Tetzaveh by David Hartley Mark

The Testament of Elijah the Prophet

On Behalf of the Almighty God of Israel

Maker of Heaven & Earth

Delivered to HaRav Chaim Dovid ben Yisrael Zelig v’Etel

(Rabbi David Hartley Mark)

At Midnight, 2/22/15

Which May or May Not Supersede

Previous Instructions Regarding the Priestly Vestments

As Listed in

Exodus 28:31-42

You Alone, Reader, Must Decide

“And the Word of God came to me, saying, ‘I, the Lord your God, in light of Modern Conditions on the Earth which I, in My infinite wisdom, have created, have changed My mind regarding the Priestly Vestments which I commanded My Servant Moses and the High Priest, Aaron his Brother;

“For those Previous Instructions were Pertinent for Another Time and Place; an Age of Faith in an Invisible G-d, but the Situation has altered somewhat, this being an Age in which Man has turned against Man, and Force Reigns Paramount, to My Great Sorrow;

“And the Following is more appropriate for the Changing Times in which Humanity lives today.

“And so, Son of Man, take this down, whether by Hammer & Chisel, Papyrus & Stylus, Parchment & Quill, Keyboard and Mouse; for I, the Lord, am not a Repetitive God, and I am only going to Say this Once, very Slowly and Clearly, with Long Pauses, so there be no Possibility of Error.

“And so, we begin: the Garments of the Kohanim, the Priests: all wore tunics, breeches, turbans of linen. Linen is a wonderful cloth; it is vegetable in origin, strong, durable, elegant; it absorbs sweat. But it has become too expensive.

“My Priests should be no Grander than the People whom they represent. Henceforth, they shall wear Cotton. It is humbler, as should they all be, when they serve Me in the Sanctuary.

“Now, to the Kohen Gadol, the High Priest. He also wears, in addition to the above, a Cloak of Blue Wool, with Golden Bells and Pomegranate-shaped decorations on its hem.

“Where did the Wool come from? I wish for the Sheep whence it came to be Free-Range, not Factory-Farmed. Let those Innocent, Gentle Beasts who donate their Skin-coverings to serve Me gambol, play, and live out their short, animal lives in as much freedom as we can afford them. I caution against the usage of synthetic chemicals, including pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, hormones and antibiotics. In animal production, I recommend, where feasible, that the herdspeople provide a natural environment for animals and foster natural behaviors. There, now: I believe that that should cover the Cotton (no more Linen, mind), and the Wool. Must I repeat Myself? No? Good.

“And now, to the Gold. I had commanded that the High Priest wear also a Golden Headplate, the Tzitz, on his forehead, bearing the words, ‘Holy to God.’

“But where is the Gold coming from? In Mali, a Major African Gold-Producing Nation, the children working in the mines, some as young as six years old, help dig shafts with pickaxes, lift and carry heavy bags of ore, and pan the gold with an amalgamation process involving mercury. This poisons both their young lives, and the environment in which it is used. And Behold, Son of Man: Mali and other nations in Africa and elsewhere also use child soldiers to kill one another; Children should be in School. I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God; I will not have the High Priest lift his hands to Me in prayer, wearing a diadem which drips with the Blood of the Innocent.

“I wish for him to wear a plain, cloth cap when he prays, similar to that which the Common Jewish Folk wear—let its color vary with the Seasons of the Year, and carry the Formula, ‘Act Thou Holy to One Another.’

“Get thou hence, All of You, and Make these Changes forthwith. There: I do believe that you’re beginning to Understand Me and My Ways better. It’s a Learning Curve, but I have all Infinity to Wait….”

Here Endeth the Testament, 2 am

No One Said

Being Human

Was Going

To Be Easy

David Hartley Mark is from New York City’s Lower East Side. He attended Yeshiva University, the City University of NY Graduate Center for English Literature, and received semicha at the Academy for Jewish Religion. He currently teaches English at Everglades University in Boca Raton, FL, and has a Shabbat pulpit at Temple Sholom of Pompano Beach. His literary tastes run to Isaac Bashevis Singer, Stephen King, King David, Kohelet, Christopher Marlowe, and the Harlem Renaissance

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