Torah Tidbits

23 August 2014 / 27 Av 5774
Issue 1039
Shabbat Parshat Tzav-Hagadol-Shmini
March 21, 2013

Aliya-by-Aliya Sedra Summary

Aliya by Aliya Sedra Summary - Tzav

[P> X:Y (Z)] and [S> X:Y (Z)] indicate start of a parsha p’tucha or s’tuma. X:Y is Perek:Pasuk of the beginning of the parsha; (Z) is the number of p’sukim in it.
Numbers in [square brackets] are the Mitzva-count of Sefer HaChinuch AND Rambam’s Sefer HaMitzvot. A=ASEI (positive mitzva); L=LAV (prohibition). X:Y is the perek and pasuk from which the mitzva comes.

Kohen - First Aliya 11 p’sukim - 6:1-11
[P> 6:1 (6)] After the preliminary descriptions of the different korbanot in last week’s sedra, we now find the description of the daily service in the Mikdash.
After burning all night, the fires of the Mizbei’ach are tended first thing in the morning (before sunrise). This first task of the day is relatively less important than other tasks, although it was enthusiastically sought after by young kohanim who vied for the honor of performing the mitzva of “T’rumat HaDeshen” [131,A30 6:3]. The kohen performing this task would remove the ashes from the Mizbei’ach fires and place them beside the Mizbei’ach. He would then change into other garments (of a slightly lesser quality than those worn for “regular” Temple service) and take the ashes to a specific “clean” place outside the camp.
The fire of the Mizbei’ach was to burn always [132,A29 6:6] and was not allowed to be extinguished ever [133,L81 6:6].
[P> 6:7 (5)] The Torah next returns to the topic of the “meal-offerings”, the MINCHA. A small amount of the flour-oil mixture and all of the frankincense (L’vona) was scooped up and placed on the Mizbei’ach to burn. The “mincha” was not to be made Chametz [135,L124 6:10] (there are exceptions to this rule, notably some of the Menachot - if they are even called Menachot - that accompanied the TODA offering, which therefore was not brought on Pesach - this is why we do not say “Mizmor L’Toda”, T’hilim 100, on Pesach. The other exception is/are the SHTEI HALECHEM, the two-loaves offering of Shavuot). The rest of the “mincha” is eaten by male kohanim on duty in the Beit HaMikdash at the time of the offering [134,A88 6:9].

Levi - Second Aliya 22 p’sukim - 6:12-7:10
[P> 6:12 (5)] Each day, the Kohen Gadol is to bring a meal-offering of a tenth of an eifa of flour (plus oil & spice) - half in the morning and half before evening [136,A40 6:13]. This mincha was not to be eaten [137,L138 6:16], but rather was completely consumed on the Mizbei’ach.
[P> 6:17 (7)] The CHATAT [138, A64 6:18] was slaughtered in the same place as the “Olah” (viz. the north side of the Mizbei’ach). An integral part of a sin-offering is the eating of its meat by the kohen (kohanim) who brought it on behalf of the sinners.
SDT: Meshech Chochma points out that the kohen who dealt with the sacrifice is the one who should eat from it, because only he would know if his kavanot (thoughts and intentions) were correct or not. His eating of the sacrifice makes the statement that he indeed did and thought all that was required. (The punishment for a kohen intentionally eating of an invalid sacrifice - in this case, he being the only person who could know of its invalidity - is punishable by “death from heaven”.) We see in this issue, a high level of account- ability a person carries for his own actions. On a different level, it’s sort of like a Mashgi’ach certifying the kashrut of a restaurant - would he himself eat there? One would hope so.
Certain chata’ot, whose blood was brought into the Mikdash, were not to be eaten [139,L139 6:23], but rather completely consumed on the Mizbei’ach.

Shlishi - Third Aliya 28 p’sukim - 7:11-38
[P> 7:11 (17)] The Torah next discusses the Sh’lamim [141,A66 7:11], beginning specifically with the “Toda”. The animal sacrifice is accompanied by various types of wafers and cakes. Parts of the animal are burned on the Altar, parts are given to the kohen, and the remainder is to be eaten by the bringer of the korban. The korban must be eaten by midnight (actual deadline is dawn; midnight is required as a precaution). It is forbidden to leave over any of the korban until morning [142,L120 7:15]; that which is left over must be burned [143,A91 7:17]. If the Sh’lamim is in fulfillment of a vow, its meat may be eaten for two days, becoming “Notar” on the 3rd day.
It is forbidden to eat “Pigul” [144, L132 7:18]. Pigul is a type of invalid korban, where that which rendered the korban unfit for the Mizbei’ach was not something physical nor a mistake in the kohen’s action, but rather an incorrect thought (kavana), of certain types. It is significant that improper thoughts alone can effect the status of a korban.
SDT: The most severe lapse in a kohen’s kavana is one concerning time. A lapse regarding place of the eating of the korban, for example, still renders the korban invalid, but is less severe, punishment-wise. If the kohein has in mind to eat from the korban at a time when it is no longer allowed, then that mis- kavana renders the korban “Class-A Pigul.” This indicates that the sanctity of time is somewhat greater than the sanctity of place, which fits with our previous notions concerning the sanctity of Shabbat and the sanctity of the Mikdash. From a long time ago - but memorable drasha by Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld.
It is forbidden to eat of a korban that is tamei (ritually unclean) [145, L130 7:19]. This is punishable by makot. It is required to burn tamei korbanot [146,A90 7:19]. A person who is tamei who intentionally eats of a korban is liable to “koreit” (“cut off” by G-d).
Certain fats of kosher animals are forbidden to eat [147,L185 7:23]. This is the prohibition of “cheilev”. There are differences between the cheilev of a korban and that of a regular CHULIN (non-sacred) animal.
Eating blood of a bird or mammal is a capital offense (from Heaven) [147, L185 7:26]. Eating meat with blood still in it is a lesser offense, but nonetheless forbidden. This is why meat has to be “kashered”, not just kosher.
SDT: Rashi teaches us that the specific mention of mammals and birds in the prohibition of blood teaches us that the blood of fish and locust are not forbidden. Note that birds and mammals require sh’chita, and they are also the two classes of warm-blooded animals, as opposed to fish and insects - facts which may or may not be relevant.
[P> 7:28 (11)] What follows are more details of the SH’LAMIM: what parts go on the Altar, what parts go to the kohen, etc.

R’vi’i - Fourth Aliya 13 p’sukim - 8:1-13
[P> 8:1 (36)] Having set down the rules, G-d now commands Moshe to take Aharon and his sons, the garments of the kohanim, the sacrificial animals, and the anointing oil, and perform the inaugural ceremonies for the Mishkan in the presence of the People. Moshe dresses Aharon in the garb of the Kohen Gadol, anoints him, the Altar, and the vessels of the Mishkan. He also dresses Aharon’s sons.

Chamishi 5th Aliya 8 p’sukim - 8:14-21
A bull as a sin-offering is brought and Aharon and his sons “lean” on it. (This is a vital element of most personal korbanot. It facilitates a psychological identification with the animal and adds meaning to the act of the sacrifice.) Leaning (s’micha) is accompanied by confession (vidui) or words of praise to G-d, depending upon the type of korban. The bull was slaughtered and part of its blood was put on the corners of the Mizbei’ach and on its base. Parts of the bull were placed on the Mizbei’ach; the remainder was burned outside the camp.
The first of two rams was next offered, as an OLAH.
It is very important for us to understand that Korbanot were not “hocus-pocus, we’re forgiven” offerings. It doesn’t work like that. Never did. A Sin Offering, whipping by the Sanhedrin, even a death penalty, had to be accompanied by real T’shuva and Vidui. Without the heart in the korban-equation, the people were continually castigated by G-d for hollow meaningless acts and lip service. The ceremonies have deep significance and meaning, but the heart and soul of a person must truly be involved, otherwise the korban is (less than) nothing.

Shishi - Sixth Aliya 8 p’sukim - 8:22-29
The second ram was then offered (as a SH’LAMIM called EIL HAMI- LU’IM) and several procedures, as specified in the Torah, were followed. Note: Moshe Rabeinu was an active participant in the 7-day inauguration period for the Mishkan. Thereafter, Aharon and his sons (and all kohanim) are the ones who perform the sacred service of the Mikdash.

Sh’VII Seventh Aliya 7 p’sukim - 8:30-36
Further anointing of Aharon, his sons, and their garments. Then Moshe told them to prepare part of the meat for eating with the accompanying cakes and wafers. That which was left over was to be burned. During the 7 inaugural days, the kohanim were not to leave the Mishkan; they remained there as honor-guards.
SDT: Rashi reminds us that in addition to this one-time isolation of 7 days, there were two other times the Kohein Gadol was isolated for a 7-day preparatory period. One is the week before Yom Kippur - this was every year, of course. And the other was for the preparation of the Para Aduma - this was once in a (long) while - Para Aduma was not a common event. This idea is alluded to by the words LA’ASOT (Para) and L’CHAPEIR (Yom Kippur).
Aharon and his sons did all that G-d had commanded via Moshe.

Haftara 21+1 p’sukim Mal’achi 3:4-24
Unlike the four recent special Shabbatot, when we read a special Maftir in a second Torah, for Shabbat HaGadol that is not the case. We use only one Torah for Parshat HaShavua. We do read a special Haftara. Some say to read this haftara only when Shabbat HaGadol is Erev Pesach. Others say to use this haftara only when Shabbat HaGadol is NOT Erev Pesach. Common practice is to read it on Shabbat HaGadol in all cases, preempting the regular Haftara.
The haftara speaks of faithfulness to Torah and the promise of the coming of Eliyahu HaNavi as the harbinger of the Complete Redemption. That the second, to some extent, depends on the first can be seen in the closeness of the following two phrases: ZICHRU TORAT MOSHE… (remember the Torah, and keep it), and HINEI ANOCHI SHOLEI’ACH LACHEM and if you do, then I will send Eliyahu…
Note: The penultimate (next to the last) pasuk is repeated as the concluding pasuk of the haftara. This is done to end Trei-Asar on a positive note.
Ponder this: On the Shabbat before we commemorate, celebrate, and most importantly, relive the Exodus from Egypt, we are already focusing on the Geula Sh’leima.
In the Hagada, we also mix in the Complete Geula with Geulat Mitzra- yim in several ways. Check out the end of HA LACHMA ANYA. So too the flow of DAYEINU. And the bracha of Geula said with the second cup. The breaking of the middle matza is not just to produce a piece to eat at Motzi Matza and another to eat as Afikoman at the end of the meal. If that were the only purpose, we would use four matzot or just save a piece for the end of the meal. Hiding the larger of the pieces for ‘later’ also symbolizes our understanding that Pesach marks the first Geula that gave birth to the Nation of Israel, but the larger Geula is still to come.
A fifth cup is filled but not drunk (by most people). It is called the Cup of Eliyahu and his role as harbinger of Mashiach is still to be fulfilled. This is our understanding of L’SHANA HABAA BIRUSHALAYIM HAB’NUYA, next year in rebuilt Jerusalem, with a rebuilt Beit HaMikdash - the Geula Sh’leima.
Pesach is most effective only when we see it in context of the full flow of Jewish History - not as an isolated episode thereof.

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