For the week ending 30 March 2024 / 20 Adar Bet 5784

Parshat Tzav

by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair - www.seasonsofthemoon.com
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The Torah addresses Aharon and his sons to teach them additional laws relating to their service. The ashes of the korban olah — the offering burned on the Altar throughout the night — are to be removed from the area by the kohen after he changes his special linen clothing. The olah is brought by someone who forgot to perform a positive commandment of the Torah. The kohen retains the skin. The fire on the Altar must be kept constantly ablaze. The korban mincha is a meal-offering of flour, oil and spices. A handful is burned on the Altar and a kohen eats the remainder before it becomes leaven. The Torah portion describes the special korbanot to be offered by the Kohen Gadol each day and by Aharon’s sons and future descendants on the day of their inauguration. The chatat, the korban brought after certain accidental transgressions, is described, as are the laws of slaughtering and sprinkling the blood of the asham guilt-korban. The details of shelamim, various peace korbanot, are described, including the prohibition against leaving uneaten until morning the remains of the todah, the thanksgiving-korban. All sacrifices must be burned after they may no longer be eaten. No sacrifice may be eaten if it was slaughtered with the intention of eating it too late. Once they have become ritually impure, korbanot may not be eaten and should be burned. One may not eat a korban when he is ritually impure. Blood and chelev (certain animal fats) are prohibited to be eaten. Aharon and his sons are granted the breast and shank of every korban shelamim. The inauguration ceremony for Aharon, his sons, the Mishkan and all of its vessels is detailed.


A Reason To Give Thanks

“If he shall offer it as a thanks-giving offering…” (7:12)

If I live to be one hundred and twenty, I don’t think I will ever feel the same feeling of freedom and deliverance as thirty-three years ago on Shushan Purim, when I went into our ‘sealed room’ and pulled the plastic from the window. From my birthday on August 2, 1990, until the 17th of January in 1991, Iraq fired forty surface-to-surface weapons into Israel, each one of which was feared to be carrying chemical weapons, and Israel was the first country since the Second World War to issue gas masks to the entire population. In addition, we were all told to seal all our windows and ‘triss’ boxes with plastic sheeting and have a rag soaked in bleach ready to place against the bottom of the door or our ‘sealed room’ to stop chemicals from seeping under the door.

On that Shushan Purim, the day of “reversal,” we went from life-threatening danger to great joy. I felt Hashem’s miraculous deliverance on that day-of-days of deliverance more strongly than on any other day so far in my life.

Another miracle happened recently in Jerusalem, just before Purim.

Six years ago, Rabbi Tzvi Kushlevsky, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Kinyan Chochma and Yeshivat Heichal Hatorah in Jerusalem, became a widower at the age of 82. He was childless. He remarried and his second wife was then around 50 years old.

On the morning of the 10th of March, Rabbi Kushelevsky, at the age of 88, celebrated the birth of his first child, a boy.

In Parshat Mishpatim, when dealing with the payment of medical damages, the Torah repeats the phrase, “v’rapoh, yerapeh,” - “And he will certainly heal…” (Exodus 21:19). This repetition teaches us that doctors are allowed to heal people. Why would I think in the first place that they could not? Because the Torah also says, “I, the L-rd, am your Healer.” Maybe only Hashem can heal us and no mortal has the right to interfere? Thus, the Torah has to tell us, “he will surely heal.” The lesson here seems needlessly convoluted. Why does the Torah set up a presumption that only Hashem can heal, “I, the L-rd, am your Healer;” and then counter this presumption with another verse, “he will surely heal”? The answer is that another lesson is being taught here as well. Doctors have permission only to heal, but they have no permission to despair. The word “incurable” has no place in the doctor’s lexicon. A doctor may say, “We have no cure for this at the present time,” or “This case is beyond my expertise,” but the word “incurable” should never escape a doctor’s mouth. For “I, the L-rd, am your Healer.”

And so it was with Rabbi Kushalevsky. He was told that his case was “incurable.” He was told he could never have children but he never gave up hope.

What a powerful lesson this is for us! We are bogged down in a war that, so far, has had no significant results except that the State of Israel has been declared a pariah state by much of the world, and Jews are scared to walk the streets of Europe and America.

But we will not give hope. Ever.

And maybe Hashem sent us a little Purim present this year. A Divine wink to tell us that nothing is incurable. Hashem is our Healer, Hashem is our salvation. Hashem will not let us down. He will bring salvation to his holy People and will wipe the tear from every eye.

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