Wearing the Uniform of Hashem’s Army

פרשת תצוה
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Written by:
SAR Staff
Access editable doc with student handouts:

ברכה ראשונה

שמות ומחיית כפיים:

Ask each person to say their name. When they share their name, the rest of the group claps for them.

מספר נוכחות:

On a scale of 1-10 how present are you? How much are you here right now? 1=you may see me but my mind is in a totally different place, 10= I am completely with you, energized and fully locked in to whatever is happening here. 

You can try: Now, get up and sit in the seat of someone whose number was lower than yours. Get up and sit in the seat of someone whose number was higher than yours. 

סיפור שלי להיום:

In one or two sentences, what is your story for today? What’s going on for you today? 

This can be done going around one by one or by breaking people into pairs.

After סיפור שלי להיום:

You can try: Does anyone have any follow up questions for anyone about their story?

Take 2-3 questions and let the person answer. 

Or try: Get up and sit in the seat of someone’s story you related to. Ask one or two students to share why they related to this person.


    1. The parnas chooses one question from the questions below to talk about:
      • Describe a time during the week that you most enjoy
      • What is a show that you watch, enjoy watching
      • What type of music do you listen to? What do you like about it?
      • Tell a funny story from your childhood.
      • What is your earliest memory?
      • Something that people don’t know about me is…
      • What’s your full name and why are you called that?
      • Who in your family are you most similar to? Different from?
      • The last place you would find me is…
      • If you had a million dollars what would you do with it?
      • Who is a role model of yours? Someone you would like to be like?
      • My favorite time of the week is..
      • What’s your favorite chag / Jewish holiday? Why?
      • What does a typical Shabbat look like for you? A special one?
      • What’s a Torah idea/Torah teacher that you found particularly
        meaningful? Why?
      • Tell about a time when you felt a strong connection to Torah/the Jewish community.
      • What’s a part of tefillah that is meaningful to you and why?
      • Who is a Jewish role model for you? Why?
      • What is your favorite mitzvah and why?
    2. Share a dilemma
      The parnas shares a dilemma he/she has been faced with recently. It can be school-related, or not.
    3. Reflection
      After sharing of the dilemma - do two rounds of quick response (one sentence each from each person)

      1. What I heard X say is…
      2. What resonated with me is… 

If parnas takes the whole time - that is fine!

לימוד ועבודה פנימית

This week’s parsha is parshat תצוה  - in it we learn about the בגדי כהונה - the special clothing the kohanim wore in the mishkan. 

You can do this limmud in chavruta (5 minutes), or you can do it as a whole class. (Chavruta sheet at end of doc - I will make copies for every other student and they will be available in the office).

ספר החינוך מצוה צט - מצות לבישת בגדי הכהנים

The Commandment of the Clothing of the Kohanim:

The kohanim are commanded to wear special clothing as befits their stature and honor and then they are permitted to serve in the mikdash, as it says, “Make holy garments for Aharon your brother and his sons”

As for the roots of this mitzvah, the established reality is that people’s thoughts follow their actions. The kohen, as a messenger for forgiveness must direct all his thoughts on worship, thus it is appropriate for him to wear special clothing so that when he glances at any place on his body he will immediately remember and awaken his heart to the fact that he is standing before God. This is similar to the notion of tefillin which is supposed to remind us to think pure thoughts. Even though the kohen also wears tefillin, as his task is so large, he also requires the special clothing.

For this reason the cloak needs to cover his entire body until his ankle, and the sleeves until his wrists, and the hat should cover his entire head so that he sees it when he raises his eyes. And the breastplate should surround his entire body so that he feels it constantly on his arms. And all this is because of the reason which I have pointed out. Additionally, there is the issue of respect for the mishkan that the worshipper is dressed in special clothing. We have already written that increased respect for the mishkan will cause people’s hearts to soften and sinners to return to God.

שנצטוו הכהנים ללבוש בגדים מיוחדים לגדולה וכבוד ואז יעבדו במקדש, שנאמר שמות כ"ח, ד ועשו בגדי קדש לאהרן אחיך ולבניו.

משרשי המצוה, היסוד הקבוע לנו כי האדם נפעל לפי פעולותיו ואחריהם מחשבותיו וכוונותיו, והשליח המכפר צריך להתפיס כל מחשבתו וכוונתו אל העבודה, על כן ראוי להתלבש בגדים מיוחדים אליה, שכשיסתכל בכל מקום שבגופו מיד יהיה נזכר ומתעורר בלבו לפני מי הוא עובד, וזה כעין תפילין שנצטוו הכל להניח בקצת הגוף שיהיה לזכרון מחשבת הכשר. ואף על פי שגם הכהן היה מניח תפילין, לגודל ענינו היה צריך גם זה.

ומן הטעם הזה נאמר שנתחייבו להיות אורך הכתונת על כל גופו עד למעלה מן העקב מעט, ואורך בית יד שלה עד פס ידו, והמצנפת ארכה שש עשרה אמה ומקיפה בראשו כדי שיראה אותה בכל עת שישא עיניו, והאבנט שחוגר במתניו ארכו ל"ב אמה ומקיפו ומחזירו על גופו כרך על כרך ונמצא שמרגיש בו בכל עת בזרועותיו, שמתוך גבהו ברוב ההקפין הזרועות נוגעות בו על כל פנים. וכל זה ראיה למה שאמרתי למודה על האמת, מלבד שיש בענין כבוד לבית ולעבודה בהיות העובד מלובש בלבוש מיוחד לעבודה, וכבר כתבנו כי בהגדלת הבית ובמוראו יתרככו שם לבות החוטאים וישובו אל ה'.

  • Summarize the idea of the Sefer Hachinuch
  • Talk about a time when what you wore made you feel a certain way. 
  • Based on the idea of the Sefer Hachinuch, what do you think school dress code should be?

In the whole group - have a few people share back what they spoke about.

ברכה אחרונה

  • Choose any one of the following:
  • What is your מספר נוכחות now?
  • What is one thing you learned about someone else today?
  • What is one thing you learned about yourself today?

Notes to the teacher

  • This is the place to make suggestions to the teacher of different ways they may choose to facilitate this limmud
  • Or particular grade levels or sensitivities to take into account
  • Or anything else you think is important for the teacher to know

עבודת המורה

  • This is the place to raise some questions that make sure the teacher tests the limmud on themselves or others
  • Could be a general question like - which part of the limmud resonated most for you? Which question was the hardest for you to answer?
  • Or questions anticipating students’ responses- What do you think students will say for X or Y? To what extent are you open to being surprised?
Download with student handouts:
Please help others by sharing how you used the resource, how you adapted it (link to your own version!) and what worked more or less well. You can also post questions that Lifnai Vlifnim staff or community members will try to respond to.

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