Tetzaveh (5776)

Drash Cards for Tetzaveh (5776)

by Marc Mangel

  • Our entire reading today (the third part of the triennial cycle) was about the details of the sacrifices. What are we supposed to learn from that for our lives today?
  • The Chazal also teach that by reading about the sacrifices it is as if we had done them (today, prayer replaces the sacrifices ). That’s great, but I want something that is less mystical and more practical an answer to ‘what do the sacrifices mean for us today?’
  • To answer that question, we need to go back to somewhat earlier in the parsha. The Talmud teaches that “Even if a person only reads the Shema once in the morning and once at night, he fulfills the Torah injunction ‘This Torah shall not depart from your mouth and you shall study it day and night’”.
  • Commenting on this teaching, R. Mark Levin, Modern Orthodox, quotes the Chiddueshei Harim who makes a comparison with the Cohen Gadol lighting the menorah and ‘having created an eternal flame lit before HaShem’.
  • Even though the Cohen Gadol was not there continuously , his one time act of kindling creates an eternal flame. Chiddushei Harim says that one moment of dedicated effort can affect the outcome of one’s entire day.
  • R. Levin says that if we concentrate on saying the Shema, focusing on its themes, our entire day can be ignited by its inspiration
  • Our Teshuvah goals – now set 5 months ago – should surely involve some kind of sacrifice (money, time, food, uncontrolled emotions)
  • Indeed a Teshuvah goal – whatever it is – that does not involve some kind of sacrifice like making a nickel Tzedaka pledge.
  • This is how the sacrifices become relevant to us today – when we think about what our ancestors gave up when they took an animal to Jerusalem we should become inspired and ignited to work with more dedication to achieving our own Teshuvah goals and their associated sacrifices.