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Parsha MItzvot: Ki Tisa: Mitzvah 110 – Concept 308

“You shall speak to the Children of Israel, saying: ‘This shall remain for Me oil of sacred anointment for your generations. It shall not be smeared on human flesh and you shall not duplicate it in its formulation. It is holy. It shall remain holy for you. Anyone who shall compound its like or who shall put it upon an alien shall be cut off from his people.” (Exodus 30:31-33) We may not reproduce the formula for the anointing oil. . (Rambam, Hilchot Klei Hamikdash V’Haovdim Bo – The Laws of The Temple Vessels and Employees)

There is no biblical prohibition against manufacturing clothes that are similar to the Priestly Garments. It is not forbidden to build an Ark, Menorah or Table just as they were constructed for the Mishkan. They are uncommon and would serve as representations of  what is in the Mishkan.

However, we tend to think of oil as oil. Even very fine oil manufactured according to the highest specifications with the best ingredients in the world, would still be similar to what is in our pantry. If we were able to manufacture oil with the same ingredients and measurements as the Anointing Oil, we would think that it is precious oil that happened to be used for anointing the Cohanim, the Mishkan and the king. We would forget that each ingredient and measurement represents spiritual realities that combine into a unique and powerful reality that can transform a box into an ark, and a young man into a Cohen able to serve.

There are many things we do that seem common. Most people pray. However, our Siddur offers specific ingredients and measurements of phrases, words and concepts that combine to empower our prayer into Tefillah.

Many people observe the Sabbath in one form or another. Halacha presents us with a unique combination of ingredients that form a reality we know as Shabbat.

Other religions have a ceremony with palm branches. A religious ceremony with palms is almost common. However, the specific combination of the Four Species creates a powerful spiritual reality we know as Lulav and Etrog.

We must always remember that we have been granted the gift of always rising above the common. We must appreciate the numerous laws of what we do as special ingredients that, in proper measure, create Spiritual realities that can transform the world and us. (Machberes Avodas Hashem)

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