Parashat Tetzaveh continues with the list of instructions about building the Mishkan. This week the focus is on the Kohanim, their clothes and their dedication ceremony. This was a one-off event, yet one word pops up continuously in the Parshat Tezaveh. This word encapsulates an entire philosophy in understanding Judaism. Let’s find out more.
Parashat Tetzaveh Summary
- The lighting of the menorah
- The clothes of the Kohanim
- The dedication ceremony of the Kohanim
Fun fact; Parashat Tetzaveh is the only parsha that from the time we meet Moshe until his death that the name Moshe is absent.
One word repeats itself throughout this week’s Parasha. The word is tamid תמיד – which means continuous or daily. This word is used to describe the Kohein’s obligation to light the menorah on a daily basis. It is used to describe the daily sacrifices offered on the altar every morning and evening.
What Does This תמיד Tamid Term Mean?
תמיד means doing something continuously. As part of the daily routine. Never faltering, never stopping. Pushing on and pushing through even when there is a lack of motivation.
One of the challenges we face is finding inspiration in the mundane. To be motivated within the daily grind. It is easy to be inspired at the big moments. There is energy and excitement when a Chag arrives. The shuls are full-on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. But on an average Tuesday? That certainly is a challenge.
The Torah offers us an answer. Become a Tamid Jew. Find inspiration in the mundane. In the quiet moments of an average day.
The truth is, that there is no such thing as an average day – every day is unique. Some days have greatness attached to them. Others are the rungs that we need to climb in order to enjoy the great events.
Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers, postulates that in order to achieve greatness one needs 10,000 hours of practice. If one is learning how to read Hebrew or to play an instrument. It takes 10,000 to achieve a level of proficiency. This cannot be in chunks. Rather needs to be continuous practice on a regular basis.
Practice, Practice, Practice
When I teach my bar mitzvah boys I emphasize that all they need to do is 5 minutes of practice each day. This does not sound like much, yet so many of them struggle to find the time. Often a full week goes by with no practice.
Our sages, in Ethics of the fathers, teach us an important principle: Shammai said, “Make your Torah study fixed.” (Pirkei Avot 1:15) We need to fix a set time to study Torah. If we don’t have a set time we will not study daily.
This is the secret of success. We need to become a Tamid Jew. One who doesn’t necessarily study for hours at a time, rather, sets aside time on a daily basis.
Slow and steady wins the race
It is wonderful to behold. Every day the Tamid Jew will chip away at a book of learning. Over time they find that they have completed a tractate of Talmud. A book of Halacha. Even an entire library of books. As Aesop’s fable of the tortoise and hare states, “Slow and steady wins the race.”
Parashat Tetzaveh-The Committed Jew
In acts of kindness, the Tamid Jew searches for ways to daily make a difference. The Tamid Jews ask, how can I help you? He searches for these opportunities to assist.
It is no wonder that being referred to as a Tamid Jew, remains one of the greatest accolades and crown that a Jew can possess. Happy is the one who has achieved this level of commitment to their Judaism.
Parashat Tetzaveh describes what is required to function as a Kohein, the special garments that they were to wear. The special roles that they were to perform. In the center, the word Tamid appears. The Kohanim were expected to serve Hashem on a daily basis with enthusiasm and awe. Each and every one of us need to strive to serve Hashem in the same way. Imagine a world filled with people seeking to grow spiritually daily. What a wonderful world it would be.