Tetzaveh – Parshat Zachor


Preparations for the King’s Coronation are well in place. The meticulously planned ceremony, which the British do so well, is being organised down to the very last detail.

Some of these details are derived from the biblical coronation of the kings of Israel. These were, in turn, derived from the investiture of the Kohen Gadol or High Priest, as described in this week’s parasha.

Aaron, the first High Priest, is inaugurated in the following way:

“You shall take the garments and dress Aaron with the Robe of the Ephod, the Ephod and the Breastplate, you shall girdle him with the sash of the Ephod. You shall place the Turban on his head and the Crown of Sanctity over the Turban. You shall take the anointing oil, pour it on his head and anoint him.” 

(Shemot 29:5-7)

Similarly, King Charles will be robed in special garments. He will receive the symbols of office such as the Orb and Sceptre. He will be anointed with oil and the St. Edwards Crown will be placed on his head.

When the late queen was crowned, the anointing ceremony was regarded as too sacred to be shared with the public and it took place beneath a canopy such that it was screened from gaze. Reports are that King Charles wishes to use a canopy with a see-through top so that it can be caught on camera for the first time.

The amount of oil used on the Coronation Spoon will be minimal.

By contrast, when Moses anointed Aaron, he was more generous in the use of oil. Psalm 133 describes how the oil ran down Aaron’s face and on to his beard and clothes. The oil symbolised G-d’s blessings that would flow from Aaron to the rest of the people.

The Hebrew term for one who is anointed in this way is Mashiach. The Messiah, when he arrives will be anointed with oil in a parallel ceremony.

We look forward to that event, accompanied by G-d’s generous blessings, speedily in our days. Amen.