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[Dvar Torah] Tzav

In this week’s parsha, Tzav, G-d instructs Moses to command Aaron and his sons regarding their duties as Kohanim, Priests. The name “Tzav” literally translates to ‘Command’, a key theme observed throughout the Parsha, looking into the details of the Tabernacle sacrifices, procedures of offerings and priest roles. 

Tzav teaches us about four different kinds of offerings: burnt offerings where the entirety of the animal offered goes towards G-d; meal offerings when individuals wish to offer but are not capable of offering a full animal; guilt offerings, which people made when they wished to repent; and finally feast offerings, which were to show gratitude for positive experiences. Despite not having sacrifices now, the idea of sacrifices is still very relevant to our own lives. Sacrifices are made with the idea and intention of serving G-d and giving back through the many different types of offerings. Today, we show our own connection and gratitude in different ways.

Some individuals are able and willing to keep Shabbat fully, pray regularly and follow most of the laws of Judaism as a way to show their connection to G-d, however some may only keep holidays, or commit to some mitzvot only, or simply undertake acts of chesed, good deeds. Certain Jews may only keep part of Shabbat but do it with a good heart. Each person, each Jew is different and has a different unique connection to their Judaism and to G-d, whether we are observant or not, whether we undertake to follow the laws fully or not. The beauty of Judaism is that we can all see ourselves in relation to G-d in many different ways. 

The Israelites used their offerings as a way to transform and cleanse themselves. It was both a way to please G-d and to make themselves feel better. It is this internal feeling and intention that drives us to do good deeds and connect to G-d. As we move further into the year, we should seek self-reflection to form a closer connection not only to G-d but to our own roots. 

Parsha Tzav emphasizes the value of intention and sincerity in our offerings. Not only do our physical acts matter, but so does the motivation that drives them. We should seek to build a true and heartfelt connection with G-d in whatever we do, whether it's obeying laws, committing good deeds, or praying. 

Shabbat Shalom 

Elya, Grade 11