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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS TZAV 5769 BS"D

Ch. 6, v. 1: "Hee ho'oloh al mokdoh" - It is the oloh offering on its pyre" - Is the burning of this offering part and parcel of the mitzvoh of offering an oloh (and for that matter the burning of the required parts of other sacrifices), or is it a separate mitzvoh in the count of 613 mitzvos? The Rambam and Chinuch consider the burning a detail in the overall mitzvoh of processing the prescribed sacrifice, while the Baha"g counts it as a separate mitzvoh.

Ch. 6, v. 1: "V'aish hamizbei'ach tukad bo" - And the fire of the altar shall burn in it - The Sfas Emes was testing his young son, the future Imrei Emes, in his knowledge of the Chumash he was studying, parshas Tzav. When the Imrei Emes translated these words of our verse correctly, the Sfas Emes then asked him for the antecedent of BO. The Imrei Emes, without missing a beat, responded that it refers back to the Kohein who was doing the service. The Imrei Emes's son, the Beis Yisroel, went on to say that this is why the letter Mem of "mokdoh" of our verse is written in a smaller size, to indicate that although there should be great fire of enthusiasm in the heart of the Kohein doing the service, nevertheless, it should not be visible externally.

Ch. 6, v. 14: "Murveches" - Fully boiled - This is Rashi's translation. It would seem that this component of the breads' preparation would be somewhat like boiling a bagel. The Ibn Ezra offers that this word either means soft, or done quickly. On 7:12 the Ibn Ezra says that the explanation that most pleases him is that the bread is "choice." Seemingly this means that the letters are switched around and we have "muvche'res." This also includes a switch of a "chof" to a "ches," letters that are phonetically the same. (Shaa'rei Aharon)

Ch. 6, v. 14: "Minchas pitim" - A meal offering of breads - Note that we have the word-form "pas" only once in our verse, not like earlier in parshas Vayikra, "posos oso pitim." The Toras Kohanim on our verse says that the baked bread should be folded once. The Raavad explains that earlier the bread was folded once into two sections and then again into four. This is indicated by the doubling of the term "pas." Here where it is mentioned only once, the Toras Kohanim says that it is folded only once.

However, the Rambam in hilchos maasei hakorbonos 13:4 says that the Kohein splits each bread into approximately two equal parts so that one half can be offered in the morning and the other in the evening. This is his explanation of "machatzisoh baboker umachatzisoh bo'erev." Each half is then folded once before being offered.

The Raavad disagrees and says that the intention of "machatzisoh " is that half of the six breads be offered in the morning and the other half be offered in the evening, but each bread remains whole, but folded.

Ch. 6, v. 16: "V'haKohein hamoshiach tachtov mibonov " - And the Kohein who is anointed in his place from among his sons - The Toras Kohanim derives from these words that when a Kohein Godol leaves over a son who can fill his position through his wisdom and piety, he has priority over other Kohanim to fill his father's now vacant position, even though there are others who are as when suited or even better. However, the special Kohein whose responsibility it is to take the army out to war and give them a pep-talk is not given over as an inheritance. This is somehow derived from "tachtov mibonov."

An explanation for this exception can simply be that it is a matter of life and death. The Kohein who is best suited to exhort and pump the soldiers spirits to their greatest height is the man for the job. Another insight is that service of Hashem in the Beis Hamikdosh is an ongoing situation if we so merit it, hence the concept of the position being an inheritance is in place. Not so with war, as peace should be the norm.

Ch. 6, v. 18: "Lifnei Hashem" - In front of Hashem - The Ralbag says that these words teach us that not only must the processing of the sin offering take place where the "oloh" offering is done, but that the one who slaughters and the animal itself have their faces pointed in the direction of the Holy of Holies.

Ch. 6, v. 20: "Vaasher yizeh modimoh al ha'beged t'chabeis b'mokome kodosh" - And if its blood will be sprinkled upon a garment you shall launder in a holy place - Why is there a requirement to cleanse the blood of the sacrifice, and why is this said specifically by a "chatos" offering? The Ramban explains that if left unlaundered, the garment will eventually be worn outside the Mikdosh precinct and become invalidated through "yotzei." Rashi and the Rashbam say that the blood will become disqualified with the passage of time at the end of the day, "nosar."

Why this rule applies only to a "chatos" even though the disqualifications of "yotzei" and "nosar" apply to other sacrifices as well, is explained by the Abarbanel. He says that the likelihood of blood landing on the Kohein's garments is greatest by "chatos hapnimi," the sin-offering that is brought into the Sanctuary building. Its blood is applied to the curtain dividing between the Holy and the Holy of Holies, as well as upon the inner golden altar. The Kohein must dip his finger numerous times into the pan of blood before applying the blood, so the possibility of it dripping onto his vestments is great. The Torah therefore rules that the blood be laundered, as above. (Although we don't have all this finger dipping by a standard "chatos," once the Torah required the cleansing by one type of "chatos" the ruling goes across the board.)

Ch. 6, v. 20: "Asher yizeh o'lehoh" - That which will be sprinkled upon her" - The antecedent of "o'lehoh" is "ha'beged." Although we seem to always find the word "beged" masculine, here and in Breishis 27, "Bigdei Eisov b'noh hachamudOS," and in Mishlei 6, "B'godov lo Sis'r'feNOH" we find it in the feminine. Add this to the list of bi-gender words (see Rashi on Shmos 35:17).

Ch. 6, v. 21: "Uchli che'res asher t'vushal bo yisho'veir" - And an earthenware vessel n which it will be cooked shall be broken - What happened to all the shattered earthenware vessels? The gemara Yoma 21 says that all these shards, if left in the Mikdosh compound, would fill it up. A miracle took place and they were swallowed into the ground. This is one of eight miracles that were a regular occurrence at the Mikdosh.

Ch. 6, v. 21: "Yisho'veir" - Shall be broken - Rashi says that this requirement applies as well to vessels in which other types of sacrifices have been cooked, but the Rambam in hilchos maasei hakorbonos 8:14 says that it only applies to that which the verse is clearly discussing, "chatos."

Ch. 7, v. 26: "V'chol dom lo socheilu" - And any blood you shall not consume - The all-inclusive word "v'chol" teaches us that the prohibition against consuming blood does not apply only to species of animal that are appropriate as sacrifices, as is the case with "cheilev." Rather, the blood of all animals is prohibited. (Malbim)

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See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a


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