God told Moshe to instruct the people to bring pure, pressed olive oil for lighting the Menorah in the Mishkan (Tabernacle). Aharon and his sons take charge of setting up and lighting the Menorah. Moshe guided “wise-hearted” workers to make the special garments for the Kohanim, “for glory and splendour”. The first four of the eight garments listed below were worn exclusively by the Kohen Gadol, the first of whom was Aharon. (1) The apron (ephod) was worn over Aharon’s tunic and robe. It was woven from coloured wool and linen, with two shoulder straps (ketefot) and a belt (cheshev) attached. Precious shoham stones (avnei shoham) were placed on each shoulder strap. Each stone was engraved with the names of six tribes.

(2) The breastplate (choshen) was placed above the ephod, with a similar weave. The front of the breastplate contained 12 different types of precious stones (avnei miluim), each one engraved with the name of a different tribe. Golden rings on the four corners allowed it to be attached to the ephod. The choshen ‘folded out’ to allow the insertion of a piece of parchment called the urim ve’tumim, which had the Ineffable Name of God written on it.

 (3) The robe (me’il), made of turquoise wool, was worn under the first two garments. Golden bells (rimonim), placed between multi-coloured woollen ‘pomegranate’ shapes, hung from the bottom hem. (4) The headplate (tzitz) was made of pure gold and had the words ‘Kodesh L’Hashem’ written on it. It was placed on Aharon’s forehead. Every Kohen wore (5) a tunic (ketonet) with a grid-like patterned knit, as well as (6) a linen turban (mitznefet), (7) an embroidered sash (avnet) and (8) linen trousers (michnasayim).

The command to consecrate the Mishkan was given. Every day for seven days, Moshe was to bring animal and bread offerings, dress Aharon and his sons in their priestly clothing and anoint Aharon’s head with oil. The blood from the offerings was to be placed on the altar to inaugurate it.

Moshe placed the blood of the second ram-offering on the ears, thumbs and toes of Aharon and his sons. Blood and oil were sprinkled on their garments. Moshe assisted the Kohanim in waving their inauguration offering.

Once the Mishkan was functional, the twice-daily Tamid (continual) offering was brought, one sheep in the morning and one in the afternoon, together with a flour offering and a wine libation.

The Mishkan also housed a gold-plated wooden mizbeach (altar), upon which the twice-daily incense offering was brought.

Skip to content