Parashat Tetzaveh: The role and status of priesthood in Judaism

What are the roles of a Jewish Priest?

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
February 21, 2018 20:35
3 minute read.
Birkat Kohanim at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Birkat Kohanim at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

This week’s Torah portion, Tetzaveh, deals with the status of priesthood in the Jewish nation. A large section of the portion focuses on the clothing worn by the kohanim, members of the priestly line, and describes it in great detail. Another section deals with the process of anointing Aaron and his sons to priesthood in the Temple.

The position of priesthood is not unique to the Jewish people. Every society in the ancient world had priests who performed rituals in various temples. But a look at the halachot (Jewish laws) pertaining to priesthood in the Torah reveals that the status of priesthood in Judaism was not only different from that in other religions, but was actually of an opposite orientation.

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