Address: 91 Leinster St, Saint John, NB E2L 1J2

(506) 657-4790

D’var Torah Tzav

Parashat Tzav—Parshat Parah

March 30, 2024 | 20 Adar II 5784

Torah: Leviticus 6:1–8:36 Triennial: Leviticus 7:11–38

Maftir: Numbers 19:1–22 Haftarah: Ezekiel 36:16–38

We believe that in times of great strife, words of Torah can provide stability and comfort in our lives.

We know that you join us in praying for the safety of our soldiers and citizens, and that together we mourn the terrible losses already suffered.

We stand together for a strong and secure Israel.

Shabbat Shalom:

When man attempts to bring form to spirituality it loses something.

Here is a wish for a special long weekend with family and friends and this week’s D’var Torah:

From Victory to Freedom
Bex Stern-Rosenblatt

Time keeps moving. We’re on the way from Purim to Pesach. We’re coming from a brief victory, a time in which we averted the total destruction of our nation. We’re coming from the wild and the carnivalesque. We’re coming from staring death in the face and choosing to eat and to drink, to live somehow, anyhow. Purim felt right this year. Purim felt desperate this year. Purim felt like an acknowledgement of the fragility of our existence and the absurdity and necessity of turning sorrow into joy.

Pesach feels impossible. How can we possibly prepare to celebrate freedom now? Pharaoh had offered Moses and Aaron various deals, allowing them to venture out of Egypt with just portions of the Israelite nation. Moses and Aaron refused to leave at all until they could leave with everyone. Until they could bring everyone home. Pesach is a celebration of our peoplehood, of God needing each and every one of us, the entire people of Israel, to go out of Egypt to meet God. Exodus tells the story of the men and the women, the babies and the elders. How can Pesach happen without all of us there?

The worst moments of the Pesach story have become the stop motion animation of our lives. We are still stuck in slavery. Our boys are taken. Those who would kill us are still pursuing us and we are still watching them drown in the sea. How can we think of a land flowing with milk and honey when our vision is still dominated by the Nile turned to blood?

The generation of the Exodus will die in the desert. They will never remove the blood from their eyes and the dust of a foreign land from between their teeth. They, too, cannot imagine a land of milk and honey. Their consciousnesses are caged, able to imagine only the horrors they have seen. Of course in the story of the spies we see only the danger of the land. We are still reliving Egypt.

Yet here we are in Parashat Tzav, consecrating and clothing a Kohen. That Kohen, Aaron, will strip off his consecrated clothes and die without entering the land. Here we are learning the laws of sacrifice that will also be applicable in a land we cannot imagine. Just next week, we will mess up those laws so badly that it is humans who will die rather than animals.

Nonetheless, we learn the laws. We wear the clothes. We pretend to be human. Our eyes may be finished by tears, but the only way out is forward. God chooses to give these laws, with this level of detail to a totally broken generation. And the Torah knows how hard it is for us. When we operate on autopilot it is easy to zone out, to miss instructions. So we have repetition. Last week,  these rules were given to us. Now, they are repeated for the perspective of the priests.

Today, from our own perspective, the repetition gives us another opportunity to focus, to tune in. The repetition calls us towards redemption. It invites us to imagine that we will get to a land of milk and honey. We are given another chance, another opportunity to raise our heads from our sorrow. Because time keeps moving. Pesach is coming. And we need to believe that by then we will all be free.


Contact info

Address: 91 Leinster St,
Saint John, NB, E2L 1J2
Phone: (506) 657-4790
Mailing Address:P.O. BOX 2041
Saint John, NB,  E2L 3T5

Gathering Times

6:00pm - 7:00pm