Tzav – A thought for the week by Mike Lewis
When you look for training in your chosen career one of the first things you want to see is the Syllabus. This is the week when the priests are given a taste of their tasks. (The word “taste” would have been very much in the forefront of their minds if we look at the sacrifices spelt out in detail!) All those offerings, all those sacrifices.
Without a temple the sacrificial details have become a memory; replaced with prayer which represents our offerings. But is the prayer for us or is it for God? The Cohanim remain but, although we seem to re-enact some of the sacrificial practices with Tashlich (and, in some circles Kapparot), physical sacrifices are part of our distant history.
The Sons of Aaron are told to stay for seven days within the sanctuary to complete their initiation. Perhaps it was a probation period such as that after graduation or passing your driving test! But, after the excitement of graduating, comes the reality of the long path ahead. It would be natural for some lessening of enthusiasm as time goes by.
But there was also the injunction to keep the fire on the altar burning. Think of this as the initial fire with which we undertook our own destiny when we were young. Each of has the task of thinking of the future and not to let the fire go out. We need to pass it on to the generations to come.