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Tzav

English Translation

Tzav

Command [Aaron and His Sons]
Leviticus
6:1−8:36
Translation from The Torah: A Modern Commentary (CCAR Press)

English translation of the Torah portion Tzav from the Book of Leviticus6:1] The Eternal One spoke to Moses, saying: 2] Command Aaron and his sons thus:

This is the ritual of the burnt offering: The burnt offering itself shall remain where it is burned upon the altar all night until morning, while the fire on the altar is kept going on it. 3] The priest shall dress in linen raiment, with linen breeches next to his body; and he shall take up the ashes to which the fire has reduced the burnt offering on the altar and place them beside the altar. 4] He shall then take off his vestments and put on other vestments, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a pure place. 5] The fire on the altar shall be kept burning, not to go out: every morning the priest shall feed wood to it, lay out the burnt offering on it, and turn into smoke the fat parts of the offerings of well-being. 6] A perpetual fire shall be kept burning on the altar, not to go out.

7] And this is the ritual of the meal offering: Aaron’s sons shall present it before the Eternal, in front of the altar. 8] A handful of the choice flour and oil of the meal offering shall be taken from it, with all the frankincense that is on the meal offering, and this token portion shall be turned into smoke on the altar as a pleasing odor to the Eternal. 9] What is left of it shall be eaten by Aaron and his sons; it shall be eaten as unleavened cakes, in the sacred precinct; they shall eat it in the enclosure of the Tent of Meeting. 10] It shall not be baked with leaven; I have given it as their portion from My offerings by fire; it is most holy, like the purgation offering and the reparation offering. 11] Only the males among Aaron’s descendants may eat of it, as their due for all time throughout the ages from the Eternal’s offerings by fire. Anything that touches these shall become holy.

12] The Eternal One spoke to Moses, saying: 13] This is the offering that Aaron and his sons shall offer to the Eternal on the occasion of his anointment: a tenth of an eifah of choice flour as a regular meal offering, half of it in the morning and half of it in the evening, 14] shall be prepared with oil on a griddle. You shall bring it well soaked, and offer it as a meal offering of baked slices, of pleasing odor to the Eternal. 15] And so shall the priest, anointed from among his sons to succeed him, prepare it; it is the Eternal’s—a law for all time—to be turned entirely into smoke. 16] So, too, every meal offering of a priest shall be a whole offering: it shall not be eaten.

17] The Eternal One spoke to Moses, saying: 18] Speak to Aaron and his sons thus: This is the ritual of the purgation offering: the purgation offering shall be slaughtered before the Eternal, at the spot where the burnt offering is slaughtered: it is most holy. 19] The priest who offers it as a purgation offering shall eat of it; it shall be eaten in the sacred precinct, in the enclosure of the Tent of Meeting. 20] Anything that touches its flesh shall become holy; and if any of its blood is spattered upon a garment, you shall wash the bespattered part in the sacred precinct. 21] An earthen vessel in which it was boiled shall be broken; if it was boiled in a copper vessel, [the vessel] shall be scoured and rinsed with water. 22] Only the males in the priestly line may eat of it: it is most holy. 23] But no purgation offering may be eaten from which any blood is brought into the Tent of Meeting for expiation in the sanctuary; any such shall be consumed in fire.

7:1] This is the ritual of the reparation offering: it is most holy. 2] The reparation offering shall be slaughtered at the spot where the burnt offering is slaughtered, and the blood shall be dashed on all sides of the altar. 3] All its fat shall be offered: the broad tail; the fat that covers the entrails; 4] the two kidneys and the fat that is on them at the loins; and the protuberance on the liver, which shall be removed with the kidneys. 5] The priest shall turn them into smoke on the altar as an offering by fire to the Eternal; it is a reparation offering. 6] Only the males in the priestly line may eat of it; it shall be eaten in the sacred precinct: it is most holy.

7] The reparation offering is like the purgation offering. The same rule applies to both: it shall belong to the priest who makes expiation thereby. 8] So, too, the priest who offers a person’s burnt offering shall keep the skin of the burnt offering that was offered. 9] Further, any meal offering that is baked in an oven, and any that is prepared in a pan or on a griddle, shall belong to the priest who offers it. 10] But every other meal offering, with oil mixed in or dry, shall go to the sons of Aaron all alike.

11] This is the ritual of the sacrifice of well-being that one may offer to the Eternal:

12] One who offers it for thanksgiving shall offer, together with the sacrifice of thanksgiving, unleavened cakes with oil mixed in—unleavened wafers spread with oil—and cakes of choice flour with oil mixed in, well soaked. 13] This offering, with cakes of leavened bread added, shall be offered along with one’s thanksgiving sacrifice of well-being. 14] Out of this the person shall offer one of each kind as a gift to the Eternal; it shall go to the priest who dashes the blood of the offering of well-being. 15] And the flesh of the thanksgiving sacrifice of well-being shall be eaten on the day that it is offered; none of it shall be set aside until morning.

16] If, however, the sacrifice offered is a votive or a freewill offering, it shall be eaten on the day that one offers the sacrifice, and what is left of it shall be eaten on the morrow. 17] What is then left of the flesh of the sacrifice shall be consumed in fire on the third day. 18] If any of the flesh of the sacrifice of well-being is eaten on the third day, it shall not be acceptable; it shall not count for the one who offered it. It is an offensive thing, and the person who eats of it shall bear the guilt.

19] Flesh that touches anything impure shall not be eaten; it shall be consumed in fire. As for other flesh, only one who is pure may eat such flesh. 20] But the person who, in a state of impurity, eats flesh from the Eternal’s sacrifices of well-being, that person shall be cut off from kin. 21] When a person touches anything impure, be it human impurity or an impure animal or any impure creature, and eats flesh from the Eternal’s sacrifices of well-being, that person shall be cut off from kin.

22] And the Eternal One spoke to Moses, saying: 23] Speak to the Israelite people thus: You shall eat no fat of ox or sheep or goat. 24] Fat from animals that died or were torn by beasts may be put to any use, but you must not eat it. 25] If anyone eats the fat of animals from which offerings by fire may be made to the Eternal, the person who eats it shall be cut off from kin. 26] And you must not consume any blood, either of bird or of animal, in any of your settlements. 27] Anyone who eats blood shall be cut off from kin.

28] And the Eternal One spoke to Moses, saying: 29] Speak to the Israelite people thus: The offering to the Eternal from a sacrifice of well-being must be presented by the one who offers that sacrifice of well-being to the Eternal: 30] one’s own hands shall present the Eternal’s offerings by fire. The offerer shall present the fat with the breast, the breast to be elevated as an elevation offering before the Eternal; 31] the priest shall turn the fat into smoke on the altar, and the breast shall go to Aaron and his sons. 32] And the right thigh from your sacrifices of well-being you shall present to the priest as a gift; 33] he from among Aaron’s sons who offers the blood and the fat of the offering of well-being shall get the right thigh as his portion. 34] For I have taken the breast of elevation offering and the thigh of gift offering from the Israelites, from their sacrifices of well-being, and given them to Aaron the priest and to his sons as their due from the Israelites for all time.

35] Those shall be the perquisites of Aaron and the perquisites of his sons from the Eternal’s offerings by fire, once they have been inducted to serve the Eternal as priests; 36] these the Eternal commanded to be given them, once they had been anointed, as a due from the Israelites for all time throughout the ages.

37] Such are the rituals of the burnt offering, the meal offering, the purgation offering, the reparation offering, the offering of ordination, and the sacrifice of well-being, 38] with which the Eternal charged Moses on Mount Sinai, when commanding that the Israelites present their offerings to the Eternal, in the wilderness of Sinai.

8:1] The Eternal One spoke to Moses, saying: 2] Take Aaron along with his sons, and the vestments, the anointing oil, the bull of purgation offering, the two rams, and the basket of unleavened bread; 3] and assemble the community leadership at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. 4] Moses did as the Eternal commanded him. And when the leadership was assembled at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, 5] Moses said to the leadership, “This is what the Eternal has commanded to be done.”

6] Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward and washed them with water. 7] He put the tunic on him, girded him with the sash, clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod on him, girding him with the decorated band with which he tied it to him. 8] He put the breastpiece on him, and put into the breastpiece the Urim and Thummim. 9] And he set the headdress on his head; and on the headdress, in front, he put the gold frontlet, the holy diadem—as the Eternal had commanded Moses.

10] Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the Tabernacle and all that was in it, thus consecrating them. 11] He sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, anointing the altar, all its utensils, and the laver with its stand, to consecrate them. 12] He poured some of the anointing oil upon Aaron’s head and anointed him, to consecrate him. 13] Moses then brought Aaron’s sons forward, clothed them in tunics, girded them with sashes, and wound turbans upon them, as the Eternal had commanded Moses.

14] He led forward the bull of purgation offering. Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bull of purgation offering, 15] and it was slaughtered. Moses took the blood and with his finger put some on each of the horns of the altar, purifying the altar; then he poured out the blood at the base of the altar. Thus he consecrated it in order to make expiation upon it.

16] Moses then took all the fat that was about the entrails, and the protuberance of the liver, and the two kidneys and their fat, and turned them into smoke on the altar. 17] The rest of the bull, its hide, its flesh, and its dung, he put to the fire outside the camp—as the Eternal had commanded Moses.

18] Then he brought forward the ram of burnt offering. Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the ram’s head, 19] and it was slaughtered. Moses dashed the blood against all sides of the altar. 20] The ram was cut up into sections and Moses turned the head, the sections, and the suet into smoke on the altar; 21] Moses washed the entrails and the legs with water and turned all of the ram into smoke. That was a burnt offering for a pleasing odor, an offering by fire to the Eternal—as the Eternal had commanded Moses.

22] He brought forward the second ram, the ram of ordination. Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the ram’s head, 23] and it was slaughtered. Moses took some of its blood and put it on the ridge of Aaron’s right ear, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot. 24] Moses then brought forward the sons of Aaron, and put some of the blood on the ridges of their right ears, and on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet; and the rest of the blood Moses dashed against every side of the altar. 25] He took the fat—the broad tail, all the fat about the entrails, the protuberance of the liver, and the two kidneys and their fat—and the right thigh. 26] From the basket of unleavened bread that was before the Eternal, he took one cake of unleavened bread, one cake of oil bread, and one wafer, and placed them on the fat parts and on the right thigh. 27] He placed all these on the palms of Aaron and on the palms of his sons, and elevated them as an elevation offering before the Eternal. 28] Then Moses took them from their hands and turned them into smoke on the altar with the burnt offering. This was an ordination offering for a pleasing odor; it was an offering by fire to the Eternal. 29] Moses took the breast and elevated it as an elevation offering before the Eternal; it was Moses’ portion of the ram of ordination—as the Eternal had commanded Moses.

30] And Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood that was on the altar and sprinkled it upon Aaron and upon his vestments, and also upon his sons and upon their vestments. Thus he consecrated Aaron and his vestments, and also his sons and their vestments.

31] Moses said to Aaron and his sons: Boil the flesh at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and eat it there with the bread that is in the basket of ordination—as I commanded: Aaron and his sons shall eat it; 32] and what is left over of the flesh and the bread you shall consume in fire. 33] You shall not go outside the entrance of the Tent of Meeting for seven days, until the day that your period of ordination is completed. For your ordination will require seven days. 34] Everything done today, the Eternal has commanded to be done [seven days], to make expiation for you. 35] You shall remain at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting day and night for seven days, keeping the Eternal’s charge—that you may not die—for so I have been commanded.

36] And Aaron and his sons did all the things that the Eternal had commanded through Moses.

Translation from The Torah: A Modern Commentary, copyright (c) 2016 by CCAR Press. All rights reserved. Translation of Exodus; Leviticus; Numbers; Deuteronomy from NJPS © 1962, 1985, 1999; CJPS © 2006. Used and adapted by CCAR Press with permission from The Jewish Publication Society and the University of Nebraska Press. No part of this translation may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, distributed, or be transmitted without express written permission from the Central Conference of American Rabbis. For permission, please contact CCAR Press.