• Dvar for Tzav (Leviticus 6:1-8:36)

    Parshat Tzav lists the various types of sacrifices one would bring. The first one described is the Olah, which is completely sacrificed, with no opportunities for the priests to partake, and he brought twice a day, every day (6:2). This is followed by the Micha, Chatat and Asham offerings. The last one described is the Shlamim, given as an expression of gratitude (not related to any sin), and that is shared with the Kohen and the donor as well (7:11-15). Is there a reason for this particular order?

    It could be that the sequence is a practical lesson for us: Relationships need to start with constant selfless giving. Parents are introduced to this form of giving early on, even before the child is born, but it’s true for all our relationships, with friends, spouses and G-d. If you follow that with devoting a portion of your efforts to others (Mincha offerings), followed by apologizing when we do something wrong (Chatat and Asham offerings), we’ll hopefully get to the point of thankfulness (Shlamim offering) and those around us for all that we have been blessed with.

  • Dvar for Tzav (Leviticus 6:1-8:36)

    Our Parsha, Tzav, informs us that the priests’ first task of the day was to remove the ashes from the offering sacrificed the previous day (Leviticus 6:3). Is there any significance to this being the priests’ first order of business with which to start the day?

    Rabbi Avi Weiss explains that the priest begins the day by removing the ashes to illustrate the importance of his remaining involved with the mundane. Too often, those who rise to important positions separate themselves from the people and abandon the everyday menial tasks. By starting the day with ash-cleaning, the Torah insists it shouldn’t be this way.

    A few years ago a couple appeared before Rabbi Gifter, asking him to rule on a family dispute. The husband, a member of Rabbi Gifter’s kollel (an all day Torah learning program) felt that, as one who studied Torah, it was beneath his dignity to take out the garbage. His wife felt otherwise. Rabbi Gifter concluded that while the husband should in fact help his wife he had no legal religious obligation to remove the trash. The next morning, before the early services, Rabbi Gifter knocked at the door of the young couple. Startled, the young man asked Rabbi Gifter in. No, responded Rabbi Gifter, I’ve not come to socialize but to take out your garbage. You may believe it’s beneath your dignity, but it’s not beneath mine. This message comes to us courtesy of the sacrificial ashes.

  • Dvar for Tzav (Leviticus 6:1-8:36)

    Parshat Tzav includes a Passuk (verse) scarcely commented on, describing how the Kohen (Priest) needs to remove the clothes he wore when he gathered the ashes of the Olah offering, put on “other clothing” (6:4) and remove the ashes. Why would a change of clothing be required for simply walking ashes?

    Rashi explains that it’s not proper to mix a cup of wine for one’s superior in the same clothing in which one cooked a pot. Rav Moshe Feinstein points out how the Torah considers the rules of proper decency and etiquette so important that it included laws to that effect in the Torah. Being decent and acting properly isn’t just a good idea, it’s the (Jewish) law.

  • Dvar for Tzav (Leviticus 6:1-8:36)

    Our Parsha, Tzav, informs us that the priests’ first task of the day was to remove the ashes from the offering sacrificed the previous day (Leviticus 6:3). Is there any significance to this being the priests’ first order of business with which to start the day?

    Rabbi Avi Weiss explains that the priest begins the day by removing the ashes to illustrate the importance of his remaining involved with the mundane. Too often, those who rise to important positions separate themselves from the people and abandon the everyday menial tasks. By starting the day with ash-cleaning, the Torah insists it shouldn’t be this way.

    A few years ago a couple appeared before Rabbi Gifter, asking him to rule on a family dispute. The husband, a member of Rabbi Gifter’s kollel (an all day Torah learning program) felt that, as one who studied Torah, it was beneath his dignity to take out the garbage. His wife felt otherwise. Rabbi Gifter concluded that while the husband should in fact help his wife he had no legal religious obligation to remove the trash. The next morning, before the early services, Rabbi Gifter knocked at the door of the young couple. Startled, the young man asked Rabbi Gifter in. No, responded Rabbi Gifter, I’ve not come to socialize but to take out your garbage. You may believe it’s beneath your dignity, but it’s not beneath mine. This message comes to us courtesy of the sacrificial ashes.

  • Daily Aliya for Tzav, Shvii (7th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: Further anointing of Aharon, his sons, and their garments. Then Moshe told them to prepare part of the meat for eating with the accompanying cakes and wafers. That which was left over was to be burned. During the seven inaugural days, the kohanim were not to leave the Mishkan; they remained there as an honor-guard.

    This time, when the Torah says that they did everything that G-d commanded, it is not just saying “great job” to the Kohanim for doing their jobs. Had they not done “all the things that G-d commanded via Moshe”, they would have been liable to the Death penalty from Heaven. These were serious, life-or-death responsibilities.

  • Daily Aliya for Tzav, Shishi (6th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: The second ram was then offered and several procedures, as specified in the Torah, followed. Moshe Rabeinu was an active participant in the 7-day inauguration period for the Mishkan. Thereafter, Aharon and his sons (and all kohanim) are the ones who perform the sacred service of the Mikdash.

    Some commentators speculate that had Moshe accepted his first mission at the Bush without continually claiming his inabilities, he would have been the Kohen Gadol as well as Leader (Melech) of the People. Instead, Aharon was “given to him” then, to share the burdens of leadership. Moshe was acutely aware that he was to pass the baton to Aharon in this vital area of communal and spiritual function. It must have been difficult for Moshe to step back at this point.

  • Daily Aliya for Tzav, Chamishi (5th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: A bull as a sin-offering is brought and Aharon and his sons “lean” on it. Leaning (smicha) is accompanied by confession (vidui) or words of praise to G-d, depending upon the sacrifice. The bull was slaughtered and part of its blood was put on the corners of the Altar and on its base. Parts of the bull were placed on the Altar; the remainder was burned outside the camp.

    Leaning is a vital element of most personal korbanot. It facilitates a psychological identification with the animal and adds meaning to the act of sacrifice. If acts had to have meaning, certainly words (prayers) should have even more meaning/identification!

  • Daily Aliya for Tzav, Revii (4th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: We now read about the induction of the priests and the inauguration of the Tabernacle. In the presence of all the Jews, Moshe dressed Aaron and his sons in the priestly vestments and anointed them, along with the Tabernacle and its vessels, with the holy anointing oil.

    According to Rashi, the seven day inauguration period for the Mishkan preceded its erection. This, says Rashi, is another example of the Torah not always presenting the story in chronological order. Could the reason for the reversed order be to demonstrate that the product is more important than the process, at least in this case of having G-d’s presence)?

  • Dvar for Tzav (Leviticus 6:1-8:36)

    Our Parsha, Tzav, informs us that the priests’ first task of the day was to remove the ashes from the offering sacrificed the previous day (Leviticus 6:3). Is there any significance to this being the priests’ first order of business with which to start the day?

    Rabbi Avi Weiss explains that the priest begins the day by removing the ashes to illustrate the importance of his remaining involved with the mundane. Too often, those who rise to important positions separate themselves from the people and abandon the everyday menial tasks. By starting the day with ash-cleaning, the Torah insists it shouldn’t be this way.

    A few years ago a couple appeared before Rabbi Gifter, asking him to rule on a family dispute. The husband, a member of Rabbi Gifter’s kollel (an all day Torah learning program) felt that, as one who studied Torah, it was beneath his dignity to take out the garbage. His wife felt otherwise. Rabbi Gifter concluded that while the husband should in fact help his wife he had no legal religious obligation to remove the trash. The next morning, before the early services, Rabbi Gifter knocked at the door of the young couple. Startled, the young man asked Rabbi Gifter in. No, responded Rabbi Gifter, I’ve not come to socialize but to take out your garbage. You may believe it’s beneath your dignity, but it’s not beneath mine. This message comes to us courtesy of the sacrificial ashes.

  • Daily Aliya for Tzav, Shlishi (3rd Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: The Torah now discusses the Thanksgiving Offering, brought by an individual who survived a perilous circumstance. We then learn about various grounds for the invalidation of a sacrifice, such as impurity or improper thoughts on the part of the priest performing the service. We are then commanded not to consume blood or any of the fats offered on the altar. The prohibition against eating these fats applies to all domesticated animals. The section wraps up with the portions of meat the priest is given from the Peace Offering. With this we conclude the laws of sacrifices.

    It’s interesting to note that the most severe lapse in a kohen’s obligation is one concerning time. A lapse regarding place of the eating of the offering, for example, is less severe (punishment-wise). the sanctity of time is more important than that of place. (from of a long-time-ago drasha by Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld.)

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