This week our Torah portion covers Exodus 27:20 to 30:10. The section is called Tetzaveh which means “you command,” the first distinctive phrase in the text.

Tetzaveh introduces one of the most fundamental institutions in the Jewish religion: the priesthood. Originally, the first born of every Israelite family was dedicated to the priesthood. The priestly commission across all tribes began on the fateful night in Egypt, when the firstborns of all of Israel were saved from the angel of death. That did not last long, however. After the incident of the golden calf at Sinai, God reduced the priestly office to a single tribe, the Levites.

Why were the Levites singled out for this honor and what is the role of the priesthood?