Torah Weekly - Tzav
Tzav - Shabbos HagadolFor the week ending 10 Nissan 5756; 29 & 30 March 1996
The Torah addresses Aaron and his sons to teach them additional laws that relate to their service. The ashes of the "Korban Olah" - the korban burnt on the Altar throughout the night - are to be removed from the area by the Kohen after he takes off 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 blazing. The "Korban Mincha" is a meal offering that is made from flour, oil and spices. A handful of it is burned on the Altar, and a Kohen eats the remainder before it becomes leaven. The Parsha describes the special korbanos offered by the Kohen Gadol each day, and by Aaron's sons and future descendants on the day of their inauguration. The "Chatas," the korban brought after an accidental transgression, is described, as are the laws for the slaughtering and sprinkling the blood of the "Asham," the "guilt-korban" for certain transgressions. The details for the "Shlamim," various types of peace korbanos, are described, including the prohibition against leaving the remains of the "Todah," the thanksgiving korban, uneaten until the morning. 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 tamei (ritually impure) korbanos may not be eaten, and they should be burned. One may not eat a korban when he is ritually impure. Blood and Cheilev, forbidden fats of animals, are prohibited to eat. Aaron and his sons are granted the breast and shank of every "Korban Shlamim." The inauguration ceremony for Aaron, his sons, the Mishkan and all of its vessels is detailed.
It is late in the afternoon. Reuven decides that from sundown that day until one hour after sunset the following day, he will abstain from eating and drinking. He does this as a spontaneous gift of devotion to Hashem. Two weeks later, Shimon realizes that the next day is Yom Kippur, and he will not be able to eat or drink anything for twenty-five hours. Inwardly, he groans at the thought of those long hours, the parched throat, and the headache that he will probably experience. Nevertheless, the following day he keeps the fast. Who is greater - Reuven, who acts voluntarily, out of his own inspiration, or Shimon, who acts because he has to - because he is commanded? One could think that someone who acts purely voluntarily is on a much higher level, but our sages teach us that "Greater is he who is commanded and does, than he who is not commanded and does" (Tractate Kiddushin 31). The reason being that psychologically a person resists that which he has to do. Thus, it is more difficult for someone who is commanded and does, than someone who is not commanded and does. The first word of this week's Parsha is "Tzav"- "Command." Rashi tells us that the word "Tzav" is always associated with the concept of alacrity. Where there is a command, there is a greater need for zeal, since the doing is that much more difficult...
Not only is it prohibited to put out the fire on the Altar, but to the contrary, the fire must be attended to and wood and kindling added as necessary, so that the flame ascends constantly. If it is forbidden to put out even a single coal on the physical Altar, how much more so is it forbidden to put out even a single burning ember on the spiritual Altar, the Jewish heart. The yearning for holiness, the flame in the heart which aspires longingly upward, homeward, must rather be constantly added to; aided and strengthened through reason, wisdom and discernment - with the illumination of mitzvos and the light of the Torah.
Haftorah - Shabbos Hagadol
The Shabbos immediately before Pesach is called Shabbos Hagadol - or the Great Shabbos. It commemorates the day in Egypt that the Jews each took a sheep, the Egyptian deity, and tied it to their bedposts, informing the Egyptians that their god was about to become an offering to Hashem. In spite of their fury, the Egyptians were powerless to act, although the Jews did not know this at the time. Rather, they acted out of trust of Hashem and Moshe, His prophet. Thus the Shabbos immediately before the first redemption was a day when the faith of the Jewish People was rewarded with Hashem's protection.
The night of Pesach is called "A night of guardings", when the Jewish People are guarded from their enemies. "A night of guardings" also implies that this night, the night of Pesach is 'guarded' - set aside for all time - as a night on which the final redemption can come. In other words, every year, the night of Pesach has in it the power of redemption, that it has the ability to bring forth the actual from the potential. Shabbos also has this ability to express and crystallize the latent power of the week that follows it. Therefore, every Shabbos Hagadol contains the power of the redemption from Egypt, already awakened in this Shabbos is the force of "the great and awesome day of Hashem".
Insights into the Zemiros sung at the Shabbos table throughout the generations.
Baruch Hashem Yom Yom
"Blessed is Hashem for each day..."
"And may they merit to see children and grandchildren observing Torah and mitzvos."
The great chassidic leader, Rebbe Bunim of Peshischa, pointed out a century and a half ago, that there are often Jews who have abandoned Torah observance but whose children have found their way back to their Torah roots. While some appreciate the return made by their offspring there are others who are disturbed by this and would prefer that their children follow in their misguided footsteps. In this zemiros song we ask Hashem to bestow true peace upon the families of Israel and that all parents should look upon their children's involvement in Torah and mitzvos as a special blessing from Heaven.
Written and Compiled by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair
General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
Production Design: Lev Seltzer
HTML Design: Michael Treblow
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