Published in Honor of Purim Katan, 5752
(Sefer HaMaamarim Meluket VI, p. 129ff)

By the Grace of G‑d

Shabbos Parshas Tetzaveh, 5741

“And you shall command the children of Israel and they shall bring you pure olive oil, crushed for the light, to keep a constant lamp burning.”1

The explanation of the various details of this verse are well known.2 [Among the points discussed:] The Torah generally [introduces] the commandments [it conveys] with the expression, “Command the children of Israel,” or with a similar phrase. The verse in question, by contrast, states, “And you shall com­mand the children of Israel.”

This question revolves upon more than a choice of wording, but rather on the intent [of the message conveyed]. The phrase “And you shall command” implies that Moshe is the one issuing the command. This requires explanation, for Moshe was merely an agent to transmit G‑d’s commandments to the Jewish people. Why then does the verse say, “And you shall command”?

There are other points that require explanation: [The verse states,] “And they shall bring to you,” seemingly implying that the oil should be brought to Moshe.3 Since the lamps were in fact lit by Aharon, [it would appear appropriate that the oil be brought to him]. Why was it necessary to bring it to Moshe?

Similarly, the phrase “...oil, crushed for the light (lama'or),” requires explanation: On the surface, “crushed to illumine” (l'hair), would be more appropriate.

Also, requiring explanation is [the apparent contradiction between the phrase] “to keep a constant lamp burning” [in the verse in question] and the following verse4 [which states that the lamps must burn,] “from the evening until the morning.”