Priests carry a great responsibility. This portion is a short list compared to the many other commandments for priests. One of the reasons the priesthood is so important and inhabits so many pages of the Torah is because G-d uses the priesthood and the sanctuary to dwell with His people. HaShem taught the priests His procedures and His ordinances to make it possible for Him to dwell among them. We know from Psalm 27 that the one thing David asked for and sought after was to dwell in the house of the L-RD, gaze upon His beauty, and inquire in the temple. Clearly the physical dwelling of HaShem was awe-inspiring and should be something we desire as well. In addition, the elaborate descriptions in this week’s portion contain parallels and symbols that further emphasize the importance of the priests. One of the descriptions that caught my attention is as follows:

“Then you shall take part of the blood that is on the altar, and of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and his garments, and on his sons and his sons’ garments with him. He and his garments shall be holy, and his sons and his sons’ garments with him.” Exodus 29:21

The blood is pleasing to G-d. He commanded the sacrifice and the ritual. Here, Aaron and his sons had the privilege to be instructed to partake of the blood on the altar. In verse 20 the blood was placed on the tip of the right ear, right thumb, and right big toe to remind Aaron and his sons to listen carefully, to recognize service to G-d is the most important thing one does with ones hands, and to faithfully maintain all responsibilities no matter where he may walk. Why was sprinkling the blood on the garments necessary if Aaron and his sons were already wearing the blood on his ear, thumb, and toe? The answer is that the blood was important for the individual and also the position of priest. When the blood was sprinkled on the garments of the priests it was a sign placed on the priesthood and a representation of their mission to facilitate atonement. Yeshua HaMoshiach is a priest after the order of Melchizedek. (Heb. 6:20) Yeshua will also don a garment sprinkled with blood as it says,

“He is clothed in a robe dipped in1 blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of G-d.” Revelation 19:13

The footnote in this verse says, “Some manuscripts sprinkled with.” Yeshua’s garment is representative as the means of atonement. He is our Savior and the only Priest that can take away our sins. Both priesthoods were established by G-d and both serve His purpose. This week’s portion is beneficial to become familiar with the ritual, which will be reestablished nearing Yeshua’s return and to further understand Yeshua as a Priest.

The practical principles and commandments throughout the Torah are usually straightforward, but there is much wisdom in the minutia. This week the Torah mentions two interesting items as part of the breastpiece of judgment.

“And in the breastpiece of judgment you shall put the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be on Aaron’s heart, when he goes in before the L-RD. Thus Aaron shall bear the judgment of the people of Israel on his heart before the L-RD regularly.” Exodus 28:30

Urim and Thummim? The translators left these words in their original language. What we see is simply a transliteration. Urim is mentioned 8 times and Thummim is mentioned 6 times in the whole Bible. Urim and Thummim are only used by the priests and it appears that G-d used them to aid in decision-making. (Num. 27:21) It makes perfect sense that the Righteous Judge would equip His anointed with the ability to judge favorably and make decisions. These ornaments were also reminders of the priest’s responsibility to teach the people the difference between clean and unclean (Lev. 10:8-11) because the priest bears the judgment of the people on his heart.

The word Urim literally means lights because it appears to be the plural of ohr which is fire or light. There is a slight difference in the vowel placement with the root of Urim (ראוּ) and the actual word for light (ראוֹ) which is not very significant because the vowels were added around 700 CE2. The word Thummim literally means perfection because it appears to be the plural of tum which means integrity or completeness. In the Hebrew there is a neat truth embedded in the words. םתָּמַ (tammam) is the primitive root word meaning to complete or to finish and is in some cases associated with the destruction or the end of the wicked. םתֻּמִּי (thummim) is the word for perfection. Notice that the letters are exactly the same except for a yud in Thummim. Yud is the first letter in G-d’s name and is usually a letter associated with G-d. So the Hebrew reveals the truth that without G-d the end is destruction. There is finality without perfection. With G-d there is an everlasting perfection through His perfect Son that rescued us from destruction. Blessed be His glorious Name forever and ever! (Ps. 72:19)