וְאַתָּה תְּצַוֶּה אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ שֶׁמֶן זַיִת זָךְ כָּתִית–לַמָּאוֹר: לְהַעֲלֹת נֵר, תָּמִיד
“And you, command the children of Israel, that they bring to you pure olive oil beaten for the light, to cause a lamp to burn continually” (Ex. 27:20).
“And you” appears repeatedly concerning the instruction of the wilderness tabernacle (Ex. 27:20; 28:1, 3). Who is the “you”? Well, it’s easy to discern that Moses is the you specifically addressed here, and elsewhere. The Lord, after all, gave the pattern and design to him; and as the leader, he is charged with its realization. It’s as if the Lord is saying, “And you, Moses, you be involved, you be part of what I’m doing, don’t just stand on the sidelines directing, get out there”
The portion I have in mind is the Torah portion for this week: תְּצַוֶּה/tetzeveh/command. In this portion, from Exodus 27:20 – 30:10, the name of Moses never appears, just וְאַתָּה, “And you.” “And you,” Moses, ensure that there is oil and people to serve the Menorah, the lights in the holy place. “And you,” Moses, equip those serving for their positions, prepare them and clothe them. “And you,” Moses, do not overlook the place of prayer and those serving there.
From the beginning of the construction of the tabernacle (Ex. 25), Moses has not only been doing, inspiring and equipping the artisans and Levitical clan, but all the people of Israel.
Yet: “You (alone) are not obligated to complete the task, but neither are you free to desist from it” (Pirke Avot 2:21).”
Several rabbinic authorities argue that in the absence of Moses’ name, the “and you” refers not only to Moses, but also to us reading these words so many generations later. Moses was exampling to a nation called to be priests/servants (Ex. 19:5-6), how to serve. In this nation there are servants to the servants, those anointed for ministry in the tabernacle. There are leaders for the leaders who are leading and following.
In the “and you” we are not reading some long ago dismissed language applying only to Moses, we are reading “and you” as spoken to us. “And you” provided an example to follow, that of Moses. We hear this again in the call of the greater Moses, Yeshua/Jesus, “You follow me!” (Jn. 21:22).
Following Messiah personalizes the mission of the “and you,” or “You follow me!” The Lord, in Moses and us, is calling us to be involved, to be active in the mission to build up, not just one tabernacle, but uncountable tabernacles of His presence (I Cor. 3:16). Rather than weaving a tapestry of fabrics, we are building disciples according to the Word who are then dispatched to serve, to be light kindling His light in others.
Faith in Messiah Jesus is not a spectator sport. It’s not a self-help strategy. It is a yielded life faith-ing in Yeshua becoming as a beaten work (Ex. 27:20) tended to by the Holy Spirit, shining out as a city on a hill named the Kingdom of God.
“And you” is a call: “You follow me!” In this we lead as we follow, we teach as we learn, and we grow even as we are humbled under His hand. Moses could have sat and directed from a throne of his own design, but the Lord pointed him … and us … to be involved in the life of manifested holy presence, His presence, as we labor and love among the human community as His moving tabernacle.
Here He takes flawed, common material, “and you,” and makes something beautiful for all to see, as He is glorified.
Yes, this was for you.
Be well. Shalom.