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Tzav
Not Consuming Blood Teaches Us Sensitivity Print E-mail
Friday, 30 March 2012

Parsha Points- Tzav 5772

 

Not Consuming Blood Teaches Us Sensitivity

 

In Parshat Tzav, Vayikra 7:26, we read: “You shall not consume any blood, in any of your dwelling places, whether from foul or from animals.”

 

Why does the pasuk have to say “in any of your dwelling places?” Why doesn’t it just say “you shall not consume blood?”

 

We learn from here that the law of not eating blood applies all over the world, not just in the Land of Israel. This is a personal obligation (hovat haguf) and not an agricultural obligation pertaining to the Land (hovat karka).

 

Rashi comments on Masechet Kidushin 37b that there was a need to mention “in any of your dwelling places” since we may have thought that since the prohibitions of blood and fats are found in the chapter of the korbanot (sacrifices) that the prohibitions apply only in the Land of Israel while the Beit HaMikdash is in existence and sacrifices are being brought. From here we see that no matter where we find ourselves in the world we may not eat the blood.

 

Sefer HaHinuch adds that this law is in effect at all times.

 

This law was not only in effect when the pagans ate the blood while trying to become closer to the spirits (Rambam, Guide for the Perplexed) it is still in effect even when we are not combating idol worship.

 

Ramban feels that the prohibition of blood is primarily to educate us towards respect and consideration for all living beings. Since God endowed the animals with life- and the blood is the life force- it is improper for “the possessor of a soul” to “consume another soul.”

 

If the point of not eating the blood is to teach us sensitivity towards the animals then it would make sense that the law should be in effect at all times and all over the world.

 

 

 
Who is Holier a Reformed Bandit or a Tzadik? Print E-mail
Thursday, 02 April 2009

Parshat Tzav describes the Korban Mincha, The Meal Offering that Aharon’s sons were to bring before God.

 

In Vayikra 6:9-10 we read: “Aharon and his sons shall eat what is left of it (the Korban Mincha); it shall be eaten with Matzah (unleavened) in a holy place (Kadosh), in the courtyard of Ohel Moed (The Tent of Meeting) they shall eat it. It shall not be baked with Chametz (leaven)…it is Kodesh Kodashim, most holy like the Chatat (Sin Offering) and like the Asham (Guilt Offering).

                 

The Kli Yakar teaches that the Sin Offering and the Guilt Offering bring atonement and therefore they are called “Kodesh Kodashim”, “Most Holy”. We learn in Masechet Sanhedrin 95a: Where Ba’alei Tshuvah (penitents) stand, Tzadikim (the righteous) do not stand.

 

Reish Lakish (himself an anomaly among the giants of Torah study, as he was in his early youth a bandit and gladiator and was later regarded as one of the most prominent Amoraim of the second generation) taught in Masechet Yoma 86b: Great is repentance (motivated by love), for because of it willful transgressions are accounted for the penitent as inadvertent errors. This is a step that a complete Tzadik will never reach.

 

The Netziv explains that the Mincha was brought to atone for a deterioration of character. In the Tanach, David suggested that King Saul bring a Korban Mincha, for he was suffering from depression and anger.

 

The Korban Mincha is to be eaten with Matzah and is considered “Kodesh Kodashim”, must be kept separate. If the Matzah becomes leavened, it is ruined and becomes Chametz. So too we must be careful to stay away from behaviors that can jepordise our holiness.

 

Today, we don’t have the Korban Mincha (or any of the Korbanot). However, one must never discount the power of prayer which since the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash has replaced the Korbanot and can help transform the bandits and gladiators into true Ba’alei Tshuva.

 
Birkat HaGomel, The Thanksgiving Prayer Print E-mail
Thursday, 06 April 2006

In Vayikra 7:11-12 we read "This is the law of the zevach shlamim, peace offering that one will bring to God. If he brings it as a thanksgiving offering."

According to Rashi, One brings the offering regarding a matter of thanksgiving for a miraculous act which occurred to him such as if he returned from a sea voyage, crossed the desert, was healed from an illness or emerged from prison.

Although we don't have sacrifices today, The Gemara in Brachot 54b states that these four categories of people must recite a blessing. What blessing should they recite? Rav Yehudah said: "baruch gomel chasadim tovim", "Blessed are you who bestows beneficial kindness". The Rif, Re'ah, Rambam and Rosh record a different text: "baruch hagomel lechayavim tovot shegmalani kol tov", "Blessed are you who bestows good things upon the guilty, who has bestowed every goodness upon me". We are showing our appreciation for God's bestowing kindness even upon the wicked and for bestowing kindness on us even if we are not deserving of it. The latter is the text that we use for Birkat HaGmel today.

The Gemara in Brachot continues: Abaye said: A person must give thanks in the presence of ten (a minyan).

Birkat HaGomel is traditionally said after the reading of the Torah. One reason why is because in order to have a public Torah reading there must be a minyan. Another reason is that we are publicly acknowledging all of the good that God has done for us.

Today, Birkat HaGomel is said after being saved from any dangerous situation, not just from the four categories listed above. The most common situations where Birkat HaGomel is said are after childbirth, after a car accident and after flying in an airplane. Some say that it is not necessary to say Birkat HaGomel after an airline flight because today driving a car is more dangerous than flying in an airplane.

In Israel today, all elementary school students are required to take a class in Road Safety to insure that the next generation will be educated enough to prevent road accidents which have caused more deaths in Israel than all of the wars put together.