The JPS Rashi Discussion Torah Commentary

By Steven; Sarah Levy | Go to book overview

TETSAVVEH

❖ Good to the First Drop
Parashat Tetsaweh begins with a description of the oil used for kindling the menorah (the Tabernacle’s seven-branched candelabrum):

You shall further instruct the Israelites to bring you clear oil
of beaten olives for lighting, for kindling lamps regularly.
(Exod. 27:20)

Rashi elaborates on the special process for making the oil:

beaten: He must crush the olives in a mortar, but he may
not grind them in a mill, so that they will not contain
sediment. After he has extracted the first drop [of oil],
he places them [the olives] into a mill and grinds them.
The [resulting] second oil is unfit for the menorah but
is fit for meal offerings, as it states: “beaten [olives]
for lighting,” but not beaten for meal offerings. (Rashi,
Exod. 27:20)

Rashi explains that only the purest oil was suitable for the menorah. Not only was the oil to be extracted using a mortar rather than a mill (which would result in sediment), but only the first drop of oil from each olive could be used. Given that the menorah contained seven lamps, each holding half a log (about ten ounces or 4,800 drops) of oil (see Rashi, v. 21), the daily consumption of seventy ounces required 33,600 olives! This arduous process for producing the oil was testament to the importance of its purpose: kindling the menorah.People tend to exert themselves in the areas of life—such as relationships, health, intellect, and religion—important to them. We may be able to gain insight into what we value by examining where we invest our time and effort to the utmost.
Questions for Discussion
1. Describe a time you invested considerable effort to achieve something unique. What purpose or value motivated your actions?
2. What are your three most time-consuming activities each week? Do these accurately reflect what is most important to you? If not, how do you hope to spend your time in the future?
3. Rashi explains that only the purest of oil befitted the sacred task of kindling the menorah. Can you relate to the idea of purity in service of sanctity?

❖ Always on My Mind

The parashah describes the clothing and sacrifices accompanying the inauguration of the priests (kohanim). Aaron was the first

-62-

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The JPS Rashi Discussion Torah Commentary
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • Introduction - Introducing Rashi xv
  • Genesis 1
  • Bere’shit 3
  • NoaḤ 6
  • Lekh Lekha 9
  • Va-Yera’ 12
  • Hayyei Sarah 15
  • Toledot 18
  • Va-Yetse’ 21
  • Va-YishlaḤ 24
  • Va-Yeshev 27
  • Mikkets 30
  • Va-Yiggash 33
  • Va-YeḤi 36
  • Exodus 39
  • Shemot 41
  • Val-‘Era’ 44
  • Bo’ 47
  • Be-ShallaḤ 50
  • Yitro 53
  • Mishpatim 56
  • Terumah 59
  • Tetsavveh 62
  • Ki Tissa’ 65
  • Va-Yak’Hel 68
  • Pekudei 71
  • Leviticus 75
  • Va-Yikra’ 77
  • Tsav 80
  • Shemini 83
  • Tazria’ 86
  • Metsora’ 90
  • ’AḤarei Mot 93
  • Kedoshim 97
  • ‘Emor 100
  • Be-Har 103
  • Be-Ḥukkotai 106
  • Numbers 111
  • Be-Midbar 113
  • Naso’ 116
  • Be-Ha’Alotekha 120
  • ShelaḤ-Lekha 123
  • KoraḤ 127
  • Ḥukkat 130
  • Balak 134
  • PinḤas 138
  • Mattot 141
  • Mase’Ei 144
  • Deuteronomy 147
  • Devarim 149
  • Va-EtḤannan 152
  • ‘Ekev 156
  • Re’Eh 160
  • Shofetim 163
  • Ki Tetse’ 167
  • Ki Tavo’ 171
  • Nits Avim/Va-Yelekh 174
  • Ha’Azinu 177
  • Ve-Zo’t Ha-Berakhah 181
  • Subject Index 185
  • Index of Sources 189
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