Simple obedience

It is not about the animal, or its blood or its fat. It is not about the sacrifice at all! It is all about the act of simple obedience,

Moshe Kempinski

Judaism yeshiva students
yeshiva students
צילום: PR

When the Torah describes Hashem giving instructions we usually read words such as " and G-d Spoke -VaYidaber  or Leimor- tell the people"

Yet in this Torah Portion of Tzav we read the following;

"And Hashem spoke (VaYidaber) to Moshe, saying (Leimor), Command (Tzav) Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: That is the burnt offering which burns on the altar all night until morning, and the fire of the altar shall burn with it. (Exodus 6:1-2)

Rashi explains the use of the word “Command( Tzav) in the following manner "The expression Tzav always denotes urging to promptly and meticulously fulfill a particular commandment for the present and also for future generations”.

Yet the word Tzav also implies that the request by Hashem had to be commanded because it could never have been comprehended or assumed on its own.

Mankind has struggled forever around the question of spirituality and physicality. Are the two compatible or are they mutually exclusive? Does the Divine only rest in the spiritual reality of our existence or is the physical aspect of our lives holy as well?

The reality of G-d's being is so beyond our comprehension, how can mortal beings enter into a "relationship" with He that is above all comprehension.

The Torah understanding is that this can only occur when the Infinite reaches out to the finite.

In our study of the previous Torah Portion of Vayikra one is struck by the shrunken Aleph in the first word “VaYikra” ( and He ( G-d)  called to Moshe".

Rabbi Menachem Nachum of Chernobyl, sees in the shrunken Aleph as being related to the fact that  the verse describing Hashem calling Moshe to enter the sanctuary does not use Hashem's name at all .The "Chernobler" describes the letter Aleph as referring to Alufo Shel Olam ( the Chief of the Universe). The Aleph is shrunken to teach that in order to allow finite mortals to enter into dialog with the Infinite, G-d achieves a humanly perceived impression of contraction ( tzimtzum) .

He makes room for us to enter. Just like He invited Moshe to come into the Tent even though the tent was “filled” with the cloud of Glory.

Yet Hashem does something else as well. He makes requests of us.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe uses the following parable;

A philosopher or Intellectual personage lives in a virtual ivory tower in a life centered on lofty ideas and thoughts. Down below in the street ,a poor water carrier carries his water urns trying to earn a livelihood. Neither thinks about the other or has any thought of a relationship with the other .Unless the philosopher asks the water carrier for some water. The connection and relationship becomes formed. (Sefer HaMaamarim 5698, p. 52.)

The analogy is weak because the philosopher, the finite being bears no resemblance the Infinite Creator. Yet the creation of such a relationship is made clearer through this analogy.

The Temple Work of the priests in the holiest of all places will give us some further insight and direction into this very unequal relationship .The  use of certain words in the beginning of the Torah Portion of Tzav are instructive. We actually see the use of three different yet similar words.

We read that Hashem is “Speaking” “Saying” and “Commanding”. The words “And Hashem spoke (Vayidaber) to Moshe, saying (Leimor)” is not a new form of introduction to the presentation of new commandments and teaching. The seeming repetition of the action of speech is instructive. Rabbi Shimshon Rephael Hirsch explains it in this fashion; “...The one who is speaking (Dibbur) gives a precise and detailed expression to his thought, while the one who is saying (Emor) transmits a complicated idea to the heart of another, explaining and developing it completely.“

Yet we also   read regarding    the declaration that Hashem must “command” Aaron and his sons to comply with these new regulations.

The concept of sacrifices in essence really does not make sense to us. The Infinite has no need of physical gifts. Those offerings cannot assuage or satisfy any need ,as the Almighty G-d does not have any needs. In fact the first of these "Commands" is most mysterious

"That is the burnt offering which burns on the altar all night until morning, and the fire of the altar shall burn with it.". The concept of giving a gift that is completely destroyed actually makes no sense.

Yet in there is the secret of the sacrifices. It is not about the animal, or its blood or its fat. It is not about the sacrifice at all!

It is all about the act of simple obedience,

The word Tzav (command) is linked to the word Mitzvot ( Commandments. The very word Mitzva and Tzav are connected to the word Tzavta ( a connection or bond). We become elevated into that relationship because we simply bind ourselves within His Ratzon ( Will) .

We would never have thought of our being able to elevate into such a level without Hashem first giving us the ladder defined by the word  Tzav (command)

Lerefuat Kol Hacholim ve Kol Haptzuim

Lerefuat Yehudit bat Golda Yocheved and Yehudit bat Chaya Esther