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Parshas Tzav

Friday, 23 March, 2018 - 9:58 pm

 The rabbi, arriving in a small town to be guest speaker at a local shul, wanted to mail a letter to his family back home. He stopped a young boy on a bike and asked where the post office was. The boy gave him directions. The rabbithanked him.

“If you come to shul this evening,” the rabbi said, “I’ll tell you how to get to heaven.”

“I don’t think I’ll be there,” the boy said. “You don’t even know your way to the post office.”

The Torah uses three different words to describe the commandments G-d entrusted Moses with transmitting to the Jewish people: dibrot (speak)amirot (say) and tzivuyim (command).

All three categories of mitzvot are G-d’s commandments, but the concept of mitzvah is more strongly emphasized in those that are expressed as tzivuyim, given their obvious etymological connection. The Hebrew word mitzvah has two meanings:

1) commandment, from the root word tzav, meaning a command or order; and

2) tzavta, meaning together.

In truth, the Torah’s mitzvot are both G-d’s commands to the Jewish people, and the means by which Jews effect a bond with Him.

In principle, whenever a word in the Torah has two definitions, both meanings are always interrelated. The word mitzvah is no exception to the rule.

The potential for a finite person to connect themselves to an infinite G-d exists only by virtue of His having commanded us to conduct our lives in certain manner. When Jews accept the yoke of heaven and observe G-d’s mitzvot, they form a connection with the Holy One, Blessed Be He, and are united with Him.

The first Chabad Rebbe, known as the Alter Rebbe, said that a Jew must “live with the times,” meaning, to live with the Torah portion that is read each week. It isn’t enough to study it. One must internalize its message and apply it to his daily life.

Every Torah portion contains a specific lesson for our daily conduct. From week to week our lives change in accordance with the corresponding Torah reading.

This week we are studying the Torah portion of Tzav. The name of the portion teaches that throughout our lives we are obligated to observe G-d’s commandments. For by doing mitzvot we not only fulfill G-d’s command but merit to be close with Him, effecting a deep and eternal bond that lasts forever.

mitzvah is a concrete moment in time that allows one to connect with that which transcends time.

Have a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shraga Sherman 

Based on the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, lchaimweekly.org

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