Thursday, March 21, 2013

Parasha Tzav

Tzav (צו | Command) Lev.6:1-8:36

This parasha is interesting it begins with command, and in reality is all about the commandments on the practices on how to approach HaShem.  It is quite interesting that in the last few generations the idea that sacrifices for sin was the prevailing theme when it came to theses passages.  I remember growing up in a evangelical setting in a predominantly catholic country. Recalling that a lot of teachings based on the Tanak referred to the idea that in the old times one need to sacrifice an animal to be forgiven of sin.  However as I read the text I find myself reminiscing on my understanding of yesteryears and the grace and love HaShem for His revelation.

The first thing I learned was that the word sacrifice was not sacrifice as I understood it, the word is korban and it should not really be translated as sacrifice.  The word itself in Hebrew conveys the picture of an action of approaching HaShem, or rather how to approach HaShem.  It is an action and as you read further and study in depth we find that as in the previous parasha, was spelled out for a person that sinned. The operative description was, when he found out that he sinned, he should then offer, korban.  This paints a picture of repentance for forgiveness, and that is exactly how things operated in the times the Tanak was written, right up to the time of Messiah’s redemptive work.  Even after Messiah’s ascension and just before the destruction of the temple this continued to be the case. It is correct to say that the blood of animals cannot remove sin.  It is evident from the Torah that it was never the case and it was clearly understood, it was our modern western mind that did not understand this concept as it was written. As you carefully read the Torah, you see that for sin offering, for peace offering and all other offerings there is stipulation that if you cannot bring an animal, you could bring a meal offering, I guess that was vegie option.  So if you brought the meal offering because of financial shortcomings, were you not accepted the same as everyone else, how was this missed in our western culture, and is continued to be missed. 
The deeper I look at this parasha, the more I realize how little we know, and how much we miss by not studying the principles in which the Torah and the scriptures were written.  I was trained in science to read and analyze in context, also in literature, no matter what language, for critical analysis we are told to read in context, what happened with reading the scriptures?  Where did go wrong why was not context applied in bible interpretation?  By context I mean the culture, the people, the time, the land and the source. The source is HaShem, and if we know him and His character, we will realize that it was grace all along that was at play, not only that that the operative means of expiation of sin was repentance and faith. 

This parasha is Tzav command, it was not why but how the korban should be done and when all commands on the action. Here we are told in this instance about peace offering and thanks giving, nothing to do with sin yet the animals are still being sacrificed, that is slaughtered for a set apart purpose, yet this time it is also being consumed in a holy manner.  Who eats what should be burned, what is the portion of the priest, who shouldn’t eat of it etc, etc. This brings to mind another sacrifice, another korban, that it is still practiced to this day, T’fillin phylacteries.  I have learned that whilst you put on T’fillah on the arm, which goes on first, then followed by the head T’fillah this is to teach us that first we do then we understand.  Why HaShem instituted the sacrificial system, I do not know, but as with T’fillin, first I do and then I will understand.  When I was younger I did not understood many of these scriptures, however progressively HaShem has revealed and brought me back closer to him through His Torah and the daily Korban of prayer that is lifted up.  Repentance without Korban was ineffective, then and still applies, our current Korban is our daily prayers, if we repent and not come before Him, how can our repentance be quantified?

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