Parshat Tzav relays the process of sacrifices, beginning with the Olah offering, which was entirely consumed by fire on the mizbeach (altar). The Pessukim (verses) explain that the fire should burn all night, after which the ashes are to be removed, while a fire shall remain burning (6:2-5). In the span of 5 Pessukim, the Torah then reiterates that the fire on the altar shall continue burning, and should not go out (6:6). Why would the Torah need to tell us three separate times that the fire on the altar should not be allowed to extinguish?

While the Gemara (tractate) explains that the three mentions involve different numbers of woodpiles that are to be arranged, there is another explanation that has a practical application for us. The altar represents an intersection between a person’s desire to right a personal wrong (our sacrifice), and G-d’s accepting and recognizing an improved person (the fire.) Even while we’re away from the altar, taking care of the ashes, G-d is telling us that He’s still there at the altar, ready for us to return with another personal sacrifice/improvement. Why does it tell us three times that the fire is always there for us?

Perhaps it’s to highlight that there’s always a place for us to go where self-improvement is recognized, where we do our part to improve the world, and G-d reciprocates our efforts and improves our world too. When times are tough, when we’re working on being better Jews and better people, and even when we’re taking out the trash, it’s comforting to know that our efforts are always recognized and that we’ll get the help we need to accomplish our goals.