Points to Ponder

Tzav/HaGadol 5778

Tzav (6:2)Rashi notes that the word Tzav implies a command both for now and in the future. Rashi quotes from Rav Shimon who notes that this is especially the case when there is a loss of money and no overt benefit – that one needs encouragement. Why is the fact that a Mitzva was performed assumed to be “no benefit?” Rav Moshe Feinstein ztl. explained that when one thinks of a Korban Olah he will come to the conclusion that man himself is to dedicate his whole life to Hashem and spiritual matters to the exclusion of worldly matters – locking himself up and isolating from the world. Rav Moshe notes that this line of thinking is incorrect. One should make sure that in every activity that one does – overtly spiritual or even apparently mundane – that the primary focus in them is in the service of Hashem. When that happens, the result is a Korban to Hashem.

Tzav (6:2) – A second thought on the comment of Rav Shimon…Many commentators on the ספרא note that this statement by R. Shimon is quoted out of context. R. Shimon wasn’t commenting on our verse, for the כהנים cannot suffer financial loss in the performance of their duties. Indeed they stand to benefit from the bringing of קרבנות .The force of R. Shimon’s statement is that the Torah may use the language of exhortation here but requires it even more in other contexts where the כהנים do have to be reminded to do their duty and not scrimp lest they seek to protect their personal interests. Rav Ozer Glickman ztl. suggested that the כיס חסרון isn’t that of the כהנים at all but rather potential loss to Bnei Yisrael. The כהנים are exhorted to be careful in their performance precisely because they are using the financial and economic resources provided by others. Their service needs to be performed with care lest they not do justice to the contributions of others.

This is the Toras (6:2) – Although both Parshas Vayikra and Parshas Tzav mention Korbanos, only in Parshas Tzav does each section begin with the word Toras. Why? Rav Wolbe ztl. explained that in Parshas Tzav the details of the Korbanos are provided in much more detail than in Parshas Vayikra. Each detail offers us a wealth of Torah study ability. It is the details that connect us to the Torah and give us the opportunity to smash the Yetzeer HaRa. Thus, in the Parsha of detail we go with the introductory “Torah.”

And he shall take a Kometz from the Soles and the oil and all of the Levonah on the Mincha (6:8) – The Talmud (Menachos 11b) debates the discussion as to what the size of a Kometz of ALL the Levona is. The position of Rabbi Yehuda is that even the smallest amount counts toward the Kometz. Rav Simcha Zissel Broide ztl. learned a valuable lesson from the expression – that when we point out that Hashem who will not allow Kol Chamaso to rear its head (Tehillim 78:38) meaning that we request from Hashem that he not show even the smallest aspect of his anger toward us.

And gather the entire congregation by the doors of the Ohel Moed (8:3) – Why did the people need to gather and why at the doors? Rav Yisroel Reisman Shlita pointed out that we find other times where great things happened at the gates – with Avraham and with Mordechai in particular. Why? Rabbi Reisman compared the environment to the situation in Hallel when we ask “Pischu Lee Shaarei Tzedek” . The Kedushas Levi explains that the gate here is the dividing point between those who deserve to get in and those who don’t -- although everyone wants to get in. People gather at the doors because that is where the Shechina checks in while those outside humbly wait to bask in the glory of Hashem though all the while feeling unworthy of being there. The humility allows for the room for Hashem. That’s why Mordechai hung out there and Avraham too. And that is why the people who were waiting for a Shechina existence were told to wait at the doorway for the room for Shechina to get in.

Moshe took the Shemen HaMishcha (8:10) – Why was the Shemen HaMishcha needed to sanctify the Mishkan but not the Beis HaMikdash? Rav Soloveitchik ztl. explained that the Beis HaMikdash had Kedushas Makom – the place defined the sanctity, not the building. On the other hand, the Mishkan was mobile and thus the sanctity was determined on the basis of Kedushas HaGuf. In essence the Mishkan was a major Kli Shares – a vessel for the Kedusha and as such, had to be anointed when put into use.

And Aharon and his sons did (8:36) – Rashi writes that this is a praise of theirs in that they did not deviate one iota from the word of Moshe – neither to the left nor the right. Sivan Rahav Meir notes that this must be a big deal – especially in the matters of Kedusha – not to deviate either to the left or the right. That’s a major insight in regard to the role of the world of spiritual communication with Hashem – not deviating is not that simple.


Haftorah: Shabbos HaGadol – Malachi refers to the Yom HaGadol V’HaNora (hence it is not Shabbos HaGedolah). Some point out that there is a Shabbos HaKatan – called Yom Tov. In order to highlight that Mimacharas HaShabbos refers to the Shabbos HaKatan of Yom Tov. Thus we refer to this as the Shabbos HaGadol. Rav Schachter Shlita would point out that Erev Pesach of the 4th and 7th years of the Shmittah cycle was the time of the Biur Maaser. This is the theme of the Haftorah (Haveeyu Es Kol HaMaaser) and therefore it was read then.