As we celebrate Purim this Friday, we will also usher in Shabbat as well. This week we will read Parshat Tezaveh. In this Parsha, instructions on how to construct the clothing of the Kohanim—high priests—are given. In addition to the numerous articles of clothing that the standard priest wears, the Kohein Gadol (High priest), wears some additional garments. The most beautiful of all these articles is the Choshen Mishpat (breastplate). This particular garment was constructed of twelve stones and hung around the chest of priest. When giving the directive for the construction of the breastplate, the Torah says, “And you shall take two Shoham stones and engrave upon them the names of the sons of Israel.” These instructions ensure that each tribe is represented with engravings upon the stones. It is important that all Jews of all tribes are represented by their priest.
The Megillah parallels the idea of the importance of connecting Jews. When Haman convinces Achashevrosh to kill the Jews in his nation, he notes that the nation is scattered and distinct. Esther hears the news of this impending tragedy and says, “gather all the Jews and fast for me.” In the face of death, Esther recognizes that our community is strongest when we are together. She does not choose to scatter; she does not choose to hide; she chooses to unify.
Both Parsha Tetzaveh and the Megillah emphasize the importance of coming together. Whether it is exercising our ability to pray with a priest or facing an impending tragedy, uniting as a people has never failed the Jewish community. It has never been more difficult to come together physically, but by following in the footsteps of Esther, we must at least try. We can do this by giving Mishloach Manot to our neighbors; we can set up a zoom call with our family; we can uphold the tradition of lighting candles on Shabbat, a custom that unites Jews around the world. Whatever we can do that bring us together, we must do it. Our unity is what has kept us alive, and it will also be what will keep us going. This has been BBYO’s mission since its inception. Our movement has connected thousands of teens across the world during the most challenging times, and as long as we keep on doing what we can to come together, we will be fulfilling our duty as Jews and also doing our best to ensure our survival.
Shabbat Shalom and Purim Sameach,
Chaverut Chapter Shlicha
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