[SDT] The People of Israel are likened to the Olive - just as the olive shows its greatness (its oil) only after being crushed and squeezed, so too does Israel show its special qualities after being subjected to the trials and tribulations of Jewish History. And Israel is compared to the oil of the olive - just as oil does not mix with other liquids, but rather floats above them, so too the Nation of Israel does not (should not) mix with the other nations of the world. And if we remain faithful to G-d, we will rise above the nations (or pretend-nations) who seek to hurt us.
Moshe is next told to bring Aharon and his sons "front and center" to serve G-d as Kohanim. Special garments are to be made for the Kohen Gadol's glory and honor .
[Some say that glory and honor refer to G-d's and the People's, not (just) the Kohen Gadol's.]
Talented artisans are to do the work. The garments are: the Choshen (Breastplate), the Eifod (decorative apron or cloak), Me'il (robe or poncho), Kutonet (linen tunic), Mitznefet (turban), and the Avneit (belt or sash).
[Note: the Tzitz (forehead plate) and Michnasayim (short pants worn under the Kutonet) are among the garments but are not mentioned at this point in the narrative. This can be explained. The pants are for modesty, not glory and honor. And, perhaps, the Tzitz is for G-d's honor and to humble the Kohen Gadol, so it too isn't part of the list of the garments that are for the K.G.'s honor and glory.]
The artisans were to take the gold, dyed wools, and linen (for the purpose of making the garments).
[SDT] There are different meanings to the Torah's phrase "for honor and splendor". Ramban gives it a straightforward meaning - that the garments of the Kohen Gadol were for his glory. They were royal garments befitting the position of the Kohen
Gadol, who was like royalty. With his special garments, the Kohen Gadol projected a perfect image. The garments helped present the Kohen Gadol to the People with great, and appropriate dignity. This would help the People understand and relate to the Kohen Gadol as the vehicle of the Divine Presence among them.
On a different level, we can say that the objects of glory were G-d and the People themselves. When the Kohen Gadol wore his special garments, and the people see him in his splendor, then there is an increase in honor to G-d. The special garments also increase our awareness of the Sanctity of the Beit HaMikdash, and we are inspired to repent.
"Clothes make the man." In the context of the Beit HaMikdash, the Kohen in general, and the Kohen Gadol in particular, is himself filled with awe and will take his responsibilities more seriously. In addition, each specific garment reminds the Kohen (Gadol), and us, of a different aspect of Jewish Law and Life. Thus the Kohen's thoughts and intentions increase in purity.
Even without a Beit HaMikdash, we are affected by the lessons of many Temple- related mitzvot. One should dress especially nicely for Shabbat and Yom Tov. One's own clothes, even during the week, should reflect the dignity of a Torah way of life. Modesty and neatness, plus the positive message we project to others are all part of our daily deportment.
The Eifod is to be woven from yarn made of threads of gold, three colors of dyed wool (blue, purple, crimson - the colors and shades are the subject of centuries of debate) and linen in an intricate style. The Eifod has two shoulder straps. The belt of the Eifod is made in the same manner as the Eifod itself, and is an integral part of it (not a separate piece that was attached).
[SDT] Talmud Yerushalmi states that the name of Binyamin was engraved on both shoulder-stones, BIN on one and YAMIN on the other. This idea is supported by the language of the Torah - "From six of their names..." rather than "six of their names". In V'ZOT HABRACHA, when Moshe is blessing the tribes, the Torah says of Binyamin that "he will dwell between the shoulders, "U'Vein K'teifav Shachen".
Levi - Second Aliya - 18 p'sukim - 28:13-30
[SDT] The letters of CHOSHEN rearrange to spell NACHASH, meaning "snake" but also meaning divination through the occult and black magic, powers in this world which are anathma to Torah and Judaism.
CLARIFICATION... The yarn for the Eifod and Choshen was produced as follows: Six stands of T'cheilet-dyed wool (blue, opinions vary as to the shade) were twisted with a strand of gold to produce a thread. The same was done with Argaman-dyed wool (purple, blue-purple, other opinions) and gold, Shani-dyed wool (red, crimson) and gold, Sheish(white linen) and gold. Each thread was made of 7 strands - 6+1 of gold. Then the four threads were twisted together to form the yarn from which the Eifod and the Choshen were woven.
Note that these garments (and some of the others) were Shaatnez. Yet rather than be forbidden, it was a mitzva for the Kohen Gadol to wear these garments. No contradiction here. He Who said not to wear Shaatnez, commanded the K.G. to wear these garments. He who said that it is forbidden to slaughter an animal on Shabbat, commanded that the daily korbanot and the Musaf be done on Shabbat. He is the Boss. Forbidding something in general and commanding the same thing in a specific situation underscores the idea of G-d's mastery of all.
He's an idea about Shaatnez in general, and its use in the Kohen's garments in particular. This is not a reason for the prohibition or the use in Bigdei K'huna. It's just a point to ponder. Wool is the chief fiber from the animal kingdom. Flax is (or at least was) the chief fiber from the plant kingdom. Garments are the chief use of fibers. If so, we can say that one of the manifestations of human dominance over nature is our ability to take fibers from both plants and animals, process them and use them for our own benefit, comfort, and adornment. And taking the most prestigious of each kingdom, and weaving them together, and wearing garments made from the combination of wool and linen is one of the ultimate signs of our top position on the nature pyramid.
Comes the Torah and commands us that we have limits in this area (and others). Yes, we may take from nature to clothe ourselves. But not limitlessly. Not the ultimate demonstration of complete dominance. Because we do not completely dominate. Only G-d does. Perhaps, the prohibition of Shaatnez is a mitzva meant to humble us, if just a little.
It might be similar to not building a private dwelling that matches or surpasses the beauty of the Beit HaMikdash. It might be similar in message to giving Bikurim and T'ruma, etc. Think it over...
There are different opinions as to how the names of the tribes (really, it's the sons of Yaakov, rather than the tribes, since Levi and Yosef appear, rather than Ephraim and Menashe) were engraved on the Choshen. The diagram above is the opinion of Chizkuni (a Rishon from France who lived more than 700 years ago. He wrote a commentary on the Torah based on Rashi.)
Rashi, however arranges the names in order of birth, so Reuven, Shimon, Levi, and Yehuda are on the same stones, as are Yosef and Binyamin. Rashi puts Dan, Naftali, Gad, and Asher before Yissachar and Zevulun.
Note that in addition to the names of the tribes, there are additional letters that spell the names Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, and Shivtei Yeshurun (another name for Bnei Yisrael). These additional letters are added to each successive stone so that each stone will end up with six letters engraved on it (according to Chizkuni).
All letters of the Alef-Bet are now represented, so that the Kohen Gadol can receive Divine communication via the Urim V'Tumim and the letters on the stones of the Choshen, which were illuminated and then interpreted by the K.G.
Shlishi - Third Aliya - 14 p'sukim - 28:31-43
The TZITZ was to be made of pure gold with the words KODESH LASHEM, Holy unto G-d, hammered out as raised letters from the Tzitz. The Tzitz was secured to the Kohen Gadol's head by bands of T'cheilet wool.
The Kutonet - tunic and the Mitznefet (or Migba'at) - turban - were made of pure linen.
The Avneit, belt was woven from the wools and linen. There is a dispute as to whether only the Kohen Gadol's belt was Sha'atnez or those of all Kohanim as well.
Some say that the Urim V'Tumim had the 42-letter version of the SHEM HAMEFORASH. In the second Beit HaMikdash, ther Kohen Gadol wore all 8 garments, but there was no URIM V'TUMIM in the Choshen
For Aharon's sons (and all active kohanim), there were four garments - tunic, turban, belt, pants. The regular kohen's garments were also for honor and glory. Aharon and his sons were to be dressed in their garments and anointed to serve as kohanim. The linen pants of the kohanim, from waist to knees, was for modesty. Rambam says there were loops at the waist for a rope-belt. Rashi says the Michnasayim resembled boxer shorts in that they were not tight-fitting.
R'vi'i - Fourth Aliya - 18 p'sukim - 29:1-18
Chamishi - Fifth Aliya - 19 p'sukim - 29:19-37
Shishi - Sixth Aliya - 9 p'sukim - 29:38-46
In response to our consecration of the Kohanim, HaShem Himself will sanctify the Mishkan, the Altar, and the Kohanim. "And I will dwell among the People of Israel and be their G-d" (29:45). This pasuk is the companion of the pasuk that began the whole portion of Mikdash. In that first pasuk, the idea of G-d living among us, so to speak, and not merely in the Sanctuary that we construct for Him, is alluded to by the grammar of the word in the pasuk - B'TOCHAM. In this pasuk at the end (almost) of the instructions for making the Mikdash and everything in it and about it, the matter is spelled out.
Rabbi Yaakov Auerbach z"l points out that the G'matriya of that whole pasuk is 2449, the year from Creation in which the Mishkan was first dedicated.
After undertaking the construction of the Mishkan and everything involved with it, so to speak, we now have a clearer picture of things than we had with the initial command.
Sh'vi'i - Seventh Aliya - 10 p'sukim - 30:1-10
There is a dispute as to whether the Golden Mizbei'ach was hollow or solid. All agree that the Copper Mizbei'ach was hollow. It was filled with earth each time the people encamped. Not so, the Gold Altar. Some say that it was a solid block of acacia wood, covered with gold. This gave it a stability and strength it would not otherwise have. Others insist that the description of the top of the Mizbei'ach as a GAG, roof, implies it was hollow.
For Jews outside Yerushalayim... Your Maftir is the repeat of the last 3 p'sukim in T'TZAVEH and your Haftara is from Yechezkeil, 43:10-27. The last several chapters of Yechezkeil deal with the prophecies of the Beit HaMikdash of the future. The specific portion for T'tzaveh has many points that are parallel to points in the sedra. In Jerusalem, there is a special Maftir and Haftara.
Therefore, the 9-pasuk "other" Amalek portion from the end of B'shalach that everyone reads this year on Friday to three people, we read as Maftir in a second Sefer Torah on Shabbat Purim in Jerusalem. Women who missed ZACHOR last Shabbat (men too, but less definite that it will do the trick) should have KAVANA to fulfill the mitzva of ZACHOR when listening to VAYAVO AMALEK. If women are obligated on ZACHOR, then this passage also qualifies to fulfill that mitzva. Unlike Parshat Zachor last week, which contains three commands to us concerning Amalek, this Purim portion tells the original story and contains G-d's declaration that He will also fight against Amalek, so to speak.
Haftara - 33 p'sukim -Shmuel Alef 15:2-34
The Maftir tells us what we must do. The Haftara shows us what happens when it isn't done properly. Megilat Esther shows us what happens when it is done right. But the battle goes on... until the time of Mashiach.
When Zachor and Purim are days apart (as they usually are), we note the connection to the stories of Yehoshua and Amalek, Shaul and Amalek, and Mordechai and Amalek. All three are from Rachel Imeinu, and Mordechai, who "repaired" some of the damage caused by Shaul's misplaced mercy and acquiescence to the people's wishes, are both from from Binyamin.