Parashat Tzav // “Command”

- ע נ ו -

Why does gratitude bring peace to our lives?

God consents to dwell among people 

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This isthe law of the burnt offering: It is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it” Leviticus 6:8 – 9

  • Aaron is the High Priest. As the person overseeing the sacrificial services on behalf of all of Israel, he is the one standing between the Creator and His people. God chose a few select Israelites to specialize in the rite of the Tabernacle and dedicate their lives to study. The priests act on behalf of the community. They are the vessel casting the light of creation. As such, their task is to serve the public and express gratitude for their unique share.
  • Sacrifice, as its Hebrew name (קרבן, “korban”) suggests, is an act of coming closer (התקרבות, “hitkarevut”) to God. If we work properly and consistently, we are sure to undergo an inner transformation. The Israelites yearn to be close to God and He complies, agreeing to dwell among them. By coming closer to God – both in their hearts and in Tabernacle – the Israelites become evermore united by the divine light. As long as we engage in divine service together, the flame of the altar will always burn in our hearts.

The relationship between God and his creations is a covert light of love

“And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out” Leviticus 6:12 – 13

  • The purpose of the sacrifices is to bring humans closer to God and invoke His love: “But love covers up all faults” (Proverbs 10:12). Sacrifices are intended to intensify our bond and intimacy with God. By relinquishing something that belongs to us, we express our love for the ideal/being that demanded this act. When we take a risk and/or pay a high price for this expression of love, we become further linked to God. This emotional bond elevates and sanctifies the item we are sacrificing – and designates it for a higher purpose, whatever it may be.

Pearls of Divine Wisdom: “Command”

  • The priest is the vehicle leading us to God. An emissary of God must act on behalf of the people and not abuse their position. They must serve the community and, at the same time, feel gratitude for having obtained this role of power.
  • Sacrifice, as its Hebrew name (קרבן, “korban”) suggests, is an act of coming closer (התקרבות, “hitkarevut”) to God. When we consistently conduct ourselves in a certain manner, our behavior can profoundly change our perception of good and evil.
  • The purpose of sacrifices is to bring people closer to God and ignite our love for Him. An act is a “sacrifice” if we care about the end for which we are willing to forfeit.
  • Throughout history, the Jewish people have made endless sacrifices and preserved their identity at great costs. Their bond with God is nurtured from an atemporal source – a special, hidden light and love.  
  • The deep meaning underlying the sacrificial service is gratitude. When a person is thankful for their fortunes, they can come closer to God and others. Our natural choice must be to see the good and blessings that surround us.

Gratitude and appreciation for everything, even when especially difficult or challenging, is the