Torah Commentary

From the Altar to the Bimah: What is Expected of a Leader?

March 22, 2021Rabbi Dvora E. Weisberg

This week’s parashah, Tzav, continues the discussion of sacrifices begun in the opening chapters of Leviticus. The parashah can be divided into two sections: the first provides details of various offerings, while the second focuses on the consecration of Aaron

Putting Prayers on Your Calendar Every Day

April 4, 2020Cantor David Berger

A few years ago I put a reminder on my Google Calendar for 12:30 p.m. every day to get up and do some part of Minchah, the afternoon service. ... I keep coming back to daily prayer as a source of the personal affirmation and renewal I need to serve as the leader I hope to be.In this week’s Torah portion, Tzav, Aaron and his sons, the priests of the Israelite community, are commanded to make their own daily, humble, personal sacrificial offerings as part of their regular work of Temple service.

Never Too Proud to Wield the Sacred Shovel

March 23, 2019Rabbi Ben Spratt

One of the delights of the Book of Leviticus is the constant barrage of sacrificial details....  the organizationally minded amongst us may wonder: at the end of a day of sacrifice, who was in charge of cleaning up? This week’s Torah portion, Tzav, gives us an answer: The charred remains of roasted animals and their entrails were left not to a sacrificial janitorial team, not to the Israelites or Levites, but to the priests themselves – even to Aaron the High Priest. 

Commandments and Commander: How Do We Hear and Respond?

March 24, 2018Rabbi David A. Lyon

Parashat Tzav begins with God’s instructing Moses to command the priests, and by extension, us, regarding ritual sacrifice. With the Temple in Jerusalem long gone, Reform scholars discuss the meaning of this command for us today.

It All Depends: Finding the Middle of the Torah

April 8, 2017Rabbi Lance J. Sussman

Finding the midpoint in the Torah has long been a matter of considerable debate. Some scholars say the middle of the Torah falls in this portion, Parashat Tzav. But the answer to the question, where is the middle of the Torah, depends on many mathematical, theological, and phylosophical factors.