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In last week's parsha, Terumah, we read the details of the construction of the Mishkan, the sanctuary in the desert (later replaced by the Bais Hamikdash when the Jews reached Eretz Yisroel, may it be rebuilt speedily in our days).

This week we read about the equipment contained in the Mishkan and their use, and the priestly garments worn by the Kohanim in their service in the Mishkan, and the Kohanim's consecration and their service.

The first aliyah describes the olive oil used for the Menorah. Instructions are given that the Menorah was to be kept burning continually.

Aharon and his sons are appointed as priests in this aliyah and their priestly garments are described here. The garments consisted of a breastplate, an ephod (Rashi describes this to be like an apron), a robe, a tunic, a tall cap, and a girdle.

The second aliyah describes the making of the Choshen Mishpat (breastplate of judgment). It is formed of four rows, each row made up of three precious stones, for a total of twelve stones, one for each tribe. The Choshen Mishpat contained the Urim Tumim, a parchment on which is written G-d's Divine Name.

The third aliyah contains detailed instructions on how to make the clothes of Aharon and his sons that they were to wear while ministering in the sanctuary. Aharon's service was in the Holy of Holies, and his sons' service was elsewhere in the sanctuary, such as, working with the Mizbeach (the altar).

The fourth aliyah describes the procedure for consecrating Aharon and his sons for the service of ministering in the priests' office. The procedure consists of bringing Aharon and his sons to the door of the sanctuary, immersing them in a mikvah, then dressing them in the priestly garments described in the previous aliyah, then offering a sin-offering followed by a fire-offering.

The fifth aliyah continues to describe the consecration of Aharon and his sons. A procedure is detailed that is to be done to Aharon and his sons followed by another fire offering and then a wave offering. Aharon's descendants are ordained here to inherit the priesthood. This procedure of consecration lasted seven days.

The sixth aliyah commands the continual burnt offering of one lamb in the morning and one in the evening to be performed throughout our generations. Until the Bais Hamikdash is rebuilt, may it be speedily in our days, we substitute the "Korbonos" prayers, in our daily prayers, for the daily morning and afternoon offerings.

At the end of the aliyah, G-d says that He will dwell among the children of Israel, and be to us a G-d.

The seventh aliyah describes the making of the incense altar and that it should be placed before the veil that is in front of the Holy of Holies (Kedosh Kedoshim). The Kohanim are to burn incense there every morning when they dress the Menorah and every evening when they light the Menorah, throughout our generations. We are warned to not burn any "strange incense" on it.


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