If, like mine, your religious instruction (or Cecil B. DeMille’s “Ten Commandments”) led you to imagine that the dialogue between G-d and Moses focused entirely on law-giving, then, like me, you might be surprised to realize how much of their interchange in this week’s portion is about the details of the Tabernacle’s construction and the fine points of the vestments for the high priest.
Dear G-d, who specified the pomegranates
alternating on the high priest’s hem
with bells of gold; who listed chrysolite
and jasper for the breastplate of decision;
lapis lazuli incised with names
of all twelve tribes; who ordered that the headdress
be gold, and the ephod* gold, crimson, and blue—
forgive Your daughter, who interrupts her prayer
to notice the red felt hat two pews away.
*An elaborate tunic, part of the priest’s vestments