Monday, March 18, 2013

Keep The Fire Burning - Parashat Tsav

This week we're reading Parashat Tsav, and its Sacrifices again.
Why again? Sounds like last week.
Are we reading it again to make sure that we understand all of the details? There's a difference here.
Parashat Tsav is specifically aimed at the Priestly division of the Levites...the Leaders of the Community.  We could say that last week's portion was the instruction manual for the individuals of Israel (just the everyday people), and this week's is the manual for the priesthood.

It opens with a command to Moses to explain to Aaron and the priesthood their duties in regard to the Altar and the sacrifices.  Last week's highlighted the various offerings: sin, guilt, meal, and peace offerings. This week's continues discussing them, but this time from the point of view of the priests. Tsav outlines how the priest shall receive them and how they shall actually make the offerings on the altar.  Aaron and his sons are told that they must keep the flame burning continuously.  It was to be an eternal flame, therefore the ashes from the fire had to be tended to properly.  Yes, the fire burns the offerings that are placed upon it, but this fire is symbolic of much, much more.  This flame is symbolic of the burning spirit within each one of us.  This is the light that we must keep alive.  We must always offer sacrifices of prayer and deeds, and tend to the fire that burns within our own soul, so that it is never extinguished.

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