Parshas Tetzaveh

Words in bold represent changes to the traditional translation based on the Aramaic translation/commentary attributed to Onkelos the Ger.

Parshas Tetzaveh


20. You shall command the children of Israel and they will take to you clear olives oil, beaten for lighting, to kindle the lamps continually.

21. Aharon and his sons shall arrange it in the Tent of Meeting, outside the drape that is on (the Ark of) the testimony, from evening until morning before Hashem. It shall be an eternal statute to their generations from the children of Israel.

Chapter 28

1. You shall bring to yourself your brother Aharon and his sons with him from among the children of Israel to minister before Me: Aharon, Nadav and Avihu, Elazar and Isamar, the sons of Aharon.

2. Make holy garments for your brother Aharon, for honor and glory.

3. You shall speak to all who are wise of heart, whom I have filled[1] with a spirit of wisdom; they will make Aharon’s garments to sanctify him to minister unto Me.

4. These are the garments that they shall make: a breastplate, an apron, a robe, a checked tunic, a turban and a belt. They shall make holy garments for your brother Aharon and for his sons, to minister unto Me.

5. They shall take the gold, the blue, purple and red wool, and the fine linen.

6. They shall make the apron of gold, of blue, purple, and red wool, and of fine twisted linen – the work of an artisan.

7. It shall have two shoulder (piece)s attached on its two ends, and it shall be attached.

8. And the decorative band that is upon it shall be like its work from it: gold, blue, purple, and red wool, and fine twisted linen.

9. Take two lazuli stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Yisroel,

10. six of their names on the one stone, and the names of the remaining six on the second stone, according to their births.

11. The work of an engraver of fine[2] stone, clear script like the engravings of a seal you shall engrave on the two stones with the names of the sons of Yisroel; make them bordered them with gold settings.

12. Place the two stones on the shoulder-pieces of the apron – remembrance stones for the children of Israel. Aharon shall bear their names before Hashem on his two shoulders as a remembrance.


13. Make settings of gold

14. and two chains of pure gold. Make them attached, braided work, and place the braided chains on the settings.

15. You shall make a breastplate of judgment, the work of an artisan. Make it like the work of the apron; make it of gold, blue, purple, and red wool, and fine twisted linen.

16. It shall be square and doubled, its length a span and its width a span.

17. Fill in it stone fillings, four rows of fine stones. The first row carnelian,[3] topaz and emerald – one row.

18. The second row: turquoise, sapphire and amethyst.

19. The third row: jacinth, agate and crystal.

20. The fourth row: beryl, onyx and jasper. They shall be framed with gold in their settings.

21. The stones will be for the names of the sons of Yisroel – 12 according to their names. The engravings of a seal, each according to his name they shall be, for the 12 tribes.

22. On the breastplate make chains for the borders of braided work in pure gold.

23. Make on the breastplate two rings of gold; place the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate,

24. and place the two gold braids on the two rings at the ends of the breastplate.

25. Place the two ends of the two braids on the two frames and place it on the shoulder-pieces of the apron, towards its front.

26. Make two gold rings and place them on the two ends of the breastplate, on its edge that faces the apron inward.

27. Make two rings of gold and place them on the two shoulders of the ephod below, towards the front, adjacent to its seam above the apron’s band.

28. The breastplate shall be attached from its rings to the rings of the apron by a blue cord, to be on the band of the apron and the breastplate will not move from the apron.

29. Aharon will carry the names of the sons of Yisroel on the breastplate of judgment on his heart when he comes to the sanctuary, as a remembrance before Hashem always.

30. Place the urim and tumim in the breastplate of judgment and they will be on Aharon’s heart when he comes before Hashem. Aharon will carry the judgment of the children of Israel on his heart before Hashem always.


31. Make the robe of the apron completely of blue (wool).

32. The opening at its top shall be folded inward; a row shall surround the opening all around, the work of a weaver, like the opening of a coat of mail (that)[4] doesn’t tear.[5]

33. On its hem make pomegranates of blue, purple and red wool, on its hem all around, and bells of gold between them[6] all around:

34. a gold bell and a pomegranate, a gold bell and a pomegranate, on the hem of the robe all around.

35. It shall be on Aharon to officiate and its sound[7] will be heard when he comes into the sanctuary before Hashem and when he exits, and he won’t die.

36. You shall make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it the engraving of a seal, “Holy to Hashem.”

37. Place it on a blue cord and it will be on the turban; it shall be facing the front of the turban.

38. It shall be on Aharon’s place of his eyes[8] and Aharon will bear sins[9] of the holy things that the children of Israel sanctify, for all their sacred holy gifts. It will be on the place of his eyes always, for favor to them before Hashem.

39. You shall make the checkered tunic[10] of fine linen. You shall make the turban of fine linen. Make the belt the work of an embroiderer.

40. And for Aharon’s sons make tunics, and make belts for them, and make hats for them, for honor and for glory.

41. Dress them on your brother Aharon and his sons with him; anoint them and bring their offerings,[11] and sanctify them to minister before Me.

42. Make for them linen knickers to cover naked flesh; they shall be from loins to thighs.

43. They shall be on Aharon and on his sons when they come to the Tent of Meeting or when they draw near the altar to officiate in the sanctuary, and they won’t bear a sin and die. It shall be an eternal statute for him and for his descendants[12] after him.

Chapter 29


1. This is the thing that you shall do to them to sanctify them to minister unto Me: take one young bull and two rams, (all) without blemish;

2. and unleavened bread, unleavened loaves mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil; make them of fine wheat flour.

3. Place them on one basket and bring them near in the basket, and the bull and the two rams.

4. Bring Aharon and his sons near to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, and wash them in water.

5. Take the garments and dress Aharon with the tunic, the robe of the apron, the apron, and the breastplate; gird him with the band of the apron.

6. Place the turban on his head and place the holy crown on the turban.

7. Take the anointing oil, pour it on his head and anoint him.

8. Bring his sons near and dress them with tunics.

9. Gird them (with) belts[13] – Aharon and his sons. Arrange (the) hats for them and priesthood will be theirs as an eternal statute. Offer Aharon’s sacrifice and the sacrifice of his sons.

10. Bring the bull near before the Tent of Meeting and Aharon and his sons shall lay their hands on the bull’s head.

11. Slaughter the bull before Hashem at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.

12. Take from the bull’s blood and place it on the horns of the altar with your finger. All (the rest of) the blood; pour out on the base of the altar.

13. Take all the fat that covers the entrails, the lobe[14] that is on the liver, and the two kidneys with the fat on them, and make them smoke on the altar.

14. The bull’s flesh, its hide and its dung shall be burned in fire outside the camp; it is a sin offering.

15. Take one ram and Aharon and his sons shall lay their hands on the ram’s head.

16. Slaughter the ram, take its blood and throw it on[15] the altar all around.

17. Separate the ram into its limbs; wash its entrails and legs, and put (them) on its limbs and on its head.

18. Cause all of the ram to smoke on the altar; it is a burnt offering before Hashem, to be accepted with favor,[16] it is a sacrifice[17] before Hashem.


19. Take the second ram and Aharon and his sons shall lay their hands on the ram’s head.

20. Slaughter the ram; take from its blood and place it on the tip[18] of Aharon’s right ear and on the tips of his sons’ right ears, on the thumb of their right hands and on the big toe of their right feet. Throw the rest of the blood on the altar all around.

21. Take from the blood that is on the altar and from the anointing oil; sprinkle on Aharon and on his garments, and on his sons and on his sons’ garments with him. He and his garments, and his sons and his sons’ garments will be sanctified.

22. You shall take from the ram, the fat tail, the fat that covers the entrails, the lobe of the liver, the two kidneys with the fat on them and the right thigh because this is a ram of sacrifices.[19]

23. And one loaf of bread, one loaf of oil bread and one wafer from the basket of unleavened breads that is before Hashem.

24. Place everything on Aharon’s palms and on his sons’ palms, and wave them as a wave offering before Hashem.

25. Take them from their hands and make them smoke on the altar, on the burnt offering, to be accepted with favor, it is a sacrifice before Hashem.

26. Take the breast of Aharon’s ram of sacrifices and wave it as a wave offering before Hashem; it shall be for you as a portion.

27. Sanctify the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the heave offering that was waved and that was raised from the ram of sacrifices, from what is Aharon’s and what is his sons’.

28. It shall be for Aharon and for his sons as an eternal statute from the children of Israel, for it is a gift, and a gift it shall be from the children of Israel, from their peace-offering sacrifices, their gift to Hashem.

29. The holy garments that are Aharon’s will be his sons’ after him, to be anointed in them and to fill their hand in them.

30. Seven days the priest after him[20] from his sons, shall wear them, (the one) who comes to Tent of Meeting to officiate in the sanctuary.

31. Take the ram of sacrifices and cook its flesh in a holy place;

32. Aharon and his sons shall eat the ram’s flesh and the bread that is in the basket at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.

33. They shall eat them, that which atoned for them, to bring their offering to sanctify them. An outsider shall not eat (them) because they’re holy.

34. If (any) of the flesh of sacrifices or (any) of the bread remains until morning, you shall burn what remains in fire. It shall not be eaten because it is holy.

35. Thus shall you do to Aharon and his sons, according to all that I have commanded you. Seven days you shall bring their offering.

36. A bull sin offering you shall make each day for atonement; you shall purify the altar through your atonement on it, and you shall anoint it to sanctify it.

37. Seven days you shall atone on the altar and sanctify it, and the altar will be most holy[21]. Whatever touches the altar shall be sanctified.


38. This is what you shall offer[22] on the altar: two year-old lambs each day, always.

39. Offer one lamb in the morning and offer the second lamb at twilight.

40. And a tenth of fine flour mixed with a quarter-hin of beaten oil, and a libation a quarter-hin of wine for the one lamb.

41. You shall offer the second lamb at twilight, like the flour offering of the morning and like its libation you shall make for it, to be accepted with favor, a sacrifice before Hashem.

42. A continual burnt offering for your generations at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting before Hashem, that My word will meet with you there, to speak with you there.

43. There I will meet with the children of Israel and I[23] will be sanctified by My honor.

44. I will sanctify the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and I will sanctify Aharon and his sons to minister unto Me.

45. I will cause My presence to dwell among the children of Israel and I will be God to them.

46. They will know that I, Hashem, am their God, Who brought them from the land of Egypt to cause My presence to dwell among them. I am Hashem, their God.

Chapter 30


1. You shall make an altar to smoke on it incense of spices; make it of acacia wood.

2 Its length a cubit and its width a cubit – it shall be square – and its height two cubits, its horns of it.[24]

3. Overlay it with pure gold – its roof, its sides all around about and its horns. Make for it a gold crown all around.

4. Make two gold rings for it under its crown on its two corners; make (them) on its two sides and it shall be a place[25] for poles with which to carry it.

5. Make the poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold.

6. Place it before the drape that is on the Ark of the testimony, before the cover that is on the testimony, that I will meet with you there.

7. Aharon shall smoke incense of spices on it; each morning[26] when he cleans the lamps he shall make it smoke.

8. When Aharon lights the lamps at twilight he shall make it smoke, eternal incense before Hashem for your generations.

9. Do not light incense of strange spices[27] on it, or a burnt offering, or a flour offering, and a libation you shall not pour on it.

10. Aharon shall atone on its horns once a year with blood of the sin offering of atonement; once a year he shall atone on it for your generations. It is most holy before Hashem.

[1] Onkelos changes this phrase from singular to plural.

[2] Onkelos insert this word so that the reader should not think it means a stonemason.

[3] There’s no clear consensus as to the identities of the 12 stones, neither based on the Chumash nor on the Targum. We’re pretty much just going to leave them alone here.

[4] In some versions of Onkelos. Otherwise, “(so that) it not be torn.”

[5] As opposed to “it shall not be torn.” (See Rashi.)

[6] Rather than “among them.”

[7] Literally, voice.

[8] i.e., the forehead, probably intended to specify centered between the eyes.

[9] Onkelos changes this word from singular to plural.

[10] Literally, “checker the tunic.”

[11] Rather than “fill their hand.”

[12] Rather than “seed.”

[13] Onkelos makes this word plural.

[14] Or, the diaphragm.

[15] i.e., against.

[16] Rather than “a pleasing odor.”

[17] As opposed to “a fire offering.”

[18] The meaning of the Hebrew is unclear.

[19] Rather than “of perfection.” (See Rashi.)

[20] Literally, under him.

[21] Literally, holy of holies.

[22] Literally, make.

[23] Rather than “it.”

[24] i.e., all of one piece with it.

[25] Rather than “they shall be houses.”

[26] Literally, “in the morning, in the morning.”

[27] As opposed to “strange incense.”

© Copyright 2021 Rabbi Jack Abramowitz