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Tetzaveh / תְּצַוֶּה Parsha Overview: Special Uniform, Special Job

New this week – not that I know if anybody is reading these:  I have given up on translating the terms into Hebrew characters.  It was just getting too time-consuming; typing in Hebrew is easy, but adding the vowels – as I had started doing – really isn’t.  If anybody is reading these things, feedback is welcome.  I’d love to think these summaries were helpful to anyone besides me and my kids!

This is a basic overview of the parsha story in a “Q&A” format adaptable for kids of any age. Answers in brackets are traditional responses, from parsha text and midrash. Be open to anything your child might have to say!

Please see the Vayeishev overview for how we use these narratives  in our homeschool.  There are also copywork sheets to go with the weekly parsha… enjoy!

image Do you remember what Hashem told us to do in last week's parsha?


Last week, in Parshas Terumah, Hashem gave us instructions to build… (a Mishkan)!

Hashem told Moshe that if we built a Mishkan... (He would come live with us there!)

Moshe asked for gifts to build the Mishkan (he needed gold, silver, copper, wool, fabric, jewels and oil)

Those gifts would come from… (all the people, not just the wealthy people or the leaders)


  But bnei Yisrael wouldn't put the Mishkan together for almost a year!  There was still a lot to learn…


imageimageWhen the Mishkan was built, Hashem wanted one group to be the leaders there… (the kohanim)

The most important kohen was called the… (kohen gadol); an ordinary kohen was called a kohen hedyot.

For the first kohen gadol when the Mishkan was built, Hashem chose… (Aharon, Moshe's brother)

All the other kohanim would also come from… (the family of Aharon).


Hashem wanted all the kohanim to dress the same way!


I'm sure you've seen people wearing a uniform.  Who wears a uniform?  (police, firefighters, school children, others…)

All those people wear uniforms when they are… (doing their jobs!)

A uniform tells everybody right away… (what job they do) - it also says… (they are proud, and trying to do a good job)

(this is true even for a school uniform - school is a student's job, and hopefully he or she proud of their school!)


The kohanim were proud to do their important job in the Mishkan!


There were four clothes that every kind of kohen (even the kohen gadol) wore:

·         Michnasayim, pants to go under all their clothes

·         Kesones, a tunic - a long shirt worn over the pants

·         Avneit, a long belt to wrap around the kesones and tie it tight

·         Migba'as, a tall hat made of a long strip of fabric (have you ever seen a person from India wearing a turban?)

The kohen gadol had a hat called the… (Mitznefes) - it was the same fabric strip, wound into a "bun" shape.



image The kohen gadol was supposed to look different from all the other kohanim.


There were four extra parts to the clothing of the kohen gadol:

·         The Me'il, an all-blue robe worn over the kesones, with bells and pomegranates all around the hem

·         The Efod, a colourful apron to tie backwards around his kesones

·         The Choshen Mishpat, a woven rectangle, folded in half and worn in front, covered with twelve jewels

·         The Tzitz, a small rectangle of gold with the words "kodesh lashem", worn over his forehead

"Kodesh" means… (holy, special to Hashem!).  The Tzitz reminded him that… (everything he did should be holy!)


The Kohanim couldn't just get into their clothes and start working!


First, Hashem said, they should… (get themselves ready and get the mishkan ready)

Moshe had to put oil on… (Aharon's head) and then all the kohanim would bring korbanos for… (seven days)


Staying close to Hashem keeps our neshama healthy!


Korbanos are a little like medicine, because… (they "heal" bnei Yisrael's connection to Hashem)

There are two ways to use medicine… (healing a person who is already sick, and keeping a person healthy every day)

In Tetzaveh, Hashem gives instructions for korbanos which… (would be brought every day to keep bnei Yisrael "healthy")

Today, we keep ourselves connected to Hashem with… (our careful and regular tefillah, which is like a korban)


image One special kind of korban was ketores, the incense - special smells - that were burnt on a small golden mizbeach.


image Why didn't we learn about this mizbeach in last week's parsha, with the big copper mizbeach?  The Ketores burned right away with a sweet scent Hashem loves.  It's separate from the other parts of the Mishkan to remind us to pay special attention to the sweetest, most wonderful parts of being Jewish!


Unfortunately, bnei Yisrael decided to take on a “building project” that was quite different from the Mishkan… as we’ll see in next week’s parsha, Ki Sisa!


  1. I have been using your Parsha overviews and I love them! They are very helpful for discussion of the Parsha with the kids. I liked the Hebrew because I am trying to learn to read Hebrew along with my kids however transliteration is fine! I have been so glad that I found your website and that you make all this available to other homeschool families.

  2. I use your posts to help me know what my daughter is learning in school and be able to understand her parsha sheets!

  3. Yay for understanding! My kids used to bring home a cheerful illustrated parsha sheet... all in teeny tiny Hebrew letters. I couldn't understand much beyond the names of the major characters. :-)

  4. Somehow I only just discovered that you do these! The kiddo is a little young for my enthusiastic visions of Shabbat table discussion, but that doesn't mean I can't be prepared, right?

  5. They are ostensibly for the kids, but really, I'm so clueless that I think I learn more than they do... I love having a grasp of the basic goings-on each week!


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