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Dvar Torah - David Sandler

My portion is Tetzaveh and it is in the book of Shemot, Exodus.

My portion talks about a lot of important subjects. It begins with the Menorah – which was lit every day by the Kohanim, who were the priests in the days of the Temple, and was also known as the Ner Tamid [POINT at the NER TAMID]. Today we remember this in shul by having a light that never stops burning. It is situated above the ark in a synagogue and it serves as a symbol of G-d's presence and our faith in G-d.

A big part of my portion talks about the importance of the Kohanim and the clothing the Kohanim wear.

The Jewish people made a portable tabernacle or Mishkan so that our religion would be portable as they moved around in the desert.

My portion ends with the agreement between Hashem and the Jewish people and reference is made to the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur.

I have focused my D'var Torah on the clothing of the Kohanim as today it seems like everybody always wants to look good and impresseach other.

4,000 years ago the Kohanim had the most important role of the Jewish people. Their job was to burn sacrifices to honour Hashem. Aaron and his four sons were the first Kohanim chosen by Hashem.

They wore special holy garments made up of an ephod, a robe, a tunic, a miter and a girdle. Their garments were filled with colour and had precious stones and gems stuck to the breast plate. The garments were made of fine linen and beautiful colours such as gold, blue, purple and scarlet. The names of the 12 tribes of Israel were engraved on 2 stones that were placed on the shoulder pieces of the ephod. Their clothes were worn only when they were doing sacrifices or working in the Mishkan.

This made me think about what people wear today.

Today people often dress to impress other people and to look nice. I like to dress casually and this makes me feel relaxed and happy.

We also wear uniforms and we do different jobs in different uniforms, like a fireman. A fireman wears a uniform to protect himself from the fire. The uniform also makes it easier for us to identify them.

When we go to school we go wearing a uniform. This makes me feel like I am part of the school and I represent the school and I feel proud to do that.

When I go to cricket and I wear my cricket uniform, I feel like I am in a game situation and I feel ready to play cricket.

All of these different clothes make you feel different. The Kohanim wore special clothing so that the Jewish people could identify them. I think the Kohanim felt special wearing these fine garments, and they felt closer to Hashem and they were able to focus on the sacrifices.

My parents have been taking me to shul since I was a tiny baby. To be very honest I don't enjoy shul and I find it hard to be in shul for a long time. Even though I feel this way I am very happy with what I have achieved in preparing for today.

Despite my feelings about shul I feel very proud and honoured to have the opportunity to have a bar mitzvah. During the process of my bar mitzvah journey over the last year I learned the service in English and Hebrew. I understand and recited my maftir and haftorah with confidence.

I feel blessed that I had the chance to have this experience and dress appropriately for shul. Today, like the Kohanim in my parsha, I wore special clothing, my Tallis and kippah! When I wear my tallis I see the tzitzit. The tzitzit remind me of the mitzvot we need to fulfil as the Jewish people.

Two pillars of being Jewish are fulfilling the mitzvot of Tzedakah and Chessed. For my mitzvah project, I spent time with Souper Troopers.

Souper Troopers helps people who live on the streets. People volunteer their time and donate clothes, food, toiletries, and games.

I loved giving my time to people who live on the streets and I like to help them.

I made sandwiches and cut up cake. We served them soup, sandwiches, fruit, cake, and something to drink. I enjoyed serving the food and interacting with everyone.

I donated some food, clothes, board games and my time.

And now that it’s my bar mitzvah I want to carry on doing mitzvot and giving my time to people who need it.

Shabbat Shalom

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