Tzav: A Summary of the Parashah

God tells Moses to describe the rituals for some of the offerings to the priests; the priests then undergo the process of ordination.

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The following article is reprinted with permission from Jewish Family & Life!

God spoke to Moses, saying: Command Aaron and his sons to do the following rituals.

This is the ritual of the burnt offering. The burnt offering shall remain burning upon the altar all night until morning. Every morning the priest shall feed wood to it, lay out the burnt offering on it and turn the fat into smoke. A perpetual fire shall be kept burning on the altar for the fire is not to go out.

The ritual of the homage offering is out of respect to God. A handful of choice flour, oil and incense shall be mixed and a token portion shall be turned into smoke on the altar as a pleasing odor to the Lord. What is left of it shall be eaten by Aaron and his sons as unleavened cakes in the sacred space of the Tent of Meeting. It shall not be baked with leaven.

parashat tzavThe offering of anointment is to give everlasting tribute to God. Like the homage offering, take some choice flour, but this time prepare it with oil in a pan. It shall go entirely up in smoke. It must be burned in its entirety. It must not be eaten.

The sin offering which clears one who sins is a holy of holies. The place where the ascent offering is slaughtered for God shall also be the place where the sin offering is slaughtered. The priest, who offers this sin offering, shall eat it in the sacred enclosure of the Tent of Appointed Meeting.

A Holy of Holies

The ritual of the guilt offering is a holy of holies. The guilt offering shall be slaughtered at the same spot as the burnt offering. Its blood shall be dashed on all sides of the altar and its fat shall be turned by the priests into smoke as an offering by fire to the Lord. Every male among the priests shall eat of it.

A ritual sacrifice of well-being may be offered to the Lord. There are rules for whether or not you may eat it and exactly how it is to be prepared. If it is offered for thanksgiving, it shall be an offering with unleavened bread, along with loaves of leavened bread.

Meat that touches anything unclean shall not be eaten. It shall be consumed in fire. You shall not eat fat of ox or sheep or goat. Fat from animals that died or were torn by beasts may be put to any use except as food. You must not eat it. You must not eat any blood, of either fowl or animal, in any of your settlements.

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Tell the Israelite people that offerings must be presented by one’s own hands. These offerings are to be given to anointed priests who will enact these offerings by fire.

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Nancy Reuben Greenfield

Nancy Reuben Greenfield has written three adaptations of the Torah, including an
interactive family version at, and an engaging
Jewish immigrant novel, The Golden Medina, available on itunes and Amazon.