For the week ending 4 April 2009 / 9 Nisan 5769

Parshat Tzav

by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair -
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The Torah addresses Aharon and his sons to teach them additional laws relating to their service. The ashes of the korban olah — the offering burnt on the altar throughout the night — are to be removed from the area by the kohen after he changes 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 ablaze. The korban mincha is a meal offering of flour, oil and spices. A handful is burned on the altar and a kohen eats the remainder before it becomes leaven. The Parsha describes the special korbanotto be offered by the Kohen Gadol each day, and by Aharon's sons and future descendants on the day of their inauguration. The chatat, the korban brought after an accidental transgression, is described, as are the laws of slaughtering and sprinkling the blood of the asham guilt-korban. The details of shelamim, various peace korbanot, are described, including the prohibition against leaving uneaten until morning the remains of thetodah, the thanks-korban. 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 ritually impure,korbanot may not be eaten and should be burned. One may not eat a korban when he is ritually impure. Blood and chelev, forbidden animal fats, are prohibited to be eaten. Aharon and his sons are granted the breast and shank of every korban shelamim. The inauguration ceremony for Aharon, his sons, the Mishkan and all of its vessels is detailed.


Cover Story

“Command Aaron” (6:2)

“Exposed!!!” “See It ALL!!!” “Now — The Real Truth Comes Out!!!” “Unveiled For The First Time!!!”

We live in a world where a lack of covering is endemic, a world where everything has to be revealed. Because our society lacks a true spiritual center, the only quality that is prized is revelation. Revelation is all. That which is unseen or cannot be seen is distrusted and disregarded.

Holiness is something that has to be covered. Its very nature requires covering. If you have a precious jewel you don't go out into the street with it in your hands. You place it in a box away from prying eyes.

At any one time there exist 36 holy people on whose merit the whole world rests. They are hidden. They have to be hidden.

On Sunday, February 19, 1995, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach died in Jerusalem at the age of 84. The next afternoon 300,000 people — a number roughly equivalent to the adult Jewish population of Jerusalem — escorted him on his final journey.

The Israeli press was caught off-guard. There were no prepared obituaries, for they had never heard of him. He was frail and unimposing even in his youth. He sat on no council of sages. He created no publishing empire. He didn’t distribute inspirational cassettes. He held no pulpit. For 45 years he headed a respected Jerusalem yeshiva that provided his only salary. And 300,000 escorted this frail old man, whom the press had never heard of, to his rest.

Holiness requires covering.

Rashi says about the above verse: “The word ‘command’ always connotes alacrity and alertness. Rabbi Shimon said the Torah needs to command an extra degree of alertness where there is a lack of covering.”

When we think of the Temple offerings it’s easy to forget that in the majority of the offerings part of the korban was consumed by the Kohen and by the person who brought the korban. You might think that this was no more than a side benefit of the offering. In fact, this eating — this most seemingly physical of actions — covered the deepest holiness of the korban.

However, there was one korban in which neither the Kohanim nor the person who brought the offering partook: the Korban Olah or ‘elevation offering’. The Korban Olah was entirely consumed by fire. No part of it was eaten.

In other words the holiness of the Korban Olah was revealed. It did not have the covering of holiness, the mystic camouflage that happened when the Kohen and the supplicant ate from the korban.

It was for this reason that the Korban Olah needed an extra decree of vigilance and alacrity. For that which is revealed needs extra guarding and alertness.

  • Source: Chidushei HaRim

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