Kindling the Candelabrum

27:20 In connection1 with the instructions regarding how to fashion the Candelabrum,2 God told Moses what type of oil would be used for the lamps. “You, Moses, will later3 command the Israelites to bring you olive oil that is clear, i.e., that never had any sediments. This is the oil produced from the olives when they are first crushed in a mortar, before they are pressed or ground.4 Only such oil may be used for illumination, i.e., for the lamps of the Candelabrum. Olive oil produced by pressing or grinding may, however, be used for other purposes in the Tabernacle. Whoever lights the lamps of the Candelabrum should take care to kindle the lamp until the wick catches and will continue to burn by itself. The lamps are to be lit regularly, every evening.

21 Aaron and his sons will set up the lighting apparatus in the Tent of Meeting, i.e., the Tabernacle, outside the Curtain concealing the Ark of Testimony,5 filling the lamps with enough oil so they will burn from evening until morning before God. They are to use half a log of oil each night; this is enough to burn through the long winter nights, and it does not matter if there is leftover oil in the summer. This daily supply of oil will be an everlasting statutory due from the Israelites throughout their generations, whenever the Tabernacle or Temple is standing.

The Priests’ Garments

28:1 After the Tabernacle has been completed, you shall draw your brother Aaron to you from among the Israelites, together with his sons, to minister to Me as priests—Aaron, and with him Nadav, Avihu, Eleazar, and Itamar, the sons of Aaron. In order to function as priests on behalf of the people, they must first become a separate, holier caste, and this will be possible only after the Tabernacle has been erected and they can experience in it something of the proximity to God you are experiencing now, on Mount Sinai. This experience will transform them into priests and enable them to impart this status hereditarily to their offspring.

[2] Once they have become a separate caste, you must then initiate them into the priestly office and Aaron into the office of high priest. This will be accomplished by clothing Aaron’s sons in the priestly garments and Aaron in the garments of the high priest.6 Therefore, you shall have skilled artisans make sacred vestments for your brother Aaron, for dignity and splendor.

3 You shall speak to everyone who is wise of heart, in whom I have invested a spirit of wisdom, and they shall make Aaron’s vestments to consecrate him to minister to Me.

4 These are the vestments that they shall make for the high priest, as will be detailed presently: a Breastplate, an Ephod, a Robe, a Tunic of recessed checkered knit, a Turban, and a Sash for the Tunic. In addition to these six articles of clothing, they shall make him a Forehead-plate7 and linen trousers.8 They shall make these eight sacred vestments for your brother Aaron and four for each of his sons, as will be detailed further on, so that they may minister to Me.

5 The craftsmen shall take some of the gold, the turquoise, purple, and scarlet wool, and the linen you received as donations from the people and use them to make these garments.

The Ephod

6 The Ephod is an apron-like garment designed to endow the high priest with a superior degree of royalty and modesty, commensurate with his greater holiness.9 It is tied by a belt around the waist and covers the lower half of the body, in the back and partly in the front,10 from the waist down to the heels. The artisansshall make the Ephod out of threads composed of 28 strands: there shall be four gold threads, one twined withsix threads of turquoise wool, one twined with six threads of purple wool, one twined with six threads of scarlet wool, and one twined with six threads of twined linen. It shall be made with a woven design, i.e., with a different design one either side of the fabric.

7 It shall have two shoulder straps attached to its top at its two visible ends as seen from the back, i.e., directly under the shoulder blades (even though the apron itself extends around the hips and covers part of the front of the legs). They shall be woven separately out of the same material as the Ephod and then attached by sewing. These straps shall extend upward over the shoulders and hang down on the chest.

8 The belt that fastens it and that is above it shall be made like it, of one piece with it and not woven separately and later attached to it. The fabric of the belt, as that of the apron and the shoulder straps, shall also be woven out 28-strand thread: one gold thread twined with six threads of turquoise wool, one gold thread twined with six threads of purple wool, one gold thread twined with six threads of scarlet wool, and one gold thread twined with six threads of twined linen.

9 You shall have the artisans take the two rectangular11 onyx stones12 and engrave on them the names of the twelve sons of Israel

10 six of their names on one stone, and the remaining six names on the second stone—in the order of their birth. Have them spell Benjamin’s name with both yud’s (as it is was spelled when the name was first given13 ), so that there will be 25 letters on each stone.

11 You shall have them engrave the two stones with the names of Israel’s sons as precisely and clearly as a signet ring is engraved by a jeweler, and you shall have them encase these stones in gold settings.

12 You shall then have them affix the two stones to the front, upper ends of the shoulder straps of the Ephod as stones of remembrance of the righteousness of the sons of Israel. Thus Aaron shall carry their names on his two shoulders before God, that is, whenever he enters the Sanctuary, as a remembrance and source of merit for the people.

Second Reading 13 In order to affix the onyx stones to the upper ends of the Ephod’s shoulder straps, you shall have the artisans make gold settings in which to encase the stones. These settings will then be attached to the shoulder straps.

14 Besides serving as settings for the onyx stones, these settings will also anchor the Breastplate to the Ephod from above, as will be described presently,14 for you will also have the artisans make two braided chains of pure gold, which they will affix at the upper edge of the Breastplate, and you will fasten these braided chains to the gold settings affixed to the upper end of the shoulder straps of the Ephod.

The Breastplate

15 Have the artisans make a Breastplate, to be worn on the high priest’s chest. Aaron merits this garment because he rejoiced in his heart when you were elevated above him to the status of the people’s leader.15 The breastplate atones for miscarriage of justice. Also, as will be explained presently, when a specially-made parchment is inserted into it, it will serve as an oracle through which I will make My will known. For both these reasons, the Breastplate will be known as ‘The Breastplate of Judgment.’ It shall be a piece of fabric two spans (= 1 cubit)16 long and one span (= ½ cubit) wide, of woven design, i.e., with a different design on either side of the fabric. You shall make it of the same 28-strand fabric as the Ephod is made: one gold threadtwined with six threads of turquoise wool, one gold thread twined with six threads of purple wool, one gold thread twined with six threads ofscarlet wool, and one gold thread twined with six threads of twined linen.

16 It shall be square when folded over, a span long and a span wide.

17 Once folded over, you shall have the artisans set it with gems mounted in gold settings attached to the fabric. There shall be four rows of rectangular-shaped17 gems:18 The first row shall be a row containing a carnelian,an emerald, and a topaz.

18 The second row: a carbuncle, a sapphire, and a diamond.

19 The third row: a zircon, an agate, and an amethyst.

20 The fourth row: an aquamarine, an onyx, and a jasper. Each setting shall be made to fit the stone set in it, so that the four rows of stones shall be fully encased in gold in their mountings.

21 The gems shall bear the names of the sons of Israel, all twelve by name; each one’s name shall be engraved as on a signet ring, for all twelve tribes. In order for the Breastplate to function as an oracle, the whole Hebrew alphabet must be on the stones, but the names of the tribes do not include all the letters of the alphabet. To rectify this situation, have the names of the patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—engraved on the first stone above Reuben’s name, and the words for ‘The Tribes of Yeshurun’ engraved on the last stone under Benjamin’s name19 .

[22] You shall have the artisans make two pure gold chains, braided like cords, for attaching the top edge of the Breastplate to the shoulder straps of the Ephod, as follows:

23 You shall have them make two gold rings for the Breastplate and attach the two rings to the two upper corners of the Breastplate.

24 You shall have them run the two gold braids through these two rings on the upper corners of the Breastplate.

25 Then, have them attach the two ends of each of the two braids to the two gold settings that you shall have had them affix towards the front of the shoulder straps of the Ephod20 .

26 In order anchor the bottom of the Breastplate so it does not swing back and forth on the high priest’s stomach, you shall have them make two additional gold rings and attach them to the two lower corners of the Breastplate, i.e., the corners of its edge that faces the Ephod. (The lower edge of the Breastplate may be spoken of as ‘facing the Ephod’ since the apron-part of the Ephod winds forward to cover part of the front of the high priest’s legs, and thus its side-edges are directly underneath the side-edges of the Breastplate.) The rings shall be attached to the inner fold of the Breastplate.

27 You shall then have the artisans make a third set of two gold rings and attach them to the outer edge of the lower ends of the two shoulder straps of the Ephod, i.e., next to where the straps are joined to the top of the Ephod’s back. Have them attach the rings a little above the belt of the Ephod, such that they are level with the rings attached to the bottom of the Breastplate.

[28] They shall link the bottom of the Breastplate by its rings to the rings of the Ephod with a cord of turquoise wool, so that the Breastplate will remain situated firmly above the front of the belt of the Ephod. The Breastplate must not come loose from the Ephod, and it is forbidden for anyone to loosen it.21

29 By wearing the Breastplate and its engraved stones, Aaron will carry the names of Israel’s sons on the Breastplate of Judgment over his heart when he enters the Tabernacle, as a constant remembrance before God.

30 Into the fold of the Breastplate of Judgment you shall place a parchment inscribed with God’s Name. This parchment shall be known as ‘the urim and tumim,’ since it makes the Breastplate into a shining [or] and precise [tamim] oracle: it will cause the letters of the tribal names inscribed on the stones set in the Breastplate to light up in sequence, spelling out the answer to questions of national importance posed by the king or leader. Placed inside the fold of the Breastplate, the urim and tumim shall be over Aaron’s heart whenever he comes before God, i.e.,into the Sanctuary. Thus attired, Aaron shall carry the instrument of judgment for the Israelites over his heart at all times he enters the Sanctuary and stands before God. The Breastplate serves as an oracle only by virtue of the urim and tumim. Nonetheless, they are not an integral component of the Breastplate; if they are missing, the high priest is still considered fully and properly attired despite the fact that the Breastplate cannot function as an oracle.22

The Robe

Third Reading 31 “You shall have the artisans make the Robe, to beworn under the Ephod and girded by it. The Robe shall be made completely out of turquoise wool. The threads used to weave the Robe will be made of twelve strands of turquoise wool.23

32 The edge of its top opening shall be folded inwards: all around its opening there shall be a woven hem, as with the collar of a coat of mail . This is so that it not be torn, for it is forbidden for anyone to tear it.

33 On its lower hem you shall have them make hollow spheres shaped like unripe, egg-shaped pomegranates, made of intertwined24 threads of turquoise, purple, and scarlet wool, all around its lower hem. Have them make gold bells to hang between them, all around:

34 a gold bell and a pomegranate, a gold bell and a pomegranate, all around the lower hem of the Robe. Put 36 bells and 36 pomegranates on the front of the Robe and the same number on the back25 .

35 It shall be worn by Aaron when he performs the Divine service. Its sound shall be heard when he enters the Sanctuary before God and when he leaves. Thus, the high priest must take care to wear the Ephod, Breastplate, and Robe when he enters the Sanctuary so that he not die, because entering the Sanctuary without even one of these three vestments is punishable by death by the heavenly court, even if he leaves without having performed any priestly rites.26

The Forehead-Plate

36 “You shall have the artisans make a Forehead-plate of pure gold, two fingerbreadths wide and extending from ear to ear across the forehead. Have them engrave the words ‘Holy unto God’ on it as on a signet ring, i.e., such that the letters protrude from the plate27 .

37 Have them make three slots in the plate: two at each end and one in the middle, at the top. Have them thread three cords made of turquoise wool through these slots, and tie them together at the back of the head. In this way, you shall place the Forehead-plate over a cord of turquoise wool at these three locations. The middle cord shall pass over the Turban, preventing the plate from falling lower than the high priest’s forehead. The Forehead-plate shall be placed below the front of the Turban, leaving enough space for the high priest to wear head-tefilin in between the Turban and the Forehead-plate.

38 The Forehead-plate shall be worn on Aaron’s forehead, and by wearing it Aaron shall effect atonement for the following specific sin regarding the sacred offerings that the Israelites consecrate, i.e., for any of their holy gifts: if these offerings had become defiled and this fact was not known, the Forehead-plate will neutralize the effect of this defilement and the offerings will still be valid and effective. It shall be on his forehead, to assure them of God’s favor in this way at all times, even when he is not wearing it.

The Other Garments

39 You shall have the artisans make a linen Tunic of recessed checkered knit. You shall have them make a linen Turban, and you shall have them make an embroidered Sash out of twined linen and turquoise, purple, and scarlet wool,28 to gird the Tunic.

40 For Aaron’s sons you shall make tunics similar to his and you shall make them sashes for their tunics, similar to his; and you shall make them hats for dignity and splendor but less elaborate than his Turban.

41 You yourself shall dress your brother Aaron and his sons along with him in these vestments, plus the trousers about to be mentioned.” Moses had to dress them himself because this was an integral part of investing them in the office of the priesthood—which only he could do, as mentioned above.29 You shall anoint them, inaugurate them, and sanctify them, and they shall serve Me as priests.

42 And make them all linen trousers to cover their nakedness, reaching from the waist to the thighs. There are thus eight vestments for the high priest (the Ephod, the Breastplate, the Robe, the Tunic, the Sash, the Turban, the Forehead-plate, and the trousers) and four for the ordinary priest (a tunic, a sash, a hat, and trousers).

[43] All these vestments shall be worn by Aaron and his sons whenever they enter the Tent of Meeting or approach the outer Altar to minister in the Sanctuary or in the Courtyard, so that they will not bear a sin and die, for officiating as a priest without full priestly attire is punishable by death.30 This is a statute for Aaron and for his offspring after him for all time.”

The Installation Rites

Fourth Reading 29:1 Having completed the instructions for making the priestly vestments, God now instructs Moses how these garments are to be used to install the priests into the office of the priesthood. This installation ceremony was to be repeated daily for a whole week,31 and was to take place from Adar 23 to Adar 29, 2449, the week leading up to the 1st of Nisan. Every day that week, the Tabernacle was erected in the morning and dismantled after the installation rites were finished. Only from the 1st of Nisan on was it left standing. “This is what you shall do to Aaron and his sons to consecrate them to serve Me as priests: Take one young bull, as a sin-offering, to atone for the sin of the Golden Calf, and two rams without blemish, one as an ascent-offering and the other as the consecration-offering.

2 Besides the animals, takethirty loaves of unleavened bread: ten loaves of unleavened bread made out of a batch of flour cooked in boiling water, baked, and then fried with half a log of olive oil; ten unleavened loaves made out of a batch of flour kneaded with a quarter of a log of olive oil; and ten flat unleavened cakes baked without oil but brushed with a quarter of a log of olive oil after they have been baked. Brush the oil on the flat cakes in the form of the Greek letter lambda (Λ), which is an angled form of the Hebrew letter kaf (כ), the initial of the word for ‘priest’ (kohen, כהן).32 You shall make them all out of fine wheat flour.

3 You shall place them all in a single basket, and bring them in the basket together with the young bull and two rams into the courtyard of the Tabernacle.

4 You shall bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, and immerse them in the water of a mikveh.

5 You shall then take the vestments, and dress Aaron in the trousers,33 the Tunic, the Sash, the Robe of the Ephod, the Ephod, and the Breastplate, and girdle him by tying the two ends of the belt of the Ephod together.

6 You shall then place the Turban on his head, and over the Turban you shall place the middle cord of the holy diadem, which is the Forehead-plate, and then fasten this middle cord to the two end-cords at the nape of his neck.

7 You shall then anoint the Tabernacle and everything inside it with the anointing oil,34 and sprinkle this oil seven times on the Altar and anoint it and its vessels.35 You shall then take the anointing oil and pour it on his head, and anoint him by putting some more of this oil in between his eyelashes and drawing the oil on his head across his forehead and connecting it to this point, forming the same design used to brush the breads used in the offering,36 the Greek letter lambda (Λ).

8 You shall bring forth his sons and dress them in their trousers37 and tunics.” The trousers are not mentioned explicitly because their primary purpose is modesty rather than investiture into the priesthood per se.38

9 “You shall gird them with sashes—Aaron after dressing him in his Tunic, and his sons after dressing them in their tunics—and put on their headdresses.39 You shall install Aaron and his sons in their duties by dressing them in the priestly vestments,40 and this investiture will make the priesthood theirs as an everlasting statute.

10 You shall then offer the following three sacrifices,41 officiating as the priest, while Aaron and his sons will act as the ones for whom the sacrifices are offered.42 First, you shall offer a sin-offering on their behalf. This sin-offering will be similar to the sin-offering required of the high priest43 or Sanhedrin44 in that it will be a bull (rather than a she-goat45 or ewe46 ) and its flesh will be burned (rather than eaten). But it will be similar to an ordinary, private sin-offering47 in that its blood will be applied to the outer (rather than the inner) altar. You shall bring the bull before the Tent of Meeting, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the bull’s head.

11 You shall slaughter the bull before God, i.e., anywhere in the Courtyard of the Tabernacle as long as it is eastward of the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. This is in opposition to ordinary sin-offerings, which must be slaughtered only north of the Altar.48 When you slaughter it, collect its blood in a basin.49

12 You shall then ascend the ramp of the Altar and take some of the bull’s blood and put it on the Altar’s protrusions with your finger. You shall then descend the ramp and spill all the remainingblood on the base of the Altar.

13 You shall ascend the ramp again, and take the entire membrane of fat that covers the bull’sinnards, i.e., its stomach, the diaphragm with part of the liver, and the two kidneys with the fat around them, and burn them on the Altar.

14 You shall burn the flesh of the bull, together with its hide and its waste, outside the camp. It is considered a sin-offering despite all the differences between it and ordinary sin-offerings.50

[15] You shall then take the first ram and offer it as an ascent-offering.51 Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the ram’s head.

16 But while an ordinary ascent-offering must be slaughtered north of the Altar, you shall then slaughter this ram anywhere in the eastern half of the Courtyard. When you slaughter it, collect its blood in a basin. You shall then take its blood and, standing on the ground, throw it from the basin onto the lower half of the Altar twice, at its northeast and southwest corners.52 Thus, the blood will be visible all around it, i.e., on all its four sides.

17 You shall cut the ram into sections, wash its innards and legs, and ascend the ramp and place the innards and legs on the top of the Altar together with its other pieces and its head.

18 You shall burn the entire ram on the Altar; it is an ascent-offering to God. Thus, as opposed to the sin-offering, this ascent-offering will be a fire-offering brought in order to please God.

Fifth Reading 19 “You shall then take the second ram and offer it as a consecration-offering, a special variation of a peace-offering.53 Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the ram’s head.

20 You shall slaughter the ram in the north, collecting its blood in a basin, take some of its blood with your finger,and place it on the middle ridge of the right ear of Aaron and on the middleridge54 of the right ear of his sons, as well as on the middle joint of the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toe of their right feet. You shall then, standing on the ground, throw the remaining blood from the basin onto the lower half of the Altar twice, at its northeast and southwest corners, such that the blood will be visible all around it.

21 You shall take some of the blood that is on the Altar and some of the anointing oil on your finger, and you shall sprinkle it on Aaron and his vestments, as well as on his sons and his sons’ vestments along with him. He and his vestments, together with his sons and his sons’ vestments, will thus be consecrated.

22 You shall take from the second ram the portions removed from all rams brought as peace-offerings in order to be burned on the Altar: the fat on the duodenum (or, alternatively, the fat on the abomasum55 ), the tail beginning at the kidneys, the fat that covers the innards—i.e., the fat on the omasum and the rectilium, the diaphragm with some of the liver, the two kidneys with the fat around them. In addition, however, you shall also take the right thigh, which is usually given to the priest to eat, for this is a ram of consecration. It is similar to a peace-offering in that the priest, the Altar, and the ones for whom the sacrifices are offered all receive portions, as will be explained.

[23] You shall also take one loaf of the ten loaves of unleavened bread, one loaf of the ten loaves of unleavened oil bread, and one flat cake of the ten unleavened cakes from the basket of unleavened bread that is before God.

[24] You shall place all of this on the hands of Aaron and on the hands of his sons, and you shall put your hand underneath theirs. You shall then wave it, i.e., move it forwards and backwards in all four directions, and then upward and downward, submitting it to Me as the Master of the World in all directions. This makes it a wave-offering before God. The horizontal movements will neutralize destructive winds, and the vertical movements will neutralize destructive dews.

[25] You shall then take all this from their hands and you shall burn it on the Altar, after having burnt the first ram as an ascent-offering, to please God. Thus, it too is a fire-offering to God. Thus, the consecration-offering also differs from the ordinary peace-offering with regard to the bread separated as a wave-offering. In the case of peace-offerings that are accompanied by bread—i.e., the thanksgiving-offering56 and the offering the Nazirite brings at the completion of his term57 —the bread that is separated as a wave-offering is given to the priest to eat and not burned on the Altar.

[26] You shall then take the breast of Aaron’s ordination ram, and wave it as you waved the burnt portions, making it a wave-offering before God. This breast shall be your portion as officiating priest.

27 By doing this, you shall sanctify the breast of all peace-offerings in that they should be taken as a wave-offering, and the thigh of all peace-offerings, that they should betaken as a raised-offering, just like the breast and thigh that were waved and raised from the ordination ram of Aaron and his sons.” (Both the breast and the thigh are waved and raised, so the terms “wave-offering” and “raised-offering” may be applied to both.)

28 “This breast and thigh shall be an offering for Aaron and his sons from the Israelites for all time. Once the fat parts of the peace-offering have been burned, the remainder of the meat will belong to those who brought the offering, and they will give the breast and thigh to the officiating priest. For this breast and thigh is a raised-offering. It shall be a raised-offering from the Israelites, taken from their peace-offerings, as their raised-offering to God.

29 Aaron’s sacred vestments shall belong to those of his descendants after him who succeed him as high priest, for them tobecome dignified and ordained by donning these vestments. They do not have to repeat the entire consecration process presently being described.

30 The descendant of Aaron who takes his place as high priest—and who is thus the only one permitted to enter the Tent of Meeting to serve in the inner chamber of the Sanctuary by performing the Yom Kippur rites58shall simply wear the vestments of the high priest for seven consecutive days, and that will suffice to invest him in this office. If a son of the previous high priest is qualified for the position, it is preferable that he succeed his father.

31 Returning to the instructions for the consecration rites: There is yet another difference between them and ordinary peace-offerings. While the remainder of ordinary peace-offerings may be eaten by laymen anywhere in the Israelite camp,59 Aaron and his sons’ portion of the consecration offerings must be eaten only by them and only within the precincts of the Tabernacle. This restriction places them in the category of superior holiness, as opposed to ordinary peace-offerings, which are classified as offerings of lesser holiness. You shall take the remainder of the ram of ordination and cook its flesh in a holy place, i.e., inside the Courtyard.

32 Aaron and his sons shall eat the ram’s meat as well as the bread that is left in the basket anywhere in the Courtyard east of the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.

33 They shall eat the remainder of this ram and this bread, by which atonement will have been secured for them for anything they may have done in the past that would be inconsistent with their priesthood, and they will thereby be ordained and sanctified. No layman may eat the remainder of this ram and bread, for they are in the category of superior holiness and therefore holy beyond offerings in the category of lesser holiness.

[34] A further restriction: If any meat of the ordination offering or of the bread is left over until morning, you shall burn the leftovers in the fire. It may not be eaten for two days like an ordinary peace-offering,60 for it is holy, i.e., in the category of superior holiness.

35 You shall do thus to Aaron and his sons, according to all that I have commanded you. If you omit anything, the consecration process will be invalidated. You shall ordain them by repeating these rites once a day for seven consecutive days. They should not leave the Tabernacle precincts during these seven days.61

[36] Besides serving to consecrate the priests, the young bull you shall sacrifice each day as a sin-offering will also atone for the Altar, in case stolen materials we donated and used in the construction of the Tabernacle or the Altar. When you put some of the blood of this sin-offering on the protrusions of the Altar, as described previously,62 you shall bring it atonement. You shall also anoint it every day, to sanctify it, as you anointed the bread and the priests:63 by smearing anointing oil over it in the form of the Greek letter lambda (Λ).

37 For these same seven consecutive days you shall make atonement for the Altar and sanctify it, thus making the Altar holy of holies relative to the ordinary facets of creation.64 Whatever sacrificial meat or fat touches the Altar, i.e., is brought to the Altar’s top, will become sanctified and must be burned on it, even if it is technically disqualified—provided that this disqualification occurred after the animal had been brought into the Courtyard.

Sixth Reading 38 “This is what you shall offer on the Altar during the consecration week65 in addition to the consecration offerings: two one-year-old lambs every day, regularly, as ascent-offerings.

39 You shall offer the first lamb in the morning, and you shall offer the other lamb in the afternoon.

40 Together with the first lamb offered as an ascent-offering, you shall offer a supplementary grain-offering consisting ofone-tenth of an ephah of fine flour kneaded with a quarter of a hin of olive-oil. You may use the oil produced from the olives when they are first crushed in a mortar, but you may also use the inferior oil produced when they are subsequently pressed or ground. Pressed oil is required only for the lighting the lamps of the Candelabrum.66 In addition to the grain-offering, offer a libation consisting of a quarter of a hin of wine. Stand on the top of the Altar and pour this wine into a silver jug with a hole in the bottom, letting it run down the side of the Altar to the ground.

[41] The second lamb you shall offer in the afternoon; you shall offer with it the same type of grain-offering and libation as those of the morning. The two ascent-offerings and grain-offerings will be a fire-offering to please God. These grain-offerings are considered ‘a fire offering to please God’ because they are to be completely burnt on the Altar, unlike typical grain-offerings, only a portion of which is burnt on the Altar.67

42 Throughout your—i.e., the Jewish people’s—future generations, this shall be a regular ascent-offering before God, offered in front of the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. I refer to the Tabernacle as ‘the Tent of Meeting’ for two reasons: first, because I have designated it as the placewhere I shall convene with the people through you, their representative, in order to speak to you there;

43 and second, it is there that I will convene with the Israelites when they gather there to pray to Me and to hear the messages I convey to them through you.68 The Tent of Meeting will thus be sanctified through My glory, i.e., My presence that will be felt there. It will also be sanctified by the rapturous death of My most honored associates.” Moses thought this meant that either he or Aaron would die when the Tabernacle was inaugurated, but in fact it referred it Aaron’s sons Nadav and Avihu.69

[44] “I shall sanctify the Tent of Meeting and the Altar, and I will sanctify Aaron and his sons to minister to Me as priests.

45 I will dwell in the midst of the Israelites and I will be their God.

46 They shall know that I am God, their God, who brought them out of the Land of Egypt so that I may abide in their midst; I am God, their God.”

The Inner Altar

Seventh Reading 30:1 After discussing the priestly vestments and installation rites, God returned to giving Moses the instructions regarding the Tabernacle: “You shall have the artisans make an Altar for burning incense; you shall have them make it of acacia wood.

2 It shall be square, one cubit long and one cubit wide, and two cubits high; its protrusions shall be an integral part of it. Whereas the cubit in all other cases will measure six handbreadths, the cubit used for the length and width of the Inner Altar shall measure only five handbreadths.70

3 You shall have them overlay it with pure gold—its top, its walls all around, and its protrusions—and you shall have them make a gold rim for it all around. This rim will signify the dignity due to the priests.

4 You shall have them make two gold rings for it below its rim; you shall have them make themon the two corners of its two opposite sides. They shall serve as holders for the rods with which it is to be carried.

5 You shall have them make the rods of acacia wood and overlay them with gold.

6 You shall have them place it in front of the Curtain that hides the Ark of Testimony, directly in front of the Cover that lies over the Ark containing the Tablets of Testimony, which is where I shall convene with you.71

7 Aaron shall burn spice incense upon it. He shall burn it every morning, when he cleans out the residue of oil and soot left from the previous night in the lamps of the Candelabrum.

Maftir 8 Aaron shall also burn incense on it when he kindles the wicks of the lamps in the afternoon—a continual, twice-daily offering of incense before God throughout your generations.

9 You shall not burn upon it any other incense, i.e., any voluntary incense offerings, nor any ascent-offering or grain-offering whatsoever, nor may you pour any libation upon it.

10 The only use it will have other than burning incense is this: Once a year, on Yom Kippur, Aaron shall make atonement for inadvertent defilement of the Tabernacle and its offerings by placing sacrificial blood on this altar’s protrusions. Once a year, throughout your generations, he shall make atonement on it with the blood of the atonement sacrifice, i.e., the bull and goat specified for this purpose.72 The reason you must not burn any other incense or offer any sacrifices on this altar is because it is holy of holies unto God, i.e., its holiness surpasses even that of the Outer Altar. This altar is designated solely for burning the daily, obligatory incense, and therefore, burning anything else on it profanes it. In contrast, the outer altar is designated for more general use.73