Friday, March 25, 2005

III-2 Tzav keep the Fires Burning

25 March III-2 Tzav keep the Fires Burning

Torah: Lv 6-8:36 JPS transl

Haftorah: Jer 7:21-8:3, 9:22-23 / Ez 36:16-38 JPS transl


1. Lv 6:1-11
2. Lv 6:12-7:10
3. Lv 7:11-38
4. Lv 8:1-13
5. Lv 8:14-21
6. Lv 8:22-29
7. Lv 8:30-36


In Vayikra, Moses addresses the general public regarding sacrifices: what and how sacrifices should be made, but in Tzav, the audience is restricted to the priests, regarding the particularities of sacrifice. Moreover, the instruction of sacrifice seems countered by the prophets whon rail against empty ritual. Tzav frequently falls on Shabbat HaGadol, the last shabbat before Pesach when the haftorah is read from Malachi regarding God's enduring love for Israel and the warning of final judgment and messianic age heralded by the return of Elijah. Tzav reiterates the importance of maintaining the perpetual fire on the altar which is interpreted as man's need of sustaining a passion for God's commandments and maintaining faith in God. Instructions on clearing the ashes from the altar and the institution of Aaron and his sons for the priesthood fall within the parasha.


"A perpetual fire shall be kept burning on the altar, not to go out" (Lv 6:6).

"All meal offerings brought before Hashem shuld not be prepared leavened for you shall not cause to go up in smoke from any lavening or any honey as a fire." III-1 Vayikra, Lv 2:11

"You must not bring an abhorrent thing into your home..." Dt 7:26

"Every haughty person is an abomination to the Lord." Prv 16:5

"Hear, O Israel! the Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shlal love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you this day. Impress them upon your children. Recite them when you stay at home and when you are away, when you lie down nd when you get up. Bind them as a sign upon your hand and let them serve as a symbol on your forehead, inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." V-2 Voeshenan Dt 6:4-9


Fire can be productive or destructive. A fire warms the chilled room, renewing the use of numbed fingers. Fire glows in the fireplace after a brisk day outside in subzero weather. We sit by the pot-bellied stove, thinking how lovely the warmth is, but warn the children about falling against it. We know equally well that fire is dangerous, able to consume our lives and houses, leaving scars for life.

Fire is the symbol of passion. passion can consume the person utterly, so that his life becomes self-destructive. The stalker who is obsessed with possession of another person, the perfectionist who can not yield to human faults or minor imperfections in his art. The singer who becomes obsessed with having total control over the voice and in the end becomes trapped by her own fear and anxiety of not performing well.

The Ner Tamid, the eternal light that hangs in the synagogue represents the perpetual fire on the altar in the Beit HaMikdash. Do not let the fire go out. There are two reading of the words, "in the altar" and "on the altar," which are interpreted that we should not only give with the burning love of our hearts whenever we commit a sacrifice to god, but we, ourselves should be the altar in which the love of God burns. Our lives should be such lights that burn perpetually so that others see that God exists. But there are restrictions on the offerings—there shall be no honey or leaven.

Why? Honey is a sweetener. Whernever something is bitter, such as baking chocolate, we add sugar to make the cake. We don't want to taste the bitterness. We add sugar into the yogurt or in the tea, making something that might be somewhat acidic palatable. We want the sweet things in lfie and we don't particularly like sharing the bitter or accepting the bitter. Sugar alters the flavor and the chemical reaction. Put too much sugar into the brownies and you get glazed bricks. Maybe a work of love, but indigestible.

Simularly, no leaven was added to the flour offering. Leaven is a symbol of vanity, pride or self-importance. When you make a quickbread with baking powder, mixing it into the melted butter, the dough swells rapidly. It poofs up suddenly and sizzles and then collapses. This can later cause a problem in the actual baking, because the leaven has lost its effectiveness and the sweetbread comes out soggy in the middle or lopsided, just as baking in too hot or too cold an oven can cause problems.

We are something like this.Vanity can fizzle good intents just as self-importance can bloat into nothingness like a puff pastry without any filling. Flaky? Okay, but really what God wants are the basic ingredients straight. No flattery, no artifice and no pomposity. It's very difficult to love someone who is full of himself, but so easy to enjoy the convivial warmth of modest living, of a humble dwelling.

We are burned by scams, bad love affairs and through ill-use. We know the scorched fingers that got licked by the flames, the singed feeling on the edges of our heart after being inexplicably jilted or exploited for our kindness. We refrain from getting too close from those whose passions boil over, afraid of getting scalded in the process. Consider this in your daily actions. It only takes a small spark to combust a major forest fire, but the hearth of our hearts should be a warm inviting place for anyone left outside in the cold winters of life. By inviting a person into the warmth of our homes, we offer oftentimes encouragement to live and hope for those who struggle through the blizzards of catastrophe and and despair.

A quick fire burns rapidly, leaving the room still chilled by the frosty dampness of the stone walls, but slow-burning embers will cut the chill, dry the walls and make the home a healthy place to live.


Rabbi Yisroel Ciner, Parsha Insights Tzav 5760
story of the shepherd and the king

Rabbi Dovid Rosenfeld, Pirkei Avos 4:4 Dust and Ashes
"The arrogant person, however, focuses on himself alone. He has robbed G-d, so to speak, of the talents he was blessed with. He is thus missing the most fundamental component for building a relationship with G-d. In fact, the good deeds he does perform may be doing no more than increasing his pride and haughtiness -- further *distancing* himself from G-d, rather than bringing him closer"

Rav Frand Mincha Offering: Leavening Agents and Honey: No. Salt: Yes


Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz, JTSA Tzav 5760

Chabad, Tetzaveh: Oil, Wick, Vessel and Flame

Based on the writings of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812), Rabbi DovBer of Lubavitch (1773-1827), and the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Kolel Tzav 5762
Kolel: The Adult Center for Liberal Jewish Learning
story of the Dubno Maggid and the bellows

Kolel Tzav 5763
Kolel: The Adult Center for Liberal Jewish Learning
Pinchas Peli, discussion of Ner Tamid and significans of "burning on the altar" (al ha-mizbeach) and "burning in the altar" (tukad bo)

Kolel Tzav 5764
Kolel: The Adult Center for Liberal Jewish Learning

Rabbi Yisroel Ciner, Parsha Insights: Tzav 5758
story of the wonderful etrog

Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann, Olas Shabbos Tzav 5760: Ashes-Separate and Remove

Gilah Langner, Tending Flames, Seeing Faces
My Jewish Learning, Tzav

Rabbi Moshe Peretz Gilden, HaKollel Tzav 5763 Relentless Struggle

Rabbi Pinchas Avruch, HaKollel, Tzav 5764: Dressing the Part

Kolel: Tzav 5760
The Adult Center for Liberal Jewish Learning
"Contained within R. Twerski's interpretation of our verse is a challenge, a challenge to become more "zealously" generous and truly altruistic"

Rabbi Aron Tendler, Rabbi's Notebook, Tzav 5760: The Price of Special


Rabbi Aron Tendler, Rabbi's Notebook, Tzav 5762 : Closing the Gap
offers a description of the purpose of each type of sacrifice

Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann, Olas Shabbos, Tzav 5762: The Olah Offering: 'Minding' Our Own Business

Rabbi Yisroel Ciner, Parsah Insights: Tzav 5762
Korban Todah-thank offering

Moschiach Online: Rogalsky, The Path of the Righteous Gentile

Chapter 13: Charity
How to give from the heart

Chapter 14: Sacrifies
2. During the times when the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem, a Noahite was permitted to bring a korban olah, a burnt offering wholly consumed by fire.5


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