Past Weekly Shabbat Message
Jewish Heritage
Rabbi Dovid Saks
(Torah Portion Ki Sisa ) Twenty-One Years!

The Torah commanded Moshe to produce a special holy and consecrated oil to anoint and sanctify the Temple and its vessels. This oil was formulated with specific spices and oils.

The Torah forbids anyone from using Moshe’s potion for anything other than its specified uses. The Torah also prohibits one from creating such oil if he follows the exact formula that Moshe used for his consecrated oil.

This consecrated oil was also used to anoint High Priests and Kings of Israel who were descendants of King David.

Moshe’s brother Aaron, the High Priest, was the first human being to be anointed with this special oil, and he was anointed by his brother Moshe. Incidentally, Moshe himself was not anointed with this special oil. Since he produced it and caused its sanctification by following G-d’s instruction with pure intentions, he did not need be anointed with the oil.

King David was the first King of Israel to be anointed with this special oil. The Book of Prophets describes that Samuel the Prophet was instructed by G-d to anoint one of Yishai’s sons. When Samuel came to Yishai, Yishai thought that seven of his eight sons had the potential to be anointed as King of Israel, but he felt that David was not fit. However, when Samuel tried to pour the special oil on their heads, the oil receded back into the flask. Finally David approached and the anointing oil spurt forth on its own and saturated David’s head. The Medrash relates that the oil on his head turned into pearls and precious gems, for G-d had observed David’s righteousness and deemed him eminently worthy of the monarchy.

King David’s son Shlomo, who built the first Temple in Jerusalem, was also anointed with this special oil by the prophet Nosson. Although upon inauguration it is not necessary for the son of a king to be anointed with the oil, however if there is a dispute who should assume the throne, he must be anointed. In Solomon’s case, his brother Adoniyahu had claimed to be the successor, so it became necessary to anoint him.

Moshe’s oil was kept in a horn shaped flask in the Temple’s holy of Holies for safekeeping. Towards the end of the First Temple period it and a few other components of the Temple were hidden in the recesses of the Temple. This special oil will eventually be used again to anoint our long awaited King who is the Moshiach – the anointed one - and will herald our salvation.

The Torah commands us to anoint with the special consecrated oil the leaders of the Jewish people which include the High Priest and the King. These Jewish leaders were the heartbeat of the people. Their righteousness, scholarship in Torah, holiness, humility and fear of G-d infused and energized the people with these virtues, and their prayers and service served as protection for the people.

Even when the institutions of the Holy Temple, the High Priest and the Monarchy no longer function, we have opportunities of infusing ourselves with Kedusha – holiness.

The Torah and the Mitzvos contained in the Torah are vehicles to bring holiness into our lives.

For example, when referring to our observance of Shabbos, the Torah calls us “holy to G-d”. Incidentally, these same words, “holy to G-d”, were etched on the special gold plate that the High Priest wore during the Temple service. In essence, on the Shabbos, we assume a position of holiness akin to a High Priest!

The Torah in this week’s portion prohibits constructing the Temple during Shabbos. In fact, the laws that govern our prohibited activities on Shabbos are derived from work that was necessary to create the Temple in the desert.

A Jew’s Shabbos observance overrides and supersedes the creation of G-d’s holy Temple. This shows us that the sanctity experienced through the observance of Shabbos has pre-eminence!

The study of Torah is the main source of the holiness of a Jew. In the paragraphs of the Shema Yisroel declaration, the Mitzvah to study and teach Torah is clearly expressed.

Before our daily prayers in the morning, we recite blessings on our unique opportunity and responsibility to study G-d’s Torah. To study Torah and to teach it is the greatest privilege.

Over the past twenty-one years, I’ve had the privilege to dispense Torah ideas through publishing the Shabbat Shalom Message. This week we complete our twenty-first cycle of messages.

My hope and prayer is that through the words and inspiration of the Shabbat Message – your lives will be enhanced with spirituality, holiness, blessing and an increased appreciation of our sacred Torah.

Currently, there are over 6000 e-mail recipients and on our website www.jewishheritageconnection.org we have an archive with almost all of the 1100 past messages!

Meeting a deadline creates a certain pressure and at times affects an inconvenience, I want to thank my wife Malky and our children for being so supportive and being such an integral part of this endeavor.

A special thank you to Rabbi Shmuel Flam and Mrs. Madeleine Jacobs for graciously giving of their time and expertise to review the message each week.

I thank the loyal readership, for giving me an incentive to expand my knowledge of the holy and endless Torah so that I can share its wisdom and beauty with you. Thank you for all your questions, comments and support. Thank you Hashem for everything!

Have a most enjoyable, restful and peaceful Shabbos!
Rabbi Dovid Saks