Torah Reflections; Lessons in the weekly Torah portion and topics of Judaism, spirituality, observance and tradition

Torah Reflections from Torah Readers

Divrai Torah, weekly Torah portion summaries, lessons and essays on topics of Judaism, spirituality, observance and tradition.

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Parashat Tzav

For the week of Sat 1st Apr 2023 - י׳ בְּנִיסָן תשפ״ג
Shabbat HaGadol
Yom HaAliyah
Parashat Tzav

The death of Empires

Empires have come and gone, great civilizations have risen and fallen, yet despite the destruction of the temple and the end of the primary form of worship, Jews somehow survived these cataclysmic events. What was it that the Jews did that caused them to survive when great nations fell?

Did you know that...

Even though sacrifices are detailed in the Torah to great extent, they were just a temporary form of worship. Sacrifices were the normal form of worship at the time when they were introduced in the Torah, to use any other form of worship would be incomprehensible. Even though God, who can see far into the future, did not specifically want or need sacrifices, it would take man many generations to evolve to a point where sacrifices could be replaced with prayer instead.


The proof of this is two fold; firstly God put very strict restrictions on how sacrifices should be performed, what could be sacrificed, who could sacrifice them, where they could be sacrificed and by whom. Secondly, when the Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, prayer became the replacement for the daily sacrifices; the fact that the Jewish people survived this cataclysmic event is testimony that sacrifices could be replaced by something else - something hat there were no limitations on, everyone could do it at any place and time - prayer.

Parasha Summary

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The laws of the sacrifices are continued in Parashat Tzav, however this time from the perspective of the priests.

Parashat Tzav continues the laws of the sacrifices begun in the previous parasha. This time from the perspective of the priests performing the ritual. Rules are set out for burnt and grain offerings, sin and guilt offerings and peace offerings, each with its own specific procedures. Details are then set out for the induction of Aaron and his sons into the priesthood prior to the inauguration of the Sanctuary.


16 Mitzvot in Parashat Tzav




  1. To remove the ashes from the altar every day Lev. 6:3

  2. To light a fire on the altar every day Lev. 6:6

  3. Not to extinguish this fire Lev. 6:6

  4. The Kohanim must eat the remains of the meal offerings Lev. 6:9

  5. Not to bake a meal offering as leavened bread Lev. 6:10

  6. The Kohen Gadol (“”High Priest””) must bring a meal offering every day Lev. 6:13

  7. Not to eat the meal offering of the High Priest Lev. 6:16

  8. Carry out the procedure of the sin offering Lev. 6:18

  9. Not to eat the meat of the inner sin offering Lev. 6:23

  10. Carry out the procedure of the guilt offering Lev. 7:1

  11. To follow the procedure of the peace offering Lev. 7:11

  12. To burn the leftover sacrifices Lev. 7:17

  13. Not to eat from sacrifices offered with improper intentions Lev. 7:18

  14. Not to eat from sacrifices which became impure Lev. 7:19

  15. To burn all impure sacrifices Lev. 7:19

  16. An impure person must not eat from sacrifices Lev. 7:20

Second Opinion

Opinions, Essays, Cultural Observances

Blood Sacrafice

In the Torah there is a strict ban on the eating of blood. What is it about eating blood that is so important for the Torah to stress it on at least three occasions? In this essay, we examine the reasoning behind this prohibition.
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