Did you notice that Moshe’s name is not mentioned in this parshah? The Baal HaTurim says that when Moshe davened to Hashem to save Klal Yisroel after the חטא העגל, he pleaded, “Erase me from Your Book.” As a result of Moshe’s emphatic statement, Hashem chose one parshah in which Moshe’s name would not be recorded. Many meforshim ask why Parshas Tetzaveh was chosen to be the parshah from which Moshe’s name was “erased.”
HoRav Nissan Alpert זצ“ל suggests that the word tetzaveh, command, alludes to leadership, since the function of leadership is to command and guide the people. In order to be successful, leaders must realize they are merely vehicles of Hashem in motivating Klal Yisroel. Leaders must transcend egotism, so that the people perceive them simply as agents of Hashem.
HoRav Alpert points to the emphasis on the word ואתה, “and you.” The word אתה represents the unique personality of the leader. A leader’s behavior should serve as a role model for everyone, so that the people are encouraged to serve Hashem by “your” example. HoRav Alpert’s interpretation of the posuk would be: ואתה תצוה ,אתה, where your total demeanor should be an example to Bnei Yisroel in observing Hashem’s mitzvos.
“Leaders” and “parents” are, in reality, synonyms, because parents are leaders in their families. Furthermore, we know that modeling by parents is an effective pedagogic tool. When Yosef was faced with his most difficult test as a young man in the incident with אשת פוטיפר, he was saved by visualizing the image of his father, Yaakov. Thus, Yosef was able to regain control over his passions, so that he was saved for the great destiny that awaited him.
Likewise, we should be aware of the moral and spiritual “image” that we imprint upon the hearts and minds of our precious children. If a child is imbued with this positive image, it will remain with him throughout his life. As parents, we should take time to reflect on the examples we set and consider whether we are truly acting as “leaders” for our children.
Rabbi Gidon Goldberg
Head of School