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Title: Tzav!

Major Focus: Commandments and Mitzvot

Minor Focus: Animal Sacrifice

Abstract: Why is the commandment Tzav! stated so strongly when God tells the priests what their job is going to be?

Format: Rabbinic Argument


"God spoke to Moses, saying: Command (Tzav!) Aaron and his sons..."

Leviticus 6:1

    Why is the command (Tzav!) so strong?

  1. Kiddushin 29a: This portion of Parasha Tzav (Leviticus 6:1 to 8:36) deals with the priestly sacrifices, things they personally were required to bring for God. The term tzav implies a sense of urgency, enthusiasm, and zeal in the matter.
    1. Why should God need to use stronger language in reminding the priests of their personal duty as compared to the people in general?
    2. What could possibly be so urgent about the matter?

  2. Sifsei HaChamim: These sacrifices were expensive, a lot of work, and not very rewarding. These were the burnt offerings. There was nothing left of the animal except for the hides, which the priests were free to use or sell. There was nothing to eat, nothing of any other great value. The priests needed a little extra encouragement!
    1. The priests were not in business, why should they need extra encouragement to do their community service?
    2. How do you feel about hard work when there is no monetary reward? Is the honor of it, or the sense of accomplishment, usually enough?

  3. Rashi: That is true, but they didn't lose anything on these sacrifices either. It is not as if these sacrifices were from their own personal funds or property. They were offered on the behalf of all Israel. I'll grant you though, the hides weren't worth much.
    1. How would the priests have felt if they personally did lose money on the deal? After all, wasn't that part of their job?
    2. Would knowing that you wouldn't lose money on a deal be incentive enough to propel you forward?