may remind me of an ex-girlfriend or my grandmother. With just a scent my heart, mind and emotions are transported back to a pleasant place and time in my past and in my minds eye I can see surroundings, faces and sounds connected to that sent, as clear as if I was there.
Likewise, different types of light can affect my mood and emotions. Halogen light for me is such a violent assault on my eyes and tends to make me annoyed and angry. Certain florescent light gives me a head ache or makes me feel nauseous. So what is the big deal about the light of the menorah and the burning incense? It shows us that worship and service is just as much physical as it is spiritual. How even though our faith is not dependant upon feelings and emotion, nevertheless they can be an important tool and ally in the worship of Elohim.
Just as certain fragrances imprint a memory forever upon our beings, so too Adonai desires to connect a particular scent to Him and thus is but one reason why we are not permitted to burn any other concoction of incense in worship to YHWH.
Exodus 30:9 Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon.
Likewise light can be an important part of setting a favorable ambiance for worship. Candle or lamp light is warm, inviting, easy on the eyes and seems to, by nature, draw one into its warmth, cheer and natural romanticism. HaShem desires our whole being and complete intimacy; body, soul and spirit. Is it any wonder that it is practically a universally accepted definition of a romantic evening is candle light and flowers?
Don’t you get it? The Tabernacle and its various ceremonies is not about religious ritual or rote, but is a romantic dinner date at HaShem’s House.
YHWH is all about detail, setting the right atmosphere and mood when it comes to intimacy with Him.
Ezk. 43:11 And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them.
Incense is closely related to prayer and prayer is symbolic of intimacy with Adonai.
Luke 1:9-11 According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
Rev. 8:1-6 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
With intimacy comes Revelation which produces even greater intimacy. It is clear YHWH has done everything possible to make it so easy to be intimate with Him. He wants to be close to you, he wants to share intimate and revelatory things with you. Will you give yourself fully over to His love and courtship of you?
Shabbat Shalom and Shavuah Tov!
-- Rabbi Yehudah
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