Tzav 5769-2009

"Judaism's Upbeat View of the Past"

The very first service of the day that the Kohen performed was known as Terumat Hadeshen, the lifting of the ashes. Rabbi Hirsch sees it not as the first act of the service of the new day, but rather as the final act of the preceding day's service. This optimistic interpretation underscores Judaism's singularly positive attitude toward life. Yesterday's frustrations, mistakes, errors and sins are not something to be erased from our consciousness, but rather something to be seen as a way station in our perpetual growth, in our never-ending effort at self-improvement.

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Tzav 5768-2008

"Never Give Up Hope!"

The Torah teaches that in addition to lifting up a scoop of ashes and placing them near the altar, the priest must remove the accumulated ashes from the altar and bring them outside the camp to a pure place. The Beit Yaakov interprets this as a metaphor never to give up hope on any Jew. Even though the embers seem to be dying, we must enable them to glow again by placing them in a pure place.

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Tzav 5764-2004

"Making the Menial Hallowed and Mundane Holy "

Examining the priestly service, we find something rather perplexing: the holy Cohanim who are engaged in honorable rites with much pomp and circumstance, begin the holy service with a decidedly menial duty each morning. The first service of the day involves removing and transferring the day-old waste of yesterday's ashes. This act not only serves to keep a priest's ego in check, it also teaches a valuable lesson about how truly important the "small stuff" really is.

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