Isn’t it always the case that when something really challenging comes up in our lives, we have some decisions to make about what we will do? We pray. We ponder. We draw boundaries. But most of all: we rise. At some point we rise to the challenge. It might be years later after much struggle and pain but these challenges define our very essence. This week’s reading, Tetzaveh: Exodus 27:20-30:10 shows us why. It starts:
“You shall command the children of Israel, and they shall take to you pure olive oil, crushed for the luminary, to kindle the lamps … ” (Exodus 27:20)
Sometimes we can overlook old language as just a flowery way of saying something but it is not so with the Torah. Any time things are worded in an interesting way it is because there is a hidden meaning that goes much deeper. This is why studying it can never get old. It is like a bottomless well of information and insight into our lives and emotions!
Just reading that line above it very well might on the surface mean exactly what it says. I mean – ok Moses – demand some olive oil from your people and use it to light the menorah. Pretty simple right? Except that it isn’t that simple.
The words ‘crushed for the luminary’ stand out. Olive oil is made from olives pressed to squeeze the oil out. Usually when the Torah mentions anything about light it has to do with our souls. We all have a unique and holy soul bursting with goodness and light which defines us but it is generally buried deep inside…and is elusive to most. This is why we often say – I am lost and really trying hard to find my purpose in life. We wonder aimlessly when all the while our purpose is buried deep within.
But what happens when we combine the two? So to summarize: we are crushed under the weight of life’s challenges and only when we rise to that challenge will our pure and real soul filled with purpose and strength be illuminated! BOOM! G-d is basically telling Moses why He gives us the challenges he does. It is out of love and in the hopes it will help us rise to be the most ‘whole’ person we can be. So when life is crushing you, try applying Harmony along with your prayers for the feeling of being CRUSHED and say ‘I rise’ as you apply it to your chest. Know there is a reason for this challenge and that this challenge is a blessing because it is going to help shape you into who you are supposed to be.
Our actions mirror our beliefs
Every single day is an opportunity to get to know ourselves better. As we learned above, our challenges given to us by G-d are there to help us grow spiritually. There are only two ways we can go: sometimes we rise up the ladder and sometimes we fall down. Our actions really do mirror our belief. In this week’s reading we also learn about what our high priests should wear to encounter G-d and serve the people in various rituals.
Their clothing is so symbolic of respect for a higher power in G-d. What did you put on today? Did it demonstrate how you respect yourself and other’s around you? Modesty isn’t archaic, it’s downright feminine. What we do has power: the power to draw positive or negative attention. When feeling like you aren’t respecting yourself, try applying Hope to the bridge of your nose. The other side of feeling a lack of respect is to honor. Say “I allow myself to be real” while applying Hope. If you start to believe you are an honorable person, doesn’t it stand to reason that you will be honorable?
Another amazing thing on the high priest’s clothing are tiny bells in the shape of pomegranates. Pomegranates are rumored to have 613 seeds which represent all the mitzvot (good deeds and commandments which need to be done – oh yes there are way more than just 10 commandments) in the Torah. However, pomegranates used here also show us that we are not perfect. Pomegranates have so many seeds separated by a tough membrane. We are human. We struggle quite a bit on our spiritual paths as we face the challenges handed down to us by G-d. When I feel a strong sense of struggle, I apply Abundance while saying “I accept my emotions” to the top right of my skull. Sometimes the path is so murky but doing this can bring some clarity to our struggles.
How amazing that Tetzaveh ends on a note of beautiful scent. The last thing discussed is the incense altar. Did you know that the high priest was the only one allowed in to burn the holy incense? Even the angels were not allowed in. These scents were pleasing to G-d and demonstrated His love for us and His partnership with us as His chosen people. I am eager to learn more about these amazing scents in the weeks to come. There is so much more to scent than meets the eye!
Wrap up: Oils to add to your prayers
- Harmony for feeling Crushed. The other side is to Expand. Say “I rise” while applying a drop of Harmony across the chest.
- Hope for a lack of Respect. The other side is Honor. Say “I allow myself to be real” while applying Hope to the bridge of the nose.
- Abundance for Struggle. The other side is Clarity. Say “I accept my emotions” while applying Abundance to the top right of the skull.