Parshat Tzav 5779: The Order of Bringing Korbonot and Consequences of Improper Intent in Service/Tefillot

Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshiyot HaShevua, Tzav is being sponsored by Dr. Dov and Debbie Rosen and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated for the success of their chldren. To the Rosen family, many thanks for your sponsorship and for your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
skype: mark.burt3

Parshat Tzav 5779: The Order of Bringing Korbonot and Consequences of Improper Intent in Service/Tefillot

by Moshe Burt

In our Parsha, Tzav is Moshe’s command from Hashem to Aaron HaKohen and his sons to take up and clothe themselves in their Vestments, their garments of service in the Mishkan, and to begin their daily Avodah (service and offerings in the Mishkan).

For seven days, Moshe taught Aaron HaKohen and his sons the laws of their Avodah in the Mishkan. (You might say that they were given, as one could term it in the US, OJT from Shemayim.) On the eighth day, Aaron and his sons began their Avodah.

The Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash (page 568) explains our Parshat’s title: Tzav in this way:

Tzav — Command. Up to now, commandments regarding the offerings were introduced with “Amartah” = say (Sefer Varikra Perek 1, posuk 2) or “Dabeir” = speak. The Sages explain that the more emphatic term, “Tzav” = command, implies that the Kohanim are being urged to be especially zealous in performing this service, and that this exhortation must be repeated constantly to future generations (citing Sifra: Kiddushin 29a). R’ Shimon adds that this exhortation is especially relevant to commandments that involve a monetary loss, such as the Olah, elevation-offering, of our posuk.

That is to say that Hashem demands consistency between enthusiasm and constancy of service as well as constant diligence in following of the sequence of service, as Divinely outlined — exactly to the letter.

What follows is an excerpt from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s summary of Parshat Tzav in his sefer “Unlocking the Torah Text”, Sefer Vayikra (page 35):

The text returns to the number of korbonot first introduced in Parshat Vayikra, as Hashem adds details pertinent to the participation of the Kohanim.

In the course of these instructions, other laws… are communicated as well, including:

Laws of pigul, korbonot disqualified due to erroneous [improper] intent

The Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash renders to English Sefer Vayikra, Perek 7, posukim 16-18 of our Parsha which deals with thanksgiving peace offerings rendered unacceptable due to improper intent and provides explanation pages 576-577):

“If his feast offering is for a vow or a donation, it must be eaten [by the Kohanim] on the day he offered his feast-offering; and on the next day, what is left over may be eaten. (posuk 16) What is left over from the flesh of the feast-offering shall be burned in the fire on the third day. (posuk 17) And if some of the flesh of his feast thanksgiving peace-offering was intended to be eaten on the third day, it is not acceptable, the one who offers it may not intend this — it remains rejected [pigul]; and the soul that eats it shall bear its iniquity.” (posuk 18)

An offering is disqualified as “pigul” if the person performing either any of the four parts of the blood service necessary to permit the offering to be consumed, either by people or by the flames of the Mizbeiyach {Altar], or performing the service has an improper thought in mind. If the blood service is performed after the end of the current day, or if the sacrificial parts will be placed on the Mizbeiyach after the beginning of the next morning, or the meat of the offering will be eaten after its allotted time — any of these thoughts invalidate the offering immediately; [such offering] becomes “pigul” and must be burned. Anyone who eats “pigul” is liable for the serious penalty of Kareice: spiritual excision. Although the subject of our verse is a peace-offering, which may be eaten for two days and a night, the disqualification of “pigul” applies to all offerings, each according to their own time requirements. (citing Rambam, Hilchot Pesulei HaMukdashin 13:1-3)

The Sages derive that an offering can become “pigul” if an invalid intention took place during the parts of the blood service: the slaughter, receiving of the blood in a sacred vessel, bringing the blood to the Mizbeiyach and applying the blood to the Mizbeiyach. (citing Sifra)

The verse speaks of someone who, while performing the blood service, intended that the offering would be consumed after the prescribed time limit — such as a peace-offering on the third day. The verse does not mean that although the service had been performed properly, …because one had transgressed and actually eaten it on the third day, the offering is retroactively invalid. A correctly performed offering cannot become invalid retroactively. (citing Rashi)

Rabbi Goldin, in his sefer “Unlocking the Torah Text” provides citings regarding potential for financial loss resulting from “pigul” — a disqualified offering:

Chizkuni… that the risk of financial loss runs through the entire sacrificial rite. A Kohen’s failure to execute the sacrificial rituals properly… can invalidate a specific korbon and create the need for a replacement offering. (Rabbi Goldin citing Chizkuni on Sefer Vayikra) The Maharal envisions an even more pervasive loss emerging for the Kohen as a result of his general ritual obligations. The demand place upon the Kohen’s time by his service within the Beit Hamikdash force him to set aside more lucrative worldly pursuits. (Rabbi Goldin citing Gur Aryeh on Sefer Vayikra)

Aharon Yaakov Greenberg, in his sefer “Torah Gems” on our Parsha renders to English part of Sefer Vayikra, Perek 7, posuk 18 and brings us an important lesson regarding intention:

“Neither will it be credited to him that offers it; it will be an abomination…”

In our times, prayer [tefillah] takes the place of korbonot. Now, if a person had an improper thought while offering a korbon — as, for example, that he would eat the meat after the allotted time or in a place where it was not permitted to be eaten — the entire korbon was rendered unfit. One must therefore be very careful when davening not to allow improper thoughts to disturb his tefillah.

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them and that the twice expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes, at government expense; both due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. May our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of four plus years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.