[You] Shall Further Instruct
Exodus 27:20−30:10
Translation from The Torah: A Modern Commentary (CCAR Press)


27:20] You shall further instruct the Israelites to bring you clear oil of beaten olives for lighting, for kindling lamps regularly. 21] Aaron and his sons shall set them up in the Tent of Meeting, outside the curtain which is over [the Ark of] the Pact, [to burn] from evening to morning before the Eternal. It shall be a due from the Israelites for all time, throughout the ages.

28:1] You shall bring forward your brother Aaron, with his sons, from among the Israelites, to serve Me as priests: Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron. 2] Make sacral vestments for your brother Aaron, for dignity and adornment. 3] Next you shall instruct all who are skillful, whom I have endowed with the gift of skill, to make Aaron’s vestments, for consecrating him to serve Me as priest. 4] These are the vestments they are to make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a fringed tunic, a headdress, and a sash. They shall make those sacral vestments for your brother Aaron and his sons, for priestly service to Me; 5] they, therefore, shall receive the gold, the blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and the fine linen.

6] They shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and of fine twisted linen, worked into designs. 7] It shall have two shoulder-pieces attached; they shall be attached at its two ends. 8] And the decorated band that is upon it shall be made like it, of one piece with it: of gold, of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and of fine twisted linen. 9] Then take two lazuli stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel: 10] six of their names on the one stone, and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, in the order of their birth. 11] On the two stones you shall make seal engravings—the work of a lapidary—of the names of the sons of Israel. Having bordered them with frames of gold, 12] attach the two stones to the shoulder-pieces of the ephod, as stones for remembrance of the Israelite people, whose names Aaron shall carry upon his two shoulder-pieces for remembrance before the Eternal.

13] Then make frames of gold 14] and two chains of pure gold; braid these like corded work, and fasten the corded chains to the frames.

15] You shall make a breastpiece of decision, worked into a design; make it in the style of the ephod: make it of gold, of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and of fine twisted linen. 16] It shall be square and doubled, a span in length and a span in width. 17] Set in it mounted stones, in four rows of stones. The first row shall be a row of carnelian, chrysolite, and emerald; 18] the second row: a turquoise, a sapphire, and an amethyst; 19] the third row: a jacinth, an agate, and a crystal; 20] and the fourth row: a beryl, a lapis lazuli, and a jasper. They shall be framed with gold in their mountings. 21] The stones shall correspond [in number] to the names of the sons of Israel: twelve, corresponding to their names. They shall be engraved like seals, each with its name, for the twelve tribes.

22] On the breastpiece make braided chains of corded work in pure gold. 23] Make two rings of gold on the breastpiece, and fasten the two rings at the two ends of the breastpiece, 24] attaching the two golden cords to the two rings at the ends of the breastpiece. 25] Then fasten the two ends of the cords to the two frames, which you shall attach to the shoulder-pieces of the ephod, at the front. 26] Make two rings of gold and attach them to the two ends of the breastpiece, at its inner edge, which faces the ephod. 27] And make two other rings of gold and fasten them on the front of the ephod, low on the two shoulder-pieces, close to its seam above the decorated band. 28] The breastpiece shall be held in place by a cord of blue from its rings to the rings of the ephod, so that the breastpiece rests on the decorated band and does not come loose from the ephod. 29] Aaron shall carry the names of the sons of Israel on the breastpiece of decision over his heart, when he enters the sanctuary, for remembrance before the Eternal at all times. 30] Inside the breastpiece of decision you shall place the Urim and Thummim, so that they are over Aaron’s heart when he comes before the Eternal. Thus Aaron shall carry the instrument of decision for the Israelites over his heart before the Eternal at all times.

31] You shall make the robe of the ephod of pure blue. 32] The opening for the head shall be in the middle of it; the opening shall have a binding of woven work round about—it shall be like the opening of a coat of mail—so that it does not tear. 33] On its hem make pomegranates of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, all around the hem, with bells of gold between them all around: 34] a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, all around the hem of the robe. 35] Aaron shall wear it while officiating, so that the sound of it is heard when he comes into the sanctuary before the Eternal and when he goes out—that he may not die.

36] You shall make a frontlet of pure gold and engrave on it the seal inscription: “Holy to the Eternal.” 37] Suspend it on a cord of blue, so that it may remain on the headdress; it shall remain on the front of the headdress. 38] It shall be on Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may take away any sin arising from the holy things that the Israelites consecrate, from any of their sacred donations; it shall be on his forehead at all times, to win acceptance for them before the Eternal.

39] You shall make the fringed tunic of fine linen.

You shall make the headdress of fine linen.

You shall make the sash of embroidered work.

40] And for Aaron’s sons also you shall make tunics, and make sashes for them, and make turbans for them, for dignity and adornment. 41] Put these on your brother Aaron and on his sons as well; anoint them, and ordain them and consecrate them to serve Me as priests.

42] You shall also make for them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; they shall extend from the hips to the thighs. 43] They shall be worn by Aaron and his sons when they enter the Tent of Meeting or when they approach the altar to officiate in the sanctuary, so that they do not incur punishment and die. It shall be a law for all time for him and for his offspring to come.

29:1] This is what you shall do to them in consecrating them to serve Me as priests: Take a young bull of the herd and two rams without blemish; 2] also unleavened bread, unleavened cakes with oil mixed in, and unleavened wafers spread with oil—make these of choice wheat flour. 3] Place these in one basket and present them in the basket, along with the bull and the two rams. 4] Lead Aaron and his sons up to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, and wash them with water. 5] Then take the vestments, and clothe Aaron with the tunic, the robe of the ephod, the ephod, and the breastpiece, and gird him with the decorated band of the ephod. 6] Put the headdress on his head, and place the holy diadem upon the headdress. 7] Take the anointing oil and pour it on his head and anoint him. 8] Then bring his sons forward; clothe them with tunics 9] and wind turbans upon them. And gird both Aaron and his sons with sashes. And so they shall have priesthood as their right for all time.

You shall then ordain Aaron and his sons. 10] Lead the bull up to the front of the Tent of Meeting, and let Aaron and his sons lay their hands upon the head of the bull. 11] Slaughter the bull before the Eternal, at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, 12] and take some of the bull’s blood and put it on the horns of the altar with your finger; then pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. 13] Take all the fat that covers the entrails, the protuberance on the liver, and the two kidneys with the fat on them, and turn them into smoke upon the altar. 14] The rest of the flesh of the bull, its hide, and its dung shall be put to the fire outside the camp; it is a purgation offering.

15] Next take the one ram, and let Aaron and his sons lay their hands upon the ram’s head. 16] Slaughter the ram, and take its blood and dash it against all sides of the altar. 17] Cut up the ram into sections, wash its entrails and legs, and put them with its quarters and its head. 18] Turn all of the ram into smoke upon the altar. It is a burnt offering to the Eternal, a pleasing odor, an offering by fire to the Eternal.

19] Then take the other ram, and let Aaron and his sons lay their hands upon the ram’s head. 20] Slaughter the ram, and take some of its blood and put it on the ridge of Aaron’s right ear and on the ridges of his sons’ right ears, and on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet; and dash the rest of the blood against every side of the altar round about. 21] Take some of the blood that is on the altar and some of the anointing oil and sprinkle upon Aaron and his vestments, and also upon his sons and his sons’ vestments. Thus shall he and his vestments be holy, as well as his sons and his sons’ vestments.

22] You shall take from the ram the fat parts—the broad tail, the fat that covers the entrails, the protuberance on the liver, the two kidneys with the fat on them—and the right thigh; for this is a ram of ordination. 23] Add one flat loaf of bread, one cake of oil bread, and one wafer, from the basket of unleavened bread that is before the Eternal. 24] Place all these on the palms of Aaron and his sons, and offer them as an elevation offering before the Eternal. 25] Take them from their hands and turn them into smoke upon the altar with the burnt offering, as a pleasing odor before the Eternal; it is an offering by fire to the Eternal.

26] Then take the breast of Aaron’s ram of ordination and offer it as an elevation offering before the Eternal; it shall be your portion. 27] You shall consecrate the breast that was offered as an elevation offering and the thigh that was offered as a gift offering from the ram of ordination—from that which was Aaron’s and from that which was his sons’— 28] and those parts shall be a due for all time from the Israelites to Aaron and his descendants. For they are a gift; and so shall they be a gift from the Israelites, their gift to the Eternal out of their sacrifices of well-being.

29] The sacral vestments of Aaron shall pass on to his sons after him, for them to be anointed and ordained in. 30] He among his sons who becomes priest in his stead, who enters the Tent of Meeting to officiate within the sanctuary, shall wear them seven days.

31] You shall take the ram of ordination and boil its flesh in the sacred precinct; 32] and Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram, and the bread that is in the basket, at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. 33] These things shall be eaten only by those for whom expiation was made with them when they were ordained and consecrated; they may not be eaten by a lay person, for they are holy. 34] And if any of the flesh of ordination, or any of the bread, is left until morning, you shall put what is left to the fire; it shall not be eaten, for it is holy.

35] Thus you shall do to Aaron and his sons, just as I have commanded you. You shall ordain them through seven days, 36] and each day you shall prepare a bull as a purgation offering for expiation; you shall purge the altar by performing purification upon it, and you shall anoint it to consecrate it. 37] Seven days you shall perform purification for the altar to consecrate it, and the altar shall become most holy; whatever touches the altar shall become consecrated.

38] Now this is what you shall offer upon the altar: two yearling lambs each day, regularly. 39] You shall offer the one lamb in the morning, and you shall offer the other lamb at twilight. 40] There shall be a tenth of a measure of choice flour with a quarter of a hin of beaten oil mixed in, and a libation of a quarter hin of wine for one lamb; 41] and you shall offer the other lamb at twilight, repeating with it the meal offering of the morning with its libation—an offering by fire for a pleasing odor to the Eternal, 42] a regular burnt offering throughout the generations, at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting before the Eternal.

For there I will meet with you, and there I will speak with you, 43] and there I will meet with the Israelites, and it shall be sanctified by My Presence. 44] I will sanctify the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and I will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve Me as priests. 45] I will abide among the Israelites, and I will be their God. 46] And they shall know that I the Eternal am their God, who brought them out from the land of Egypt that I might abide among them, I the Eternal their God.

30:1] You shall make an altar for burning incense; make it of acacia wood. 2] It shall be a cubit long and a cubit wide—it shall be square—and two cubits high, its horns of one piece with it. 3] Overlay it with pure gold: its top, its sides round about, and its horns; and make a gold molding for it round about. 4] And make two gold rings for it under its molding; make them on its two side walls, on opposite sides. They shall serve as holders for poles with which to carry it. 5] Make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold.

6] Place it in front of the curtain that is over the Ark of the Pact—in front of the cover that is over the Pact—where I will meet with you. 7] On it Aaron shall burn aromatic incense: he shall burn it every morning when he tends the lamps, 8] and Aaron shall burn it at twilight when he lights the lamps—a regular incense offering before the Eternal throughout the ages. 9] You shall not offer alien incense on it, or a burnt offering or a meal offering; neither shall you pour a libation on it. 10] Once a year Aaron shall perform purification upon its horns with blood of the purgation offering of purification; purification shall be performed upon it once a year throughout the ages. It is most holy to the Eternal.

Translation from The Torah: A Modern Commentary, copyright (c) 2016 by CCAR Press. All rights reserved. Translation of Exodus; Leviticus; Numbers; Deuteronomy from NJPS © 1962, 1985, 1999; CJPS © 2006. Used and adapted by CCAR Press with permission from The Jewish Publication Society and the University of Nebraska Press. No part of this translation may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, distributed, or be transmitted without express written permission from the Central Conference of American Rabbis. For permission, please contact CCAR Press.