From start to finish, this week's Torah portion speaks about the different offerings that took place in the Tabernacle and afterwards in the Temple. The offerings served different purposes. There were daily offerings to connect us to G‑d every day, special offerings in connection with the different holidays, offerings of thanksgiving and offerings of atonement, peace offerings and of firstborn animals. The Sages explained that with the destruction of the Temple, its holiness surrounds each Jewish person. Through our prayers, eating properly and attempting to reveal G‑d's presence in the world, we recreate the energy of the Temple and the connection to G‑d it engendered around us and in the world.

The guests eat and the household is atoned for!

Rebbe Mendel of Kosov wrote that in the time of the Temple when a person would fall into sin, he would bring an offering and be atoned for. Today we accomplish the same by increasing in tzedaka. But how do we give on Shabbat when we do not use money? Invite one or more poor persons (and if none are around, any guest will do) to eat at your table for the Shabbat meals. The guests eat and the household is atoned for! By the way, in connection with the custom to give tzedaka every day, we give a second time on Friday afternoon or the afternoon before a holiday to cover the holy day as well (or double or triple when two or three holy days fall consecutively).


"And G‑d spoke to Moses, saying, "Command [in Hebrew, 'tzav'] Aaron and his children by saying, 'This is the Torah of the Burnt offering". (Lev. 6:1-2)

Rashi explains that the word "tzav" is used only in a case where we want to urge a speediness or a special enthusiasm in performing the commandment, and that this applies immediately and forever. The Lubavitcher Rebbe says "tzav" alludes to how we are supposed to do each of the commandments, meaning that they must be done energetically, imbued with the joy and yearning to fulfill the desire of our Creator. Rashi's choice of the word "immediately" is to show us that when a commandment comes to us, we should not let it ferment, but rather perform it immediately. His use of the word "forever" implies that this action is not a one-time event but continues to the end of time in two dimensions; first, it bears fruits and fruit of fruits, and second, the action of the commandment itself continues forever. Parashat Tzav usually precedes Pesach, and it is appropriate that we go into Pesach and the year that follows with a renewed sense of what doing a mitzvah is.

Shabbat Shalom and a Kosher and Happy Pesach, Shaul

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