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Sefer Shmos — Tetsaveh

INSIGHT: The Missing Name of Moshe

Tetsaveh – “You Shall Command…”

Tetsaveh – “You Shall Command…”

In last week’s Parsha, Parshas Terumah, we read about a marathon commandment from HaShem to his loyal servant Moshe – “Build for Me a sanctuary, a Mishkan.”

This commandment continues, in this week’s Parsha, Parshas Tetsaveh, where HaShem describes to Moshe in detail the uniforms the Kohanim would wear when they would serve in the Mishkan. The Parsha opens with HaShem’s words to Moshe, “And you shall command Bnei Yisrael…”

What’s surprising is that Moshe’s name is not mentioned even once in the entire Parsha! Nevertheless, no doubt about it, Moshe is the main character in all 101 Pesukim of Parshas Tetsaveh, and Hashem instructs Moshe time and again, “You shall do this” and “you shall do that.”

Shazak insight

The Case of the Missing Name of Moshe

Why is Moshe’s name not mentioned in Parshas Tetsaveh?

This question has puzzled even the greatest of Rabbis throughout the ages. Indeed, Moshe’s name is mentioned in the Torah more than anyone else’s, yet in Parshas Tetsaveh his name is not mentioned even once!

That’s because, next week’s Parsha, Parshas Ki Sisa, speaks about the sin of the Golden Calf. After this awful episode HaShem wanted to wipe out the entire Bnei Yisrael. Moshe protested and said to HaShem, “If you do not forgive them, erase my name from Your book (the Torah) which You wrote!” HaShem listened to Moshe, forgave Bnei Yisrael, but also did what Moshe asked and wiped his name out of at least one book, and that was the book of our Parsha – Parshas Tetsaveh.


But why Parshas Tetsaveh? Why not any other Parsha?


  1. Well, the Hebrew word for “from Your book” is מספרך – break it up into 2 – מספר כ’ and you get “from the 20th book.” So, counting from the first Parsha or book – Bereishis, the 20th is none other than Parshas Tetsaveh!
  2. Almost every year, Parshas Tetsaveh falls out during the week of the 7th day of the month of Adar. That’s the day Moshe Rabbeinu passed away. So, by not mentioning Moshe’s name in the Parsha, it’s as if to say that Moshe is no longer physically with us.
  3. On a happier note, Moshe was also born on the 7th day of Adar. When a baby boy is born, he isn’t named until the eighth day, when he has his Bris Milah. That’s why Moshe’s name is not mentioned!
  4. Here’s a simple answer. Look into Parshas Terumah and you’ll notice that Moshe’s name is only mentioned one time – at the beginning of Parshas Terumah! The first words of Terumah are, “And HaShem spoke to Moshe.” Throughout the rest of Parshas Terumah and the entire Parshas Tetsaveh, Moshe was never mentioned again by name. (Instead, HaShem instructed him, “you should build the Mishkan”; “you should make the holy clothes for Aharon your brother”.) So, considering that Parshas Terumah and Tetsaveh is one long instruction from HaShem, it makes sense that Moshe’s name is mentioned only the first time.
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