Parshat Tzav

(Leviticus: 6:1-8:36)    

(Shabbat Hagadol)

(Haftara: Malachi 3:4-24)

  1. 1. [Haftara Malachi 3:5] “…against those that oppress the worker with his pay, the widow and the orphan..” Why does the haftara deal with social injustice on the Shabbat before Pesach? Why is this a suitable theme for Pesach?
  1. [12:11] At the Passover meal in Egypt, one sat at the table in a state of “chipazon”—staff in hand, dressed, alert and ready to leave Egypt. What do alertness and energy have to do with the themes of Passover?
  1. 3. [Pesach] The festival of Passover is called “Pesach” in Hebrew because God “passed over” the homes of the Israelites when the first-born of the Egyptians was killed (Shmot 12:13). This seems like a small detail in the redemption. Why is the festival named after this detail?
  1. In the first passage in the Haggadah (after Kiddush)—”Ha lachmah anyah (this is the poor-man’s bread…)”, we start by opening our homes and inviting people to join us. What does the fact that the Haggadah starts this way tell us about being free people and about Judaism?
  1. In the same passage—”Ha lachma anyah”, we say, “Now we are here, next year, we will be in the land of Israel”. But at the end of the Haggaddah, (before the extra songs), we end by saying “Next year in Jerusalem”. Why did the editor of the Haggadah change the language from “the land of Israel” to “Jerusalem”?


Not knowing where to go, I go to you. Not knowing where to turn, I turn to you. Not knowing how to speak, I speak to you. Not knowing what to hold, I bind myself to you. Having lost my way, I make my way to you. Having soiled my heart, I lift my heart to you…Blessed are you whose presence illuminates outrageous evil…Blessed are you, who waits in the world. Blessed are you whose name is in the world.

–Leonard Cohen, Book of Mercy, born 1934, Canada, USA.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Eli ben David and Kochava Zucker

And to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer

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