Altar of the Incense

Feb 22, 2015

וְעָשִׂיתָ מִזְבֵּחַ מִקְטַר קְטֹרֶת עֲצֵי שִׁטִּים תַּעֲשֶׂה אֹתוֹ׃

You shall make a mizbayach for burning incense; make it of acacia wood.

Exodus 30:1

וְלָקַחְתָּ אֶת־כֶּסֶף הַכִּפֻּרִים מֵאֵת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְנָתַתָּ אֹתוֹ עַל־עֲבֹדַת אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וְהָיָה לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לְזִכָּרוֹן לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה לְכַפֵּר עַל־נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם׃

You shall take the expiation money from the Israelites and assign it to the service of the Tent of Meeting; it shall serve the Israelites as a reminder before Hashem, as expiation for your persons.

Exodus 30:16

The portion of Tetzaveh ends with the command to build another altar, this time a smaller one for bringing incense. It is to be built of acacia wood and covered in gold. It will have four raised corners, or horns, a crown of gold, and gold rings through which the gold-plated wooden staves will be threaded to carry the altar. Only incense may be brought on this altar, and it must be brought daily, when the High Priest lights the lamps. The specific recipe for the incense will be laid out in next week’s portion, but the Torah tells us no other combination must be brought. The Altar of the Incense will also figure in the special services for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

Why do you think incense was part of both the daily service and the special atonement service of Yom Kippur?


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