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Never Too Proud to Wield the Sacred Shovel

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. 

D'var Torah By: 
Clearing Old Things Away to Make Sacred Space
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Nicole Berne

Rabbi Spratt focuses on the image of a priest clearing away ashes in Parashat Tzav as a reminder that this humble task is sacred too. Yet, by turning to consider the ashes themselves, the priest’s attention feels natural and appropriate, recognizing the ashes as holy in their own right.

Commandments and Commander: How Do We Hear and Respond?

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.

D'var Torah By: 
The Many and the One
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Matthew Berger

Parashat Tzav (meaning "command") discusses the sacrifices that the priests are commanded to bring in Temple sacrifice. When we think about how we relate to those mitzvot (commandments) today, it is no wonder there is such a multiplicity of opinions. Our relationship with God can change over time. Sometimes we may feel closer to God. At other times, God may seem distant. So, too, our relationship with individual mitzvot or sacred obligations can shift over time. A single mitzvah can speak to us in one moment but not in another.

It All Depends: Finding the Middle of the Torah

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.

D'var Torah By: 
Finding Value in the Middle
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Larry Freedman

Some people think the middle is boring, but that's hardly the case for our Torah. In its middle we find dramatic stories of our ancestors, laws, and examples of God's grace. Some people say that the middle of the Torah is in Parashat Tzav.

Heeding the Call to Commandment - and to Obligation

Parashat Tzav continues the Levitical listing of sacrificial rituals begun in last week's parashah and discusses how to present the offerings, what the various kinds of offerings are, and the anointing and ordination of the priests. The parashah also explains the Levitical duty to keep a perpetual fire burning on the altar to kindle what we know today as the ner tamid — the eternal light over synagogue arks that reminds us of this continual fire.

D'var Torah By: 
A Kosher Oracle to Communicate with God
Davar Acher By: 
Callie Souther-Schulman

Buried near the end of Parashat Tzav, amidst detailed descriptions of the priestly garments we find a tantalizingly occult relic from the priesthood: the Urim and Thummim. These were divinitory tools the High Priest would consult when the human capacity for decision making was lacking. A close reader of the text will have already noticed their appearance in Parashat T'tzaveh in Exodus, where the priestly garments are first described.

Don't Let the Fire Go Out!

The first seven chapters of the Book of Leviticus can be perceived as an operations manual.

D'var Torah By: 
What We Do Is What We Say
Davar Acher By: 
Neil Comess-Daniels

Having been raised early on in a Reform household, I spent most of my teenage years in a Conservative synagogue. I learned how to daven. I learned to read Hebrew more quickly.

Sharing by Command, Sharing by Choice

Parashat Tzav (Leviticus 6:1-7:37) continues the instructions to Aaron and his sons concerning different types of sacrifice.

D'var Torah By: 
Musings On Opposable Thumbs and Other Body Parts
Davar Acher By: 
Sorel Goldberg Loeb

In our family we have a standing joke: Our cat, Mazal, is excused from helping around the house because she doesn't have an opposable thumb!

Choosing To Be Commanded

In modern Hebrew, tzav, which means order or command, tends to occur in military or governmental contexts. As such, it evokes guardedness or even anger, our strict obedience or rebellion.

D'var Torah By: 
Grease, Sacrifices and Blood: We've Come a Long Way, Baby!
Davar Acher By: 
Ron Klotz

A first glance at Parashat Tzav may cause one to fall into the trap of the "biblical Judaism is irrelevant to my life" school of thought.

The Pathway to a Daily Jewish Spiritual Practice

On the first reading, Tzav, which deals with the roles of the Levitical priests, such as when they are to offer sacrifices, what kind of sacrifices they are to offer, their garb, and their

D'var Torah By: 
The Clothing Makes the Man
Davar Acher By: 
Maxine Segal Handelman

Yosi arose early in the morning. He went into the kitchen and stoked the fire. He bustled around, gathering ingredients, mixing, frying, preparing the meal for his teachers.


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