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Why is the inner mizbeyach not mentioned until Tetzaveh?

Written by D Fine

All the Mishkan keilim and structural stuff is all mentioned in parshas Terumah. With 2 exceptions. The kiyor (sink/washing basin) is only mentioned in Ki Sissa, whilst the mizbeyach for ketores spices finds itself placed in our sedra of Tetzaveh. We’ll deal with the inner mizbeyach; why did it not get mentioned in Terumah with all the other vessels? Here are two answers…

1) All the other keilim play a role in bringing down HaShem’s Shechinah into the Mishkan, whilst the inner mizbeyach’s role is that once HaShem’s Shechinah is already there, all the avodah done in the Mishkan should be pleasing and sweet to HaShem [Seforno]

2) It is mentioned separately because this ketores offering caused the main kavod for HaShem [Ramban]

A3) The Netziv writes that all the other keilim in the Mishkan represented Torah; hence their proximity to the aron – the home of the luchos. But (as he proves from Midrashim) the mizbeyach haketores represented the idea of chesed and finding favour in HaShem’s eyes via that avenue. Thus, the inner mizbeyach is put a sedra apart from the other keilim, and is not positioned next to the aron either.

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