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Tzav 5761

Tzav (Leviticus 6-8 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING!  The story is told that Senator Lieberman ordered the special hand-made round matzot for his Seder. The store-owner and his long-time friend asked him, "Senator, usually you order the usual square machine-made matzot. Why this year are you ordering the hand-made matzot?" Replies Senator Lieberman, "To tell you the truth, I just don't trust machines much anymore!"

That was a "long way around" to suggesting that you purchase the special hand-made round matzot for your Seder. If you think about it, they didn't have boxes of Manischewitz in the desert! They have a special taste and a special texture. You can probably get them at any Kosher Jewish store -- or by calling toll-free 877-758-3242)

One last shot at enhancing your Pesach Seder experience for you, your family and your guests! My colleague and friend, Rabbi Stephen Baars, one of the true creative geniuses in Aish, created the "Freedom Game" so that you can create a lively discussion during the Seder Meal. Just give everyone a copy!

by Rabbi Stephen Baars

Aish HaTorah Washington, DC

Of the following list, who is the most enslaved person and who is the most free?

  1. "Three years ago I was taken by the KGB and put in a labor camp in Siberia, I am told when to get up, when to go to bed and everything between."

  2. "I was ship-wrecked on a desert island. I can do anything I want, but there's nothing to do here."

  3. "I'm a heavy heroin addict. I live my days just to get the next high. Luckily I inherited a large fortune that allows me to support my habit."

  4. "I worked hard all my life to become rich. At the height, I was worth around $25 million. Then came the crash. The bank took everything - my business, my house, even my car. I now work 9-to-5 in a sweatshop, struggling to make ends meet. When I had money, I used to take exotic vacations and dine in the finest restaurants. Life was fun. Now I'm lucky if I can afford takeout."

  5. "In the country I live in, cigarettes are banned. I used to smoke two packs a day. Now I can't get them and I'm very depressed."

  6. "I used to be a top college athlete and was headed for a pro career. Then last year I dove into a pool that was too shallow and broke my neck. I'm now completely paralyzed from my chin down. All I think about all day long is what I used to be able to do."

  7. "Last year I tried to commit suicide but a policeman caught me just before I jumped. I was institutionalized. There's no possibility here for me to do what I really want to do - kill myself."

And when the people at your Seder turn to you after discussing the Freedom Game and ask, "So, nu, what's the answer?" what are you going to tell them? Here are a few thoughts:

Like all good discussions, we start with a definition. "Free"
means not having outside control over your actions, thoughts,
behavior. There are different levels of freedom:

  1. The freedom over physical actions -- where you go, what you do.

  2. The freedom over what you think about.

  3. The freedom to make moral decisions. Deciding whether you are going to have chocolate or vanilla ice cream is not on the same level as deciding whether or not to return a lost wallet.

Perhaps the question of who is the free-est depends on which "playing board" the person is on. Moral decisions are a lot more difficult to make than physical ones. With physical decisions where one is enslaved, there is no choice because of physical restraint. With moral decisions, the "outside force" is one's desires and ability to rationalize.

Pirke Avot, Ethics of Our Fathers (6 chapters of succinct wisdom found in the back of most siddurim, prayer books) asks, "Who is the mighty person?" and answers, "He who conquers his passions." The free-est person is the one who controls his passions, his desires to make moral decisions.

Portion of the Week


This week's Torah portion includes the laws of: the Burnt Offering, Meal Offering, High Priest's Offering, Sin Offerings, Guilt Offerings and Peace Offerings. It concludes with the portions of the Peace Offerings which are allotted to the Priests and the installation ceremony of the Priest for serving in the Sanctuary.


Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states, "This is the offering of Aharon and of his sons, which they shall offer to G-d on the day when he is anointed..." (Leviticus 6:13). Why does the Torah specify the words "on the day when he is anointed" rather than "on the day of anointment"?

The Talmud (Yerushalmi Yoma 1:1) comments on this verse that we learn that only one High Priest is anointed at a time, not two. (An additional High Priest was anointed to lead the army into battle.) The Talmud cites Rabbi Yochanan who explains that this is to prevent animosity.

The essence of the High Priest is the attribute of peace. Aharon, the first High Priest, was renowned as a lover and pursuer of peace. The High Priest must unite the entire nation. If there would be animosity in this high position, it would be a distortion and mockery of the concept of the High Priest. Therefore, nothing may be done to create such animosity. And likewise, so should we strive!

(or go to

Jerusalem  5:24
Guatemala 5:57  Hong Kong 6:21  Honolulu 6:30
J'Burg 5:42  London 6:24  Los Angeles 7:00
Melbourne 5:49  Miami 7:22  Moscow 6:58

New York 7:08  Singapore  6:53


It is easier to get older ...
than it is to get wiser.

Dedicated by...

A Zeesin (Sweet) Pesach to All!
Shabbat Shalom,
The Feldman's
Miki, Sam, Len, Ravit, Mitch
and ...
Sholom Jordan - age 21 months


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