Parshat Tzav 5784: The Hubris, Arrogance, Embarrassment and Demeaning of Others Extended to National Level

Dear Friends;

This year’s Parshat Tzav vort is being sponsored by Benjamin and Gina Fishman of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated Dedicated to all those who help sustain the klal in times of need, including Israel’s soldiers and security forces, personnel who provide vital medical and support services, rabbanim and teachers, and irgunei chessed. And may we merit to see a quick release of the hostages. To the Fishman family, many thanks for your sponsorship and for your continued kindnesses.

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Moshe Burt
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Parshat Tzav 5784: The Hubris, Arrogance, Embarrassment and Demeaning of Others Extended to National Level

by Moshe Burt

There are two sets of posukim at and near the beginning of our Parshat Tzav which seem extremely pertinent, for the messages they deliver, regarding events leading up to the 22nd of Tishrei, aka 7 October.

Our Parshat Tzav opens:

“Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying: ‘Command Aaron and his sons, saying: This is the law of the elevation offering…'” (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 6, posukim 1 and 2 rendered to English in the Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash)

Torah later states:

“Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying: ‘Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying: This is the law of the sin-offering; in the place where the elevation offering is slaughtered shall the sin-offering be slaughtered…'” (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 6, posukim 17 – 18 rendered to English in the Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash)

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin refers to the elevation offering as the “Burnt-offering” in both sets of posukim and discusses both sets of posukim for the messages they convey in his sefer, “Growth Through Torah (pages 242 – 244) :

The verse(s) [Sefer Vayikra, Perek 6, posukim 1 and 2] can be read: “This” is the principle of the arrogant person, the one who looks at himself as an exalted person. He constantly demands “this.” He always wants things to be done his way without taking the needs of others into consideration. (Rabbi Pliskin citing Vayedabair Moshe)

An arrogant person always wants to have his own way. His thoughts are focused only on what he wants. He is totally inconsiderate of others. This trait causes much strife in interpersonal relationships…. If such a person finds someone who is submissive to him, he will get his way but at the heavy price of causing another human being pain and anguish. While one need not always give in to others, when one takes someone else’s needs into consideration, one gains spiritually more than one would have by demanding that their wishes should be met.

[Regarding Sefer Vayikra, Perek 6, posukim 17 – 18] The Talmud Yerushalmi (Rabbi Pliskin citing Yevamos 8:3) states that the reason the burnt-offerings and the sin offerings were slaughtered in the same place was in order to save those who sinned from embarrassment. When people saw the animal they brought being slaughtered, they would not know that it was a sin-offering.

From here, we see the principle of not causing others shame or discomfort when they have done something improper in the past and now regret it.

It is one thing when hubris (noun: excessive pride or self-confidence; arrogance) adversely affects interpersonal relations between a leader, department head, military commander and their subordinate (adjective: placed in or belonging to a lower order or rank). But when top tiers of a military force show arrogance in repeatedly ignoring, disparaging or threatening subordinates with “legal” actions over their warnings of enemy preparations for invasion and worse, backed up by tangible evidence, such hubris not only affects the functioning of an organization or unit, but actually jeopardizes the security of the nation and deprecates its governmental and diplomatic credibility and military deterrence capability, as well as causing embarrassment on the world stage.

The failure to heed warnings far in advance of Hamas, Hezbollah, Iranian and Yemenite preparations for war against us which occurred on 7 October, as well as arrogance and equivocation on the government’s part in entering negotiations for ceasefires which encompass supplies to Gaza which end up in Hamas hands rather than in Gazan civilian hands, as well as negotiating return of hostages in exchange for bloody-handed terrorists incarcerated in Israel rather than going all out to totally win this war and LIBERATE all remaining hostages by the hands of our Chayalim by the Yad Hashem have all led to the lessening of the world’s perception of Israel’s credibility and and level of military prowess and deterrence. The sins of Israel’s political, governmental and top military leadership have put the security of the nation of Israel and Jews worldwide in peril.

May it be that our Chayalim emerge totally victorious — eradicating Hamas, their terrorist buddies and the so-called “innocent civilians” of Gaza who joined with Hamas in their murderous deeds, and that the Chayalim return home whole — physically, mentally and spiritually and that the Chayalim Liberate and bring home all remaining hostages. And may we see the restoration of true unity within Am Yisrael.

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently re-settled in Gush Katif, once the IDF, by the Yad Hashem, destructs and eradicates the wild beasts of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, all other terror entities, and if necessary Iran, and that our brethren be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them, that the thrice expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes and the oft-destroyed Yeshiva buildings in Homesh be rebuilt, as well as the buildings of Yishuv Elchanan, all at total government expense. May our Chayalim return from battle unharmed — physically, mentally and spiritually and may all of the hostages brutally taken by the wild beasts of Hamas be liberated and returned to their families. Baruch Hashem that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard is now in his fourth year at home in Eretz Yisrael and continues in a new chapter in his life. May Esther Yocheved bat Yechiel Avraham have an aliyah in Shemayim and may her spirit and memory continue to lift Jonathan to at least 120 years. May the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem — as with the return in April, 2019, via Russia, of the remains of Zachariah Baumel, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of nine 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 see, in 5784, the REAL Jews from the Ukraine and Russia as well as the US and Canada, the real Jews via matrilineal descent, make Aliyah enmass — via thorough review by Misrad HaPanim. And may we soon and finally see the total end to the Communist Chinese Wuhan Lab corona virus pandemic and all like viruses and variants. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nei 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.