Torah Commentary

Torah Commentary

Who’s Afraid of the Dark?

Parashat Tzav speaks to the historic nature of light and fire as a source of solace. In the Torah, this is a physical flame; the experience is intended to offer thanks or atonement, in other words, to connect with the Eternal from a place of humility. In modernity, this burning flame takes on both physical and spiritual forms.

The Kohanim as Sacred Chefs

Reading through Tzav is like peeking into a world-class chef's bustling kitchen. The kohanim were like master chefs, following a biblical recipe.

Sacred Nephrology in Parashat Tzav and The Power of Two

Our Torah portion, though in a very different context, mentions pairs of kidneys as well. This week we have arrived at Parashat Tzav, meaning "command," which is part of a series of parshiyot in Leviticus outlining the laws and procedures for different sacrifices. Tzav describes (among other sacrifices) a "guilt offering," which is made as reparation for a transgression. The guilt offering divides the offering into parts that are completely burned and "turned to smoke on the altar," and the rest is meant to feed the priests. (Lev 7:6) The parts "turned to smoke" and sacrificed to God included the kidneys.

Putting Prayers on Your Calendar Every Day

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.