Posted on March 22, 2018 (5778) By Rabbi Yisroel Ciner | Series: | Level:

This week we read the parsha of Tzav. “And Hashem spoke to Moshe saying: Tzav {command} Aharon and his sons, saying to them…[6:1-2]”

As we’ve mentioned before, the Ramban explains that Sefer Vayikra {the Book of Leviticus} is the instruction book for the Kohanim and Leviim {Priests and Levites}. As such, our parsha begins with the detailed instructions for the offering of different karbonos {sacrifices} and then moves on to the induction procedure for the Kohanim.

“This is the korbon that Aharon and his sons will sacrifice to Hashem on the day that he will be anointed: One tenth of an aifah (a measurement) of fine flour tamid {consistently}-half in the morning and half in the evening. [6:13]”

There seems to be an inherent contradiction in this passuk {verse} as it states that this offering should be brought “on the day that he will be anointed” and at the same time says that is brought “tamid-consistently,” meaning on a set daily basis. Rashi explains that there are two different obligations being addressed in this passuk. The regular Kohen (as opposed to the Kohen Gadol-the High Priest) brings this sacrifice only “on the day” that he begins his service as a Kohen. The Kohen Gadol, on the other hand, brings this offering on the day that he is anointed, when he begins his service as the Kohen Gadol and then “tamid-consistently,” every single day of the year while still serving as the Kohen Gadol.

This seems to be an ‘induction-type’ of offering, evidenced by the fact that an ordinary Kohen only brings it only at the outset of his service and by the fact that the passuk refers to the anointment day of the Kohen Gadol. If so, why does the Kohen Gadol continue to bring this offering throughout his tenure and why does the passuk refer to the day that he is anointed?

We are pretty funny creatures… We may long for something for an extended period of time. If we’ll finally obtain the desire of our longing our appreciation is relatively short lived. It’s mine now. Then, not only do we cease to feel appreciation for the gift we’ve received but we view it as inherently ours. Should it be taken away from us, we’re in no way back where we started. We’re crushed. It was mine, I had it and it was taken away.

For many years we were the proud owners of a 486 computer. The rest of the world had gone Pentium but we were quite content clunking along with our 486. People would come over and comment how slow it was and how it was time for an upgrade but it didn’t seem too slow for us. Finally, the day arrived and we upgraded to a Pentium. We still have our old computer, as there were some things I wasn’t able to move over to the new one and I’ll occasionally look up old files and letters that are still on the old one. But I don’t do it too often. The thing drives me crazy… It’s so slow…

Let’s view things from a Torah perspective. We’ve discussed previously that this world was not formed by molding together existing materials but rather was a creation of ‘yesh’ from ‘ayin’-something from nothing. As such, the only way that this world continues to exist is through Hashem’s constant re-creation. The responsibility that accompanies that understanding is mind-boggling. I might have deserved something in the past, however, if I no longer deserve it, there is no reason to assume that Hashem will re-create it as mine, if at all.

The Kohanim are chosen from the entire nation and out of all of the Kohanim, one is chosen to be the Kohen Gadol. It is a position of tremendous honor and tremendous responsibility. On Yom Kippur the Kohen Gadol would enter the Holy of Holies to perform the service. Those who were undeserving would not come out alive.

The Kohen Gadol brings this offering every day because he must view every single day as the day that he was anointed. The fact that he held the position yesterday is no guarantee that he’ll hold it today. It’s not his. Each day is new. Each day is a gift. Each day he brings the offering of the day of his anointment.

The story is told of a king who ventured out into a nearby forest and came across a simple shepherd sitting on the ground with his bag on his back, playing a flute while his staff rested on his lap. After engaging him in a conversation and finding him to be exceptionally sharp, the king invited him to his palace where he would be trained as an advisor. The shepherd readily accepted the offer and came to the palace.

There his meteoric rise to prominence astonished everyone and within months he found himself in charge of the treasury (CFO). However, this didn’t go unnoticed by the other more senior advisors. Their jealousy was aroused and they conspired to slander him to the king. “He’s stealing from the treasury,” they told the king. At first the king refused to believe them but after many repeated accusations he agreed to pay a surprise visit to his new advisor’s home and see if he was living above his means.

When they arrived at his house one morning for a surprise visit, they were indeed shocked at what they found. The house was the epitome of simple, modest dignity and cleared away any suspicion that he might have been embezzling from the treasury. As they were about to leave after having been given a ‘grand-tour’ of the premises, they noticed a locked room that hadn’t been opened. Their curiosity aroused, they asked to see what was inside but the advisor gently declined. When the children exclaimed that they too had never been admitted to that room they were sure that they had finally caught him. The king, losing patience and trust, angrily demanded that the door be opened.

Red-faced with embarrassment, the advisor slowly unlocked the door. A collective gasp came from the mouths of the onlookers as the door swung gently open. Before their eyes was a room, barren of any furniture, with only a flute, a staff and a course rucksack lying on the floor. They turned to the advisor for an explanation.

“From the day that I became an advisor to the king,” he explained, “I was afraid that I would become haughty and forget my humble beginnings. I therefore set up this room where, every morning, before I head to the palace, I put on my old rucksack, lay my staff across my lap and play my flute. I always remember that I am nothing but a simple shepherd, who has received great gifts from G-d and from the king.”

Every day a gift. Every day a responsibility. We can’t seek recreation while expecting and taking for granted Hashem’s re-creation.

Good Shabbos,
Yisroel Ciner

Copyright © 1998 by Rabbi Yisroel Ciner and Project Genesis, Inc.

The author teaches at Neveh Tzion in Telzstone (near Yerushalayim).