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

As the priests are inducted at the Mishkan’s (Tabernacle) inauguration, a Chatat (sin offering) is offered as the very first sacrifice (8:14). What is the sin that is being atoned for?

Sifra suggests that atonement was required because some people may have been shamed into donating for the Mishkan; if they did not truly give voluntarily, then the material could be considered stolen. This inaugural sacrifice sets the tone for the level of sensitivity exhibited by the Torah and in turn, serves as a model for our own conduct. Social pressure can lead to devastating outcomes, and being conscious of its effects can help us avoid its havoc.