Tetzaveh 5778

Thursday, February 22, 2018

If one looks at the order of the vessels and clothing made for the Mishkan, one would see that one final vessel was made at the very end. This was the golden altar which was used for bringing the incense ("ketores" in Hebrew). Why was it mentioned after everything else had been completed? It should have been mentioned along with the other vessels such as the menorah and table.
The Ramban explains that this was to teach Bnei Yisroel that their service was not complete yet. Right before the golden altar is mentioned, Hashem sums up the Mishkan and says it will allow Him to dwell among the nation. However, there would be an additional service to carry out: bringing the incense twice a day for His honor. As we learn later on in the Torah, the incense had the special ability to stop plagues and combat G-d's harsh judgment. The Seforno adds that the incense's job was not to bring G-d's presence into the Mishkan like the other vessels, nor was it to bring His physical expression of existence into the Mishkan as the sacrifices did. This was to show honor to Him after He accepted the sacrifices.
What we can take away from this Ramban is the idea that we are never done with our service to G-d. Once we finish one thing, we move onto the next item on our list of duties. For example, on the day of Purim itself we begin learning the laws of Pesach, which takes place a month later. We prepare for the next holiday as we wrap up another. We also see this idea when we finish a Masechta of Gemara. In the concluding prayer, we mention that we will return and re-learn what we just completed and hope that we will be able to go on and finish many others as well. We continue to grow and move upwards in our service of G-d as well as ourselves.
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