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Tzav Summaries

Tzav 5780-2020

“Behold, I am Sending You Elijah the Prophet”
(Revised and update from Tzav 5761-2001)

The prophet Malachi predicts that toward the end of days, Elijah will arrive. The prophet’s arrival will spark a momentous movement of return to Judaism. At this fateful hour, parents and children will interact with each other and will be drawn closer to each other through the word of G-d. That time may very well be now!

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Tzav 5779-2019

“Remembering Amalek: A Contemporary View”
(Revised and updated from Tzav 5760-2000)

Jewish tradition looks upon Haman and all those truly wicked enemies who sought to destroy the Jewish people as the heirs of the ancient Amalekites, the fierce nation that was the first to attack the people of Israel, especially the stragglers and the weak, after the exodus from Egypt. While remembering Amalek is important, rebuilding and guaranteeing a Jewish future is far more important.

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Tzav–Passover 1 5778-2018

Tzav–Passover 1 5778-2018

Just as the Mincha, the meal offering that was offered in the ancient Temple, sanctified everything it touched, so do we hope that the Passover symbols and rituals will sanctify and elevate all those who experience them at the Passover Seder.

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Tzav 5777-2017

“Lessons from the Ceremony of the Consecration of the כֹּהֲנִים—
the Priests”

From the ceremony of the consecration of the priests we learn that mitzvot must be performed with sincerity and full- hearted devotion.

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Tzav 5776-2016

“Dressing Properly for Special Occasions”

The Kohanim (priests) are required to change their priestly garments when performing menial parts of the service, such as removing the ashes from the altar. Tradition teaches us to respect our garments and to dress properly for each occasion

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Tzav 5775-2015

“When Performing a Mitzvah Comes at a Significant Personal Cost”

The priests of old were profoundly challenged when they worked in the Tabernacle and Temple, since their service resulted in a significant loss of personal income.

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Tzav 5774-2014

“The Perpetual Fire”

There is only one place for the fire of Torah. It is to be found in the perpetual flame that burned continuously on the Earthen Altar. It is from there that one must kindle all the other fires in the Sanctuary.

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Tzav 5772-2012

“Spiritual Movements in the Life of a Jew”

In this week’s parasha we learn of the waving of parts of the peace offering sacrifice. The Lubavitcher Rebbe suggests that this waving has much to do with the spiritual movements in the life of a Jew.

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Tzav-Purim 5771-2011

“Shabbat and Purim”

This year, the festival of Purim begins at the conclusion of Shabbat. A careful review of the Book of Esther reveals a number of fascinating connections between the story of Purim and the holy day of Shabbat.

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Tzav 5770-2010

“The Command”

Only with respect to the Olah, the burnt offering, does the Torah use the term “Tzav,” command, rather than “say” or “speak.” What is it about the burnt offering and the priests’ relationship to it that requires the priests to be commanded to do this particular service properly and expeditiously?

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Tzav 5769-2009

“Judaism’s Upbeat View of the Past”

The very first service of the day that the Kohen performed was known as Terumat Hadeshen, the lifting of the ashes. Rabbi Hirsch sees it not as the first act of the service of the new day, but rather as the final act of the preceding day’s service. This optimistic interpretation underscores Judaism’s singularly positive attitude toward life. Yesterday’s frustrations, mistakes, errors and sins are not something to be erased from our consciousness, but rather something to be seen as a way station in our perpetual growth, in our never-ending effort at self-improvement.

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Tzav 5768-2008

“Never Give Up Hope!”

The Torah teaches that in addition to lifting up a scoop of ashes and placing them near the altar, the priest must remove the accumulated ashes from the altar and bring them outside the camp to a pure place. The Beit Yaakov interprets this as a metaphor never to give up hope on any Jew. Even though the embers seem to be dying, we must enable them to glow again by placing them in a pure place.

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Tzav 5767-2007

Karayt –The Dreaded Heavenly Punishment”

There is nothing more dreaded in the Torah than the punishment of Karayt–excision. The nature of this punishment and upon whom is it visited is a matter of broad dispute among the commentaries, leaving many questions unanswered. The great fear of this punishment, however, brings many to think twice before doing evil.

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Tzav 5766-2006

Zevach Sh’lamim –Learning to Celebrate Life”

Among the varied sacrifices that the ancient Israelites offered, one of the most intriguing was the Zevach Sh’lamim, the Peace offering, that includes the thanksgiving offering. Our sages teach that the thanksgiving offering will never cease, and that the prayers of thanksgiving will never be discontinued. It is the duty of all of humankind to learn how to properly celebrate life, so that we may sufficiently appreciate what we have, and with profound gratitude express how truly great the gifts of our lives are.

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Tzav 5765-2005

“Do Sacrifices Have Any Relevance for Us Today?”

Our rabbis ask if the ancient sacrificial rituals have any relevance for us today. They respond by saying that both prayer and Torah study are meaningful contemporary substitutes for sacrifices, especially if we pray and study with full-hearted enthusiasm and proper awareness. If we do so, it is considered as if we have rebuilt the Temple and restored the altar to its ancient place of glory.

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Tzav 5764-2004

“Making the Menial Hallowed and Mundane Holy ”

Examining the priestly service, we find something rather perplexing: the holy Cohanim who are engaged in honorable rites with much pomp and circumstance, begin the holy service with a decidedly menial duty each morning. The first service of the day involves removing and transferring the day-old waste of yesterday’s ashes. This act not only serves to keep a priest’s ego in check, it also teaches a valuable lesson about how truly important the “small stuff” really is.

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Tzav 5763-2003

“What we Learn from the Jewish ‘Caste System'”

How does Judaism justify its seemingly discriminatory communal structure of Kohanim-Priests, Leviim-Levites and Israelites?

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Tzav 5762-2002

“Understanding Shabbat Hagadol

Our commentators offer a host of reasons to explain why the Sabbath prior to Passover is called by the grand name “Shabbat Hagadol,” the Great Sabbath. Whatever the reason for this Sabbath to be given such a distinguished name, it is always a very special Sabbath for the Jewish people.

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Tzav-Purim 5760 – 2000

“Remembering Amalek: A Contemporary View”

Jewish tradition looks upon those who seek to destroy the Jewish people as the heirs of the ancient Amalekites, the fierce nation that was the first to attack the people of Israel, especially the elderly, weak and the young after the exodus from Egypt. While remembering Amalek is important, rebuilding and guaranteeing the Jewish future is far more important.

Link to full version