Thursday, April 6, 2017

Parashat Tzav (Command) Leviticus 6:1-8:36

Parashat Tzav (Command) Leviticus 6:1-8:36

This weeks parashah continues the Levitical listing of sacrificial rituals begun in last week's parashah, and discusses how to out work the offerings, what the various kinds of offerings are, and the anointing and ordination of the priests. While chapter 6 and 7 out line the process for the 5 offerings (Sin, Burnt, Grain, Peace, Trespass), in chapter 8 Moses shows Aaron the Priest and his sons what to do.

The expression 'command' is used by Adonai a number of times throughout this parashat, however it is interesting that He should do so, and is noticed first in verse 9.  “When God speaks to Moses, the Torah commonly uses two other words, emor, "speak to" and dabeir, "say." Yet this week's parashah opens with one stark word: tzav, "command." It's a much stronger word and one that implies urgency”, - Rabbi Elyse Goldstein. 

Adonai placed an urgency upon these laws that not only helps me understand their importance, but also to live with more righteousness and integrity.

Verse two starts by outlining a few sins as examples (6:2-3) that need to be redeemed through offerings to Adonai. In a post modern world, what may now be deemed as trivial to us, like lying - to Adonai it's so much more, it’s powerful in the sense that it robs a person of something extremely valuable in order to have relationship with Adonai - Holiness!

Definition of Holy is “set apart”, (

Chapter 6 outlines the need not only to be Holy, but to also partake in the process of becoming Holy, as well as to reflect it back to Adonai (6:12 - Peace Offering, 6:14-15 - Grain Offering of sweet aroma, 6:16 Partaking of if). The point of being Holy and seperate from the world of sin is outlined in Deuteronomy 23:14;

“For the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may see no unclean thing among you, and turn away from you.

Un cleansed sin stops Adonai from being able to be in our presence, and He calls us to be Holy as He is (1Peter 1:16, Leviticus 20:26), but how can this be possible if we are not He. In order to be Holy we must be without blemish, and therefore we must be redeemed through sacrifice which last till our next sin, though through faith in Yeshua His blood has washed our sin away (1 John 1:7, Hebrew 1:3), and therefore we are now able to be in His presence or the Holy of Holies, so to speak. Nevertheless though Yeshua’s death and resurrection covers the sin of a believer, the fact of needing Yeshua for atonement remains, and therefore the importance of obedience to the law remains, not to do away with what Yeshua has done, rather to honour and show gratitude for His grace.

Perhaps Adonai’s urgency in which He commanded Moses, was to minimise separation, assumably for the good of Israel more so than Himself - pretty much the biblical thread since Adam.

Leviticus 19:1-2
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.

Two offerings stand out in Leviticus to me, the trespass offering (6:1-7) and the sin offering (6:25-30). 
From growing up within the church, I’ve noticed that when a senior leader/Pastor etc. in a church falls dues to sin, many people in the congregation are drastically affected, and at times leave the faith. I wonder if this is a reflection on what we see here between the trespass offering and the sin offering.

The trespass offering is outlined in 6:2-3 by specific sins (perhaps as an example), the sinner than brings a ram to the Priest, the offering is made and that person is forgiven, according to Leviticus 4 these are unintentional sins. However the sin offering is for the whole of Israel if they unintentionally sin as a whole, or in the same manner for the Priest if he sins, as his sins brings judgment on all the people of Israel (4:3). 

Sin and holiness are complete opposites, and though Yeshua covers the sin of a believer; (But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” 1 John 1:7), there remains a tension between flesh and spirit, (“For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh”, Galatians 5:17).

Just as Holiness is required for intimacy with Adonai in the Torah, still today as believers the flesh and spirit war, and the fight for this intimacy remains even though Jesus made it open to us by accepting Him as our saviour.

Shalom. Graeme Politanski

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