Weekly Reading Insights: Tzav 5764



Overview of the Weekly Reading: Tzav, Shabbat HaKadol

To be read on 12 Nissan 5764 (April 3 )

Tzav is the 2nd Reading out of 10 in Leviticus and 25th overall, and 38th out of 54 in overall length.
Leviticus 6:1-8:36; Haftorah: Jer. 7:21-8:3, 9:22-23 (about purpose of sacrifice commandments)
This Shabbos is Shabbat HaGadol -- In the afternoon, hear the Rabbi’s special talk and read the Hagaddah from “Avadim hayinu” (We were slaves”) until “asher nisba l’avoteinu” (“which He swore to our Fathers”)
Pirkei Avot: not till after Passover

Tzav focuses on the Tabernacle offerings. The parsha begins by describing the service done with the ashes of the burnt offering. This is followed by the laws of the meal offering, the high priest's offering, the laws of the sin offerings, guilt offerings, and peace offerings. The portion then discusses the priests' portion of the offerings and the installation of the priests into their service.

This Shabbos is also Shabbat HaGadol - In the afternoon, hear the Rabbi’s special talk and read the Hagaddah from “Avadim hayinu” (We were slaves”) until “asher nisba l’avoteinu” (“which He swore to our Fathers”)


From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:25-64/Tzav )

This [elevation of consciousness] is from the secret of Man - the [meditative] will of the Priest, the prayer [of the Israelite Temple Watch], and the song [of the Levites].

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed (A:25-64/Tzav )

Almost all aspects of the created order have corresponding entities in the realm of evil, as it is written, "You have made one opposite the other" (Ecclesiastes 7:14). This is in order to afford man the possibility of free choice. Nonetheless, the choice is weighted in favor of good and holiness, as the ensuing discussion will demonstrate

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the Shelah, Shney Luchot HaBrit by Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (S:25-64/Tzav )

We can understand this in relation to the vestments for the priests, which were to be "for dignity and adornment"

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.


"This is the law (Torah) of the burnt [offering], of the meal [offering], and of the sin [offering], and of the trespass [offering]." (7:37)

The Torah is an elixir of life for those who believe in it, but an elixir of death for those who pervert it. It can serve as a burnt offering or meal offering, or lead to sin and trespass.

(Rabbi Yisrael of Ruzhin)


from the Chabad Master series, produced by Rabbi Yosef Marcus for

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org

An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:25-64/Tzav )

This week's Torah portion begins with the word Tzav-'command'. It is Chassidic tradition that we 'live with the times' by looking for inspiration in our activities from the teachings of the weekly portion. We even take inspiration from the name of the portion which contains in it the essence of the portion. What do we learn from the word 'command'? According to Rashi, Tzav tells us that Aharon the Priest and his descendants were commanded (in regards to the sacrifices) to act with alacrity, now and for all generations.

The teaching for us about offering sacrifices with alacrity would seem to pose a problem since we do not currently have a Temple altar for sacrifices. These offerings on the altar were to atone for sins, give thanks, and allow us to come closer to G-d. If we can not bring physical offerings, what do sacrificial offerings have to do with us today? Unquestionably, since the Torah is from G-d, all of its teachings are eternal, and we can always draw lessons from them. The Lubavitcher Rebbe teaches us that it is a mistake to conclude that since we do not have the Temple, offerings are no longer possible. The offerings that are required of us now, have to come from within us.

The Hebrew word for offering is korban, which means coming closer, referring to the drawing closer of man to his Creator. The entire concept of offerings is that we must continuously attempt to come closer to G-d. How does one perform an offering? You take an animal, check that it has no defects, ritually slaughter it, remove its blood, and burn it or parts of it on the altar's fire. Each of these actions exists in a person's spiritual service.

Every Jewish person has two souls, a divine soul that leads him to spirituality, and an animal soul that leads him to fulfill his physical needs. Without the animal soul, we could not live in this physical world. Nevertheless, 'Taking the animal' implies taking our physical desires and strengths and bringing them closer to G-d. Eat because we need strength to His commandments, etc. We have to find a way to harness our physical needs for holiness.

Misjudging who we are and what we are capable of is one of the greatest dangers to fulfilling our life mission. 'Checking for defects' tells us to carefully check every aspect of our personality, not leaving any part unaccounted for preventing our coming closer to and serving G-d.

Slaughtering the animal is the most intense part of the offering. It is crucial that the animal not be damaged in any way. Through the ritual slaughtering, the blood can be removed and collected in a vessel. Torah tells us that the blood of a living creature is its life force. All the organs remain untouched, but after the slaughtering they have no life force. This is the same way that a person must approach G-dliness. We are not supposed to stop eating, drinking, working or having families. Everything is supposed to continue as 'usual', just that we are supposed to 'take out the blood', take out the animal enthusiasm that ties us to the world and its illusions. Both the body of the animal and the blood are taken to the altar. We should live our lives for a spiritual purpose, to serve our Creator.

Finally, the altar is a person's heart. The 'fire' is our natural love for G-d. Even so, we do not always acknowledge this inner hidden love. The burning of the animal on the altar, is the consuming of the negative animal desires to allow the love for G-d to express itself.

This is the eternal teaching of what an offering is. To offer our 'animal' soul to G-dly service and to so with alacrity. Certainly, when we continue to bring 'offerings' even when we do not have the Temple, G-d will reciprocate and quickly bring Mashiach, and the building of the third Temple now.


Shabbat Shalom, Shaul Leiter

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