Note: The Shabbos Torah Reading is divided into 7 sections. Each
is called an Aliya [literally: Go up] since for each Aliya, one
person "goes up" to make a bracha [blessing] on the Torah Reading.
The following Aliya summary will list the numerous laws detailed in
Parshas Mishpatim. A total of 53 Mitzvot are commanded.
The Parsha opens with the commandment to use pure olive oil in
lighting the Menorah. Aharon and his four sons were selected to be the
Kohanim. The basic garments of a Kohain consisted of a turban, shirt,
pants, and belt. The Kohain Gadol wore four additional garments: the
Me'ill - a long outer robe; the Ayphod - a quilted vest or bibbed apron;
the Choshen - jeweled breastplate; and the Tzitz - engraved, golden,
forehead plate. The quilted vest is described in this Aliya along with the
two Shoham stones. These were engraved with the names of the 12 Tribes and
set on the shoulders of the Kohain Gadol.
2nd Aliya: The cloth settings for
the Shoham stones are described along
with the jeweled breastplate. The method of fastening the breastplate to
the quilted vest is explained. The breastplate was a quilted garment set
with 12 stones, each engraved with the name of a Tribe.
3rd Aliya: The long outer robe is
described. The hem of this garment was
edged with small bells intended to announce the presence of the Kohain
Gadol as he walked through the Bais Hamikdash. (From this the Gemara
derives that a husband, prior to entering the door of his own home, out of
respect for his wife, should announce his arrival by knocking on the
door.) The engraved, golden forehead plate and the Kohain Gadol's turban
are described, along with the four basic garments worn by all Kohanim. All
the garments were hand made of the finest white linen. The special
vestments of the Kohain Gadol were woven from a special thread spun from
five different colored threads, including a thread made of pure gold.
4th, 5th, & 6th Aliyot: The seven
day ceremony consecrating the Kohanim
into their priestly service is detailed along with the consecration of the
Mizbeach - Altar.
7th Aliya: The last vessel to be
described is the inner, golden Altar,
used to burn the daily incense offering. This offering, as well as the
daily preparation for the lighting of the Menorah, could only be performed
by the Kohain Gadol. The special mixture of incense called the Kitores,
could only be formulated for this purpose. (The renowned biblical
archeologist, Vendell Jones, claims to have unearthed a hidden cache
containing 600 kilos of the Kitores, buried before the 1st Bais Hamikdash