> Weekly Torah Portion > Beginner > Parsha Point

Take Out the Garbage

Tzav (Leviticus 6-8 )

by Rabbi Ron Jawary

First discard yesterday's garbage, then tackle the day.

One of the misconceptions people have about Judaism is the Jewish view of guilt. Interestingly, if the guilt motivates us to change and improve, it can play a crucial role in our lives and in our relationship with God. What the Torah does not want is for us to allow the guilt to pull us down or for us to use it as an excuse for not changing.

The Talmud teaches us that we should never view ourselves as "bad". Our self-image should be positive as it is impossible to relate to God if we do not have a sense of self-worth. Interestingly, the first act the priests did at the start of their day in the Temple was to dispose of yesterday's garbage (Lev 6:3). In fact, this was such a popular mitzvah that they actually fought with each other for the privilege. This is because they understood the need to start each day anew with a positive outlook on themselves and their opportunities. So the first action is to discard yesterday's garbage. Only then could they fulfill the role the Almighty had in store for them.

That is one of the reasons a Jew washes his hands first thing in the morning; he should try to wash away the baggage of the day before. We might have excuses for what we are right now, but we should not use those excuses for what we remain. With that realization, we can then say the morning prayer that "the soul given to me by the Almighty is pure".

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