At the beginning of T'tzave, Exodus 27:20–28:3, we have three divine commands to Moses beginning with "וְאַתָּה / v'ata / and thou".

Verse 20:

וְאַתָּה תְּצַוֶּה אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ שֶׁמֶן זַיִת זָךְ כָּתִית לַמָּאוֹר…‏‎ / And you shall command the Israelites, and they shall take for you pure olive oil pressed for light…

Verse 1:

וְאַתָּה הַקְרֵב אֵלֶיךָ אֶת אַהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ וְאֶת בָּנָיו אִתּוֹ…‏‎ / And you bring to yourself your brother Aaron and his sons…

Verse 3:

וְאַתָּה תְּדַבֵּר אֶל כָּל חַכְמֵי לֵב…‏‎ / And you shall speak to all wise of heart…

Why the difference in grammatical mood (or aspect? or tense? whatever it is …) — specifically, why do verses 20 and 3 have "and you [future-tense verb]" and verse 1 have "and you [command form of the verb]"?

1 Answer 1


The first instance is because that the olives and the oil made from it are to be used for fulfilling the mitzvah stated in Beha'aloscha. This is a commandment in the future after the mishkan has been set up and inaugurated.

The second instance is being performed at once. Moshe Rabbeinu is acting in the role that the Sanhedrin will perform in the future. Rav Hirsch translates Tetzaveh 28:1

And thou, let Aaron thy brother and his sons with him, come near to thee from among the Children of Israel, that he may minister unto Me as priest: Aaron Nadab and Avihu, Eleazar and Ithamar as sons of Aaron.

Rav Hirsch explains that this is the appointment that is being made now so that they become the representatives of Bnai Yisrael to perform the service that will be instituted whan the mishkan has been completed.

He attains the honour of being taken from the midst of the nation to be placed near to "you", for your work for the nation, inasmuch as he is set to work for the accomplishment of the object of your mission.

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