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Feb 19/20: Parasha Tetzaveh

rabbipaulsmlShabbat comes in 5.07pm: goes out 6.12pm

In this week’s parasha, we read about the breastpiece, “choshen mishpat”, worn by the high priest, Kohen gadol.  Twelve different gemstones, called the “Urim ve’ Turim”,  were affixed to it.  On each stone was engraved the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.  They were placed in the pouch on the priest’s chest “so that they are over Aaron’s heart when he comes before the Lord” (28:30).
On the verse, “Aaron shall carry the justice of the Israelites over his heart,” one commentator explains that it refers to when Aaron had to act like a judge. When a judge must render a legal decision regarding a dispute between two people, he is forbidden to decide solely by the feelings of his heart, for then it is possible that sometimes a distorted judgement will result.  When a wealthy person is suing a poor person, and the feelings of the heart incline toward judging in favor of the pauper, but in fact, according to the law, the rich man is right, then it is up to the judge to overcome his feelings and to decide against the pauper.
This is what it means when it says, “Aaron shall carry justice for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord at all times”— above his heart, law and justice determine and not the heart alone.
Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Paul Arberman
February 18, 2016