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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Sefer Vayikra

Tzav and Vayikra – Some Additional Thoughts

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 22, 2011

In another post we discussed the differences between Tzav and Vayikra, focusing on the order in which the korbanot are listed.    As a wrap-up of that discussion, here are some additional differences worth noting: Tzav’s discussion of the olah is very brief (6:1-6), without an enumeration of all the possible different animals.  …

Tzav – Two Perspectives on Korbanot

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 22, 2011

The beginning of parashat Tzav seems like almost an exact repeat of the beginning of parashat Vayikra.  Each parasha deals with the details and rituals of the different korbanot, and Tzav winds up seeming like merely a repeat of Vayikra. However, closer examination shows that while they deal with the same topics, they approach them from different perspectives. …

The Problem with Perfection

by Rabbanit Devorah Zlochower
Posted on April 30, 2010

When my son Netanel was a preschooler, he informed me that he was a member of a persecuted minority: he is left-handed. Discrimination is rampant, according to Netanel. In addition to the obvious—scissors, golf clubs, spiral notebooks—Netanel noticed something that had escaped his left-handed mother, his left-handed father, and his left-handed older brother.…

What Is Most Dear to Us that We Bring to God?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 19, 2010

Parshat Vayikra introduces us into the world of korbanot. The institution of sacrifices is a very difficult concept for many today. How do we understand why God would want or need sacrifices? And even if they are for us, as a way to connect to God, the acts involved in bringing sacrifices – slaughtering, sprinkling the blood, burning of the fats – seem much too bloody, gory, and smelly to constitute an elevated religious experience.…

Serving God Ideally

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 8, 1998

In parshat Bechukotai, God tells the Israelites that if they obey His commandments they will be blessed with all kinds of material blessings: rain in the right time, bountiful crops, children, health, and peace. If, however, they disobey Him and reject His commandments all types of tragedy will befall them: disease, famine, death in battle, and, finally, exile from the land.…

‘To Her he Shall Become Impure’ – Serving God by Leaving the Temple

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 1, 1998

The parsha of Emor centers on the sanctity of the Kohanim: their obligation not to become impure, restrictions on whom they can marry, and the conditions under which they can serve in the Temple and eat its sacrifices. The end of the parsha enumerates all the festivals of the year and the special sacrifices brought on each.…

The Yom Kippur Service and The Avoda of Teshuva

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 17, 1998

Parshat Acharay-Mot details the Temple service that the high priest would perform every Yom Kippur. Today, the description of the Temple service forms the center of the communal Yom Kippur Musaf prayer, and the Torah reading on Yom Kippur is taken from the parsha of Acharay-Mot.…

Slander and its Consequences

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 10, 1998

The parsha of Metzora details laws of impurity, a state that would prevent a person from entering the Temple and, in some cases, from entering the Israelite camp. Tzara’at, often mistranslated as “leprosy,” was a supernatural spotting that could appear on a person’s house, clothes, or body.…

Brit Milah, Covenant and Partnership

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 4, 1998

Parshat Tazria details many laws of purity and impurity which, for the most part, are not relevant today. However, it begins with the laws of childbirth and the mitzvah of brit milah, of circumcising Jewish males on the eighth day. What is the purpose of the brit milah?…

Holiness, Self-Restraint, and Personal Growth

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 28, 1998

Parshat Shmini opens with the culmination of the process of inducting Aaron and his sons into the priesthood. For seven days they had offered the same sacrifices and repeated the same ritual. Now, on the eighth day, a special ceremony was performed to inaugurate the sanctuary and their role in it as priests.…

Mitzvot, Monotony, and Meaning

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 21, 1998

Parshat Tzav continues with a discussion of the sacrifices to be brought in the Sanctuary, this time from the perspective of the priests that do the service. It concludes with a seven-day induction of Aaron and his sons into the priestly order.…