I was flipping through the new testament this morning, reading different passages that reference this reading. I had to giggle at the CJV’s rendering of Hebrews 7:9-10, “One might even go further and say that Levi, who himself receives tenths, paid a tenth through Avraham; inasmuch as he was still in his ancestor Avraham’s body when Malki-Tzedek met him.” The argument in Hebrews is not about tenths/tithes, but about how superior Malki-Tzedek’s everlasting priesthood is compared with the temporary priesthood serving in the tent/temple. To say that Levi paid a tenth to Malki-Tzedek is to say that even Levi looked to Malki-Tzedek as his superior. Wow, those are fighting words! I think that’s why Stern renders it “One might even go further” because probably if anyone ever dared to make that argument, it would have been… well, not very well received. The writer has other ways to get to the same conclusion, so he doesn’t need to take that route, but it is kind of a bizarre trump card; I could see that line as the last thing said before the fists start flying.
Just to be clear, though, that passage does not mean Tetzaveh and everything related to the earthly tent/tabernacle and priesthood are irrelevant! It’s still the best information we have about the eternal one. Instead, I think it means there is a chain of these priestly offices: the Israelites defer to the Levites who defer to their high priest, but all of those are to defer to the eternal priesthood of Malki-Tzedek. The earthly one was undoubtedly glorious and cool; the eternal one is just more glorious and cooler.
Faraday Suits and the High Priest (Cohen haGadol)
I asked my brother to look at the high priest’s clothing and tell me if he thought that the metal woven into the material would protect the person wearing the clothing from being zapped by a deadly electrical charge zooming around the tabernacle (if in fact such a charge existed in the tabernacle). He told me to find the Arcattack “Imperial March” Faraday Fun video on YouTube (skip the first 40 seconds) for an example of a Faraday suit, which seemed to him quite a bit like the high priest’s uniform.