Parshat Tzav Vol.9 No.24
Date of Issue: 18 Adar II 5760 -- March 25, 2000
|This week's issue has been sponsored by the Bayewitz and Tollinsky families in honor of the birth of a son to Divsha and Martin||This week's
by Rabbi Mark Smilowitz
What's new? Nothing, it seems. Parshat Tzav seems to be a restatement of everything we read last week in Parshat Vayikra. After all, both Parshiot are essentially a list of the different sacrificial offerings - the Olah, Mincha, Shlamim, Chatat, and Asham offerings are explained in detail in Parshat Vayikra, yet again in Parshat Tzav. Did Hashem decide that the sacrifices are often ignored by people, or at least not understood, that He figured He might as well go over them once more?
In fact, close examination reveals a fundamental difference between the two Parshiot. Notice that Parshat Vayikra is addressed to the Jewish people as a whole - "Speak to the Children of Israel" (1:2) - whereas Parshat Tzav is aimed specifically at the Priests - "Command Aharon and his sons" (6:2). This distinction is further evident by the fact that Vayikra is about all the preparations involved in offering a Korban - what kind of animal, who may offer one, when and why it should be offered, where it should be brought, how it should be prepared, etc. - all issues of concern for the "offerer." Parshat Tzav, on the other hand, is about what is done with the offerings by the Kohanim after the service is complete - what to do with the leftover ashes, what to do with the leftover meat, who among the priests may participate in eating the leftovers, etc. In medical terms, Vayikra is the "pre-op" and Tzav is the "post-op."
This fundamental difference between Vayikra and Tzav also accounts for a puzzling phenomenon. Why are the offerings listed in a different order in the two Parshiot? In Vayikra, the order is Olah, Mincha, Shlamim, Chatat, and Asham. In Tzav, Shlamim loses its place in the middle and finds itself at the end - Olah, Mincha, Chatat, Asham, and then Shlamim. Why between last week and this week was Shlamim sent to the end of the line? The answer seems simple. For the "offerer," the issue that distinguishes the various offerings from one another is what circumstance determines which offering he should bring. From his perspective, the offerings are divided into two groups. The Olah, Mincha, and Shlamim are all voluntary offerings, brought when one decides they are appropriate, and therefore they belong grouped together. The Chatat and Asham, however, are obligatory in the wake of certain transgressions, and the "offerer" never chooses to bring them by his own volition. Thus, the grouping in Parshat Vayikra is natural when talking to the one who will bring the offering.
From the Kohen's perspective, however, the offerings are grouped differently. There are two kinds of offerings - the "holy of holies," whose meat may be eaten within the boundaries of the Tabernacle and may be eaten for only one day, and the "holy," whose meat may be eaten anywhere in the camp, and generally may be eaten for two days. The Olah, Mincha, Chatat, and Asham belong to the former category, and Shlamim alone belongs to the latter. Since this grouping is crucial for the priests, this is the grouping we have in Parshat Tzav.
One question remains. Why didn't Hashem integrate the two Parshiot into one, which would contain the instructions for both the Jew making the offering and the priest? Why the need to separate the two perspectives into two Parshiot? I believe the Torah is teaching us a fundamental lesson about serving Hashem. Hashem allows us to approach Him and communicate with Him only because He is merciful. To remind us of this point and to keep us humble, Hashem set up a system of communication - the sacrifices - which would be partially off-limits to the average person. Parashat Tzav is a reminder that there is a certain part of the sacrificial service that is the exclusive domain of the priests and belongs in its own Parsha. This separation between the two Parshiot reminds us to feel that the ability to communicate with Hashem is a privilege, not a right, and should be done with humility, reverence, and awe.
by Uri Westrich
There is an interesting Midrash concerning this week's Parsha:
When Moshe was writing the Torah, he noticed something strange about the book of Vayikra. Nowhere in the entire book was Aharon's name mentioned - in the description of the Avoda of the Kohanim it just says "Bnai Aharon." Moshe pleaded with Hashem on behalf of his brother in the following way: "Hashem, is it possible that you hate the well but love the water that flows from it?" (meaning, how can you hate Aharon and not mention his name, but still love his sons?) Hashem, however, did not respond, "You are just being hypersensitive. I am not annoyed at Aharon." In fact, Hashem responded, "Very well, because of your plea, I shall relent."
The second Pasuk of Parshat Tzav says, "Command Aharon and his sons saying." It seems that Hashem's annoyance is over.
This appears to be a strange Midrash. What is the reason for Hashem's annoyance? We know that Aharon was a righteous person. We know that Aharon already repented for his part in the Chet Haegel. Furthermore, Hashem appointed Aharon as Kohen Gadol; why would Hashem appoint Aharon if He was annoyed at Aharon?
The explanation, perhaps, is as follows. There is Teshuva and there is Teshuva. It is possible for someone to do Teshuva for a sin according to all the rules of repentance and still leave something out. That is, the cause of the sin may still be in his personality, and he has not changed. The Rambam explains that the final step in the process is to change one's self into a new person, and not remain the one who has sinned. This means that he has changed himself so much that such a sin is now beyond him.
Perhaps Moshe understood Hashem's displeasure with Aharon in the following way: Aharon had gone through the whole Teshuva process, and he was therefore fit to be the Kohen Gadol. But perhaps Aharon had not completed this final step, and this was why Hashem expressed displeasure with Aharon.
How do Aharon's sons compare to the water from the well? The Rambam makes a very interesting comment regarding child raising. He says that a child is more perceptive than we may think. A child can intuitively understand what his parents want, even if they do not say it exactly. A child will act on intuition if he knows what his parent really meant.
Moshe was, in effect, saying, "See how wonderful Aharon's sons are!" It must be because they carry out the desires of Hashem's deepest nature. This proves that Aharon carried out the final step in the Teshuva process.
Even though Hashem knew of Aharon's worthiness, He was still not ready to totally forgive Aharon. There was still one more detail. Hashem wanted Moshe to Daven on Aharon's behalf. Prayer is the bottom line for any mission to succeed. Even though on a physical level everything was accomplished, there was still the need for Moshe to Daven to Hashem on Aharon's behalf.
by Daniel Wenger
Parshat Vayikra discusses the procedures for bringing sacrifices in the Mishkan. Parshat Tzav also discusses the actions involved with the sacrifices in the Mishkan. The obvious question is why the Torah needs to recount the way things had to be done. What necessitated this repetition?
The answer to this question can be found by looking at the textual differences between the Parshiot. Vayikra begins with Hashem telling Moshe to speak to Bnai Yisrael as a whole, while Tzav begins with a command directed at Aharon and his sons. Therefore, the distinction between these Parshiot is that Vayikra's directions are for Bnai Yisrael to use while Tzav's commands are geared toward the Kohanim. Two key examples of this idea are the Minchat Chinuch and Minchat Chavitin that are mentioned only in Parshat Tzav. The Minchat Chinuch is a Mincha offering that is brought by every Kohen on the day he is initiated to perform the service in the Mishkan. The Minchat Chavitin is a Korban that was brought twice daily by the Kohen Gadol to atone for his transgressions. The mention of Korbanot of the Kohen only in Parshat Tzav supports this difference between the two Parshiot.
However, there is more that can be learned from the Minchat Chavitin. The Abarbanel teaches that, among other reasons, this Korban is brought as an inspiration to others. In Sanhedrin (18), the Chachamim teach, "First adorn yourself, then adorn others." There are two stories documented that take this concept into account.
Rashi in Sefer Bereishit notes that after Lemech killed his son and great grandfather, his wives refused to sleep with him. They said that it would be pointless since Hashem would wipe out Lemech=s children because of his actions. They consulted Adam for judgment, to which he responded that it was not up to the wives to decide punishment. They should fulfill their Mitzva of 59& &9"& and Hashem would deal with what came after. After hearing this, Lemech's wives rebuked Adam, citing how he had split up with Chava for 130 years after death was decreed upon all mankind on their account. Realizing the truth, Adam returned to his wife.
The Gemara in Bava Metzia relates a conflict between Rabba bar Rav Huna and the Chachamim. Rabba's property ran along a river, and he was asked by the sages to cut down the trees that were on the riverbank so that passing ships could stop there for a while. Rabba objected, saying that his neighbor owned woods on both sides of his property, so he should be the one to cut down his trees first. The sages answered, "First adorn yourself, then adorn others," Rabba should first act on his own grounds before going to someone else.
The Kohen Gadol had to act in a similar manner. By being the first person to offer a Korban for forgiveness of his sins, he opened the door for others to do so as well. When the nation saw that even the Kohen Gadol had to bring a Korban to obtain atonement, the people would see their need to bring Korbanot.
The fact that the Minchat Chavitin was just a simple Mincha offering from flour and water could have a similar influence. When the poorer members of the nation saw that the Kohen Gadol had given such a small sacrifice, they would not feel so embarrassed that they too were bringing such meager offerings.Even in today's times when there is no Minchat Chavitin or a Mishkan or Bait Hamikdash to offer it in, we must still keep in mind the idea of setting a precedent in our actions. When we notice that someone has done a wrong action and rebuke him, we must keep in mind that we must be improving ourselves at the same time. Perhaps we have also transgressed that sin or have done other things that have adversely influenced others. By acting correctly in the first place, we show others that it can be done and they are not alone when they do so as well. Setting positive precedents is the best way to influence others to do the right thing. It worked for the Kohen Gadol and it can work for us too.
Lessons from Tzav
by Zevi Goldberg
Although on the outside Parshat Tzav may seem like a mundane Parsha that deals only with the intricate laws of the Korbanot, it reveals many lessons that teach us how to be good Jews.
One of the many Korbanot that the Torah talks about in this Parsha is the Chavitei Hacohen. This sacrifice was brought daily by the Kohen Gadol, and it had a very unique quality since half was burnt in the morning and the other half was burnt in the afternoon. Rav Moshe Feinstein, Zatzal, explained that the reason half was burnt in the morning and the other half in the afternoon was to teach the Jewish People a very important lesson. When one wakes up in the morning, he is energized and ready to serve God; the whole day is ahead of him and there are a million things that he can do. He is on a spiritual high, for it is the morning and anything can be accomplished today. However, by the end of the day, that high is somewhat worn out; a person goes to work and is not necessarily in the most spiritual surroundings. The point of the Korban is to teach us that people should strive to be on a high level the entire day, from morning until night, just as the Korban was burnt half in the morning (symbolizing the original spiritual high), and half in the afternoon (showing that the same Kedushat Hashem is there after the day has gone by).
Another lesson is learned from the Pasuk that says that Aharon and his sons did everything that Hashem had commanded them to do. Rashi says that this phrase is coming to praise Aharon, since he did not deviate from what Hashem had told him. Rabbi Zelig Pliskin quotes the Ktav Sofer, who explains Rashi. Some people try to act modestly, even though in their heart they really adore the attention. When someone compliments them, they shrug their shoulders right and left as if they do not want the honor, but in their heart they really enjoy the honor. However, when Aharon and his sons received the honor of giving the Korbanot they were sincerely modest about receiving that honor, and they did not even shrug their shoulders trying to fake their modesty.
Every Parsha has lessons to be learnt even from the simple Pesukim. We just have to look, and the Torah will provide the lessons that a person needs to become a better Jew.
Food for Thought
by Dani Gross and David Gertler
1) In 8:22 there is a Shalshelet on the word
Vayishchat. Assuming that Ta'amei Hamikra reflect the meaning of the text, what might the Shalshelet mean here? Considering other places where we find a
Shalshelet, why might a similar meaning be fit or unfit for this case?
2) At the end of this week's Parsha (8:35) the Torah says, "At the entrance of the Ohel Moed you shall dwell day and night, for a seven-day period you shall protect Hashem's commandment lest you die, thus commanded Hashem." Is there a connection between the aforementioned Pasuk and the Pesukim in Shemini (10:1-7) that speak about the death of the sons of Aharon, Nadav and Avihu? There we find a similar Pasuk (10:7), "And at the entrance of the Ohel Moed you should not enter, lest you should die because the anointing oil of Hashem is upon you. And they did like the word of Moshe."
3) Based on Shemot 33 there is a doubt if the Ohel Moed is part of the Mishkan or if it is a separate entity. Looking at 8:35, what conclusion might be drawn regarding this question?
If you have a response to these questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org Responses may be published upon agreement of the provider.
published in Parshat Tazria Vol.9 No.26
Date of issue: 3 Nissan 5760 -- April 8, 2000
Two weeks ago, in this column, the author asked why the Taam Hamikra on the word Vayishchat is a Shalshelet, one of the Taamim that is used infrequently. Like the other three occurrences of the Shalshelet in the Torah, the Shalshelet on the word Vayishchat comes to show hesitation. In this case, by performing the Shechita on that animal, Moshe took the final step in giving the Kehuna to his brother Aharon. Up until that time, it was Moshe's job to perform all the tasks of the Kohen Gadol, so by performing this Shechita, he not only gave up his own Kehuna but that of his descendants. It was due to this fact that Moshe was hesitant in performing this act, but his love for Hashem and respect for His commandments prevailed, and Moshe carried out the Shechita.
--- Daniel Wenger
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