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PARASHAT HASHAVUA:

Parshat Tzav
 
This week is Parshat Tzav
Candelighting 3/21/08 - 6:51 PM (DST New York City)
Wishing all a Purim Sameach
 
Parshat Tzav
Representing G-d's Torah
Rabbi Chaim Lobel
 
(Leviticus; Chapter 6, Verses 3-4) “He, (Kohen – Priest) shall raise the ashes of the Olah offering that was consumed by the fire on the altar, and place them next to the Alter... he shall remove the ashes to the outside of the camp, to a pure place.”
 
The remains of the Olah sacrifice were to be burned completely all through the night. [An “Olah” was a voluntary sacrifice, brought to forgive violations of positive commandments (Nachmanidies, Leviticus 1:4)]. In the morning the Kohen would clean the remaining ashes off the Alter and dispose of them properly.
 
The Chovos Halevavos (Gate of Humility – Chapter 6) explains, the Torah obligated the Kohen to clean the Alter everyday in order that he remove all feelings of haughtiness and humble himself to the services of G-d. The Merapeh Lenefesh, commenting on the Chovos Halevavos, makes the point that in the service to G-d there is no room for self praise.
 
The action of cleaning the Alter reminds the Kohen of what his motives should be. Not all of G-ds work is glorifying and just as there is no glory in cleaning the Alter, so to one should not conduct his service to G-d for personal gain or glory.
 
It is clear from the services in the Tabernacle that the Kohanim were representing the entire Jewish nation in the service to G-d. The Kohanim had the moral obligation to  conduct their work with the utmost dignity and NOT use G-d's work to exalt themselves.    
 
This is a true lesson for all who represent the banner of G-d; to conduct ourselves with pure intentions, for the  sole purpose of doing the right thing.
Shabbat Shalom
 

***

Rabbi Chaim Lobel is the Rabbi of Young Israel of Aberdeen, Congregation Bet Tefilah, Aberdeen, NJ. http://www.yiaberdeen.com/index.html


 
   
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