Tetzaveh is the twentieth reading from the Torah. Tetzaveh (תצוה) means “You shall command.” The first verse of the reading says, “You shall [command] the sons of Israel, that they bring you clear oil of beaten olives for the light, to make a lamp burn continually” (Exodus 27:20). This portion continues to narrate the instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle. It focuses on the priesthood that was to serve in the sanctuary. The Israelites are instructed to make special garments for Aaron and his sons to wear while ministering as priests. After describing the priestly garments, the portion concludes with instructions for the ritual inauguration of Aaron and his sons into the priesthood.
The nineteenth reading from the Torah is named Terumah (תרומה). In Exodus 25:2, the LORD commanded Moses to “tell the sons of Israel to [take] a contribution for Me.” The word translated as “contribution” is terumah (תרומה), which is the name of this Torah portion. Terumah is a word with no real English equivalent. In the Torah, terumah refers to a certain type of offering dedicated to the Temple, like a tithe or firstfruits offering. In Exodus 25, the contribution is for the building of a holy place. This Torah reading is occupied with the instructions for the building of the Tabernacle and its furnishings.
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The eighteenth reading from the Torah is named Mishpatim (משפטים), which means “judgments.” The title comes from the first words of the first verse of the reading, which could be literally translated to say, “And these are the judgments which you will place before them” (Exodus 21:1). The first three chapters of this Torah portion deliver a legal code of laws and commandments that form a nucleus for the Torah’s laws. The last chapter tells the story of how the people of Israel consented to keep these laws and entered into a covenant relationship with God through a series of rituals conducted by Moses.
The seventeenth reading from the Torah is named Yitro (יתרו), which is the literal Hebrew behind the name Jethro. The title comes from the first words of the first verse of the reading, which says, “Now Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for Israel His people” (Exodus 18:1). The portion tells the story of Jethro’s visit to the camp of Israel, then relates the great theophany at Mount Sinai, where God gives Israel the Ten Commandments and invites the people to enter a special covenant relationship with Him. Here is an interesting discussion on the portion:
The sixteenth reading from the Torah is named Beshalach (בשלח), which means “When he sent.” The title comes from the first verse of the reading, which can be literally translated to say, “And it happened when Pharaoh sent out the people.” The reading tells the adventures of the Israelites as they leave Egypt, cross the Red Sea, receive miraculous provision in the wilderness and face their first battle.