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Tzav 5767

Tzav (Leviticus 6-8 )

by Kalman Packouz

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GOOD MORNING! There's a very cute one minute movie from Aish, "Mr. VIP", which cleverly conveys the meaning of Pesach. You can see it at .

___A couple of years ago, after Pesach, I received a note from a young lady. She attended what she called a "Hurry up with the Haggadah and can't we eat already" Seder. The host was cynical and derisive and she was depressed. During the meal she gathered her courage and pulled out her copy of the Shabbat Shalom Fax and read the piece reproduced below. She wrote, "Rabbi, the whole tone of the evening changed. After I finished there was a stunned silence and then burst forth a tremendous discussion on the nature of Freedom and what the Torah says about it." Perhaps you'll consider reading the following piece at your Seder! I love this story!


___The year is 1978 and the man's name is Yosef Mendelovich. The setting: a dank cell, deep within the bowels of the Christopol prison the Soviet Union.

___The date is April 12. On the Jewish calendar it is the 14th of Nissan, one day before the start of Passover.

___Yosef is a prisoner. He is a gaunt human shell, and he is about to light a candle. Made of hoarded bits of string, pitiful droplets of oil, and stray slivers of wax, this is a candle fashioned by Yosef's own hands. The candle is lit - the search for chametz begins.

___Sometime earlier Yosef had complained of back problems. The infirmary in hell provided him with mustard to serve as a therapeutic plaster. Unused then, this mustard would later reappear as maror - bitter herbs - at Yosef's seder table. A long-saved onion bulb in water has produced a humble bit of greenery. This would be his karpas. And the wine? Raisins were left to soak in an old jelly jar, water occasionally added, and fermentation was prayed for. This was wine. The Haggadah which Yosef transcribed into a small notebook before being imprisoned had now been set to memory. The original was secretly passed on to another "dangerous" enemy of the State: Anatoly Sharansky.

___Is Yosef free? He cannot do whatever he wants. He has been denied even the liberty to know when the sun shines and the stars twinkle. For Yosef the world of free men doesn't even begin to exist.

___Yet, Yosef, perhaps, is more free even than his captors. Clearly self-aware, he knows exactly who he is, what he wants, and is prepared to pay any price to have it. Today he walks the streets of Israel, studies Torah, and buys box after box of matzah to serve at his Seder. He is a free man now, just as he was even behind those lifeless prison walls.

___Self-awareness means that we are able to stand outside of ourselves; to look within and assess our goals, values, priorities, direction and truthfulness. Unaware of these things, we remain mired in a dense fog of confusion and doubt. Can we ever be fully self-aware? Probably not. But aware enough to set ourselves free? Yes, and this is one of life's most pivotal challenges.

___Achievement and maintenance of freedom is available only through the ongoing struggle for self-awareness. This process of clarification, coupled with the conviction to follow wherever it may lead, is the only way to achieve a spiritually sensitive, value-driven life of liberty. Ironically, this freedom can land you in a prison where you are the captor, while your guards are the prisoners. Just ask Yosef Mendelovich - one of the freest people who ever walked the earth.

___-- from the Passover Survival Kit by Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf


(1) A Jewish man was waiting in line to be knighted by the Queen of England. He was supposed to kneel and recite a sentence in Latin. Comes his turn, he kneels, the Queen taps him on the shoulders with the sword ... and in the panic of excitement he forgets the Latin line. Thinking quickly, he recites the only other line he knows in a foreign language which he remembers from the Passover Seder: "Mah nishtana ha-lailah ha-zeh mi-kol ha-leilot." The puzzled Queen turns to her adviser and asks, "Why is this knight different from all other knights?"

(2) The supply of ch'rain (horseradish used by many for bitter herbs at the Pesach Seder) being off-loaded at the Madrid airport was stopped by a freight handlers strike. It seems that the ch'rain in Spain stayed mainly on the plane...

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Torah 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:

"Speak to Aharon and to his sons saying, 'This is the law of the sin-offering. At the place where you slaughter the elevation-offering you shall slaughter the sin-offering.'" (Leviticus

___Why were they commanded to slaughter the sin offering in the same place as the elevation-offering?

___The Talmud Yerushalmi (Yevamos 8:3) explains the reason - to save those who had sinned from embarrassment. When people saw the animal being slaughtered they would not know that it was a sin offering; they would judge favorably - or have the opportunity to judge favorably - and assume that the person was bringing up a elevation-offering (which may be brought up for the sole purpose of raising one's spiritual level).

___From here we see the principle of not causing others shame or discomfort when they have done something improper in the past and now regret it. Never remind anyone of past misdeeds. Always do whatever you can to protect people from embarrassment.

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In Honor of
Mr. Robert Markman
Edina, MN

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