Parshas Tetzaveh – A Faithful Shepherd

By Shalom Olensky


This week in the Torah:

“You shall command the Children of Israel to bring you pure olive oil [made by a process of] beating [the olives] so that it may be for a luminary, raising a constant lamp [the Menorah].” (Exodus 27:20)


Since the Menorah was meant to be lit by Aaron, why was the oil to be brought to Moses?


Moses is called “The Faithful Shepherd” (also) because it is he who nurtures the faith of the Jews, his flock. This applies to all Jewish spiritual leaders as well. Moses, and those like him, nurture the faith of the Jews in the following three ways:

  1. By teaching the Jews to have firm knowledge of G-d.
  2. By inspiring the Jews to show self-sacrifice for their faith.
  3. By teaching the Jews to feel broken so long as G-d does not reveal Himself.

(The latter level affects all Jews, at all times, even while experiencing material and spiritual “wealth.”)

The common denominator of these three levels of leadership is in the method; by revealing in the Jew the Essence of his Soul, as it is bound to G-d.


There is a difference between the first two levels and the third. The first two, are Moses’ (and those similar to him) contribution. The third, requires the work of the individual Jew in sensitizing himself to feel broken by the concealment of G-dliness.


This third element reveals a higher level of the Essence of the Soul, so that even the relatively external dimensions of the Soul, its variety of feelings, are all in sync with their Essence.

Since this is more than just Moses’ contribution, rather it is the individual’s addition, it is as if the Jew is bringing an ingredient of light, “oil”, to Moses.

(Based on Kuntres Purim Kattan – 5752)


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