Tzav: How To Save On The Dedication Sacrifices Of The 3rd Mikdash




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    Tzav: How To Save On The Dedication Sacrifices Of The 3rd Mikdash

    From the desk of Rabbi Nissim Lagziel, Mashpia in Oholei Torah: Parshas Tzav is mostly about the Seven Days of Consecration (“Milu’im”), the days of preparation and dedication of the Mishkan, which began (according to most views) on 23 Adar and continued until Rosh Chodesh Nissan, the eighth day of consecration. Starting from revii (the fourth aliya) of the parsha, until the conclusion, the Torah describes all the preparation needed for the Shechina to dwell in the Mishkan • Full Article


    What is the common denominator between doing reserve duty in the IDF and the Exile of the Shechina?

    Both are long, hard, and nobody wants it.


    Parshas Tzav is mostly about the Seven Days of Consecration (“Milu’im”), the days of preparation and dedication of the Mishkan, which began (according to most views) on 23 Adar and continued until Rosh Chodesh Nissan, the eighth day of consecration. Starting from revii (the fourth aliya) of the parsha, until the conclusion, the Torah describes all the preparation needed for the Shechina to dwell in the Mishkan.

    Moshe’s avoda, Aharon and his sons being brought to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and their remaining there for seven days, along with the many korbanos brought on each day, etc. In the following parsha, Shemini, the Torah tells us what happened on the eighth, blessed day when the Shechina descended to reside in the Mishkan.

    These things fit beautifully with a quite mysterious topic connected to the coming of Moshiach and the Geula. At the end of Yechezkel, starting from chapter 43 and on, there is a long complicated prophecy about the dedication of the third Beis HaMikdash in the era of the Geula. Through nine, long chapters, the prophet delineates what will happen, who will sacrifice what and when, how and why. Details from these chapters are murky and there is a dispute about them among the commentators. We will try to touch on briefly what are the similarities and differences between the days of consecration in parshas Tzav and the dedication of the altar and Mikdash in Yechezkel.

    The korban that heads the list of consecration korbanos in our parsha is the par ha’chatas (bull for a sin-offering) on which Aharon and his sons lean their hands, its innards are burned on the altar, while the rest of its meat is burned outside the camp. Similarly, we find in Yechezkel (43:19), “And you shall give it to the priests… a young bull for a sin-offering. Here is where the difference ensues. While, during the days of consecration, the same korbanos were brought every day, i.e. a bull for a sin-offering, at the dedication of third Mikdash, the first day will be different than the other days, (ibid 22), “And on the second day you shall offer a he-goat without blemish for a sin offering, and they shall purify the altar as they purified it with the bull.” That means, on the other six days of dedicating the altar, we will sacrifice a he-goat for a sin-offering instead of a bull.

    Furthermore, in our parsha it says that Moshe commanded to bring two rams every day, one for an olah and one for a shelamim. In the dedication of the third Mikdash, the prophet says that instead of two rams we will sacrifice a bull and ram and both will be korbanos olah.

    When will all this happen? The prophet says, two chapters later, in the middle of chapter 45 (18), “In the first month, on the first of the month, you shall take a young bull without blemish, and you shall purify the sanctuary,” I.e. Rosh Chodesh Nissan! That means that aside from the differences in the actual korbanos, there is a difference between the date when the future dedication of the Mikdash will take place. According to most commentators, the days of consecration began on 23 Adar and finished on 1 Nissan. The dedication of the third Mikdash will start on Rosh Chodesh Nissan and continue until 7 Nissan.

    The list of differences and changes doesn’t end with that. At the end of parshas Naso, we will read of the korbanos that the Nesiim brought during the days of consecration. We are familiar with these korbanos since we are reading them these days, each Nasi’s korban on that day, every year, when Nissan begins, until the 13th.

    Following chapter 45 in Yechezkel, the prophet tells of a “korban haNasi,” which Moshiach will bring. Here we find drastic changes that even the Sages of the Gemara struggled to comprehend.

    “In the first, on the fourteenth day of the month [i.e. Erev Pesach]… and the prince shall make on that day for himself and for all the people of Israel a bull for a sin-offering. On the seven days of the Festival he shall make a burnt-offering to the Lord, seven bulls and seven rams without blemish daily for seven days, and a sin offering, a he-goat daily. And a meal-offering, he shall make an eifah for a bull and an eifah for a ram, and for each eifah one hin of oil. In the seventh [month] on the fifteenth day of the month on the Festival [i.e. the first day of Sukkos], he shall do the same for seven days, a similar sin offering, a similar burnt-offering, a similar meal-offering and similar oil.”

    A bull as a sin-offering on erev Pesach, a bull and ram all seven days of Pesach, together with a meal-offering and oil – where do we find these korbanos? Why is a sin-offering needed on erev Pesach? And in general, where do we find in the Torah such huge amounts of offering of flour and oil? This is double and triple (more or less) for each animal… Where does this come from?


    This was a huge mystery already in the time of the Gemara. In Shabbos (13b) it says, “Remember this man positively, and Chanania ben Chizkiya is his name. For if not for his efforts the book of Yechezkel would have been hidden away as its words contradict the words of Torah. What did he do? He took up three hundred bottles of oil to his attic and he sat there until he expounded [in a way that resolved the contradictions].”

    However, his explanations were never passed on to us. Even the Amora, Rabbi Yochanan, one of the great Amoraim in Eretz Yisrael said about this prophecy in Yechezkel (Menachos 45a), “This passage is indeed difficult, and in the future Eliyahu the prophet will interpret it.” Or, as Rashi says there, “Until Eliyahu comes and explains it to us, we do not know how to expound it.”

    The Rambam brings these surprising things l’halacha and he paskens (Maaseh HaKorbanos 2:14-15), “All of the measures of the accompanying offerings mentioned in the Book of Yechezkel, the listing of the sacrifices, and the order of service written there are all inauguration offerings and will not be practiced in generations to follow. Instead, the prophet commanded and outlined how the inauguration offerings will be brought at the time of the dedication of the altar at the time of the coming of the King Moshiach when the Third Temple will be built.

    “Just as the Nesiim offered sacrifices at the dedication of the altar [of the Sanctuary in the desert], bringing offerings that were not brought in coming generations, and they brought them on the Sabbath, so too, will the Nasi bring a dedication offering on the Sabbath in the Ultimate Future, as stated explicitly there…”

    As always, the Rebbe has something new to say on the subject. In a brief footnote to a “general letter” for Pesach 5741, the Rebbe explains that what is written in Yechezkel is not explicit or explained. As we saw earlier, that even the Sages of the Gemara did not arrive at a clear understanding of these korbanos. If the prophet wants to teach us something, why do it in such an obscure way? Why not speak clearly, plainly, and to the point?

    In this, lies the lesson for us. These korbanos are not clear because they depend, first and foremost, on the spiritual state of the Jewish people. “It depends on whether zachu (being on the level of zachu – meritorious) or lo zachu (not meritorious).” It is very possible that if the Jewish people will be on a proper spiritual level, we won’t have to bring some (or all) of the korbanos! Perhaps we will be spared a sin-offering or two!

    The Rebbe quotes the Rambam at the end of his sefer, “man will not know how it will be until it happens, for they are sealed matters,” i.e. these korbanos depend on us! We may not necessarily have to bring the sin-offering assigned to (Yechezkel 45:20) a “man who erred and the simple-minded.” Not necessarily, on erev Pesach, will Moshiach have to bring a sin-offering to atone for us and the Mikdash. It is very likely that with sufficient teshuva, tefilla and tzedaka, we can spare ourselves the headache.

    In other words, based on the Rebbe’s approach and explanation on another occasion (Pikudei 5741), there is a practical directive from the subject of the “milu’im.” Just as the korbanos of the milu’im (and the korbanos of the dedication of the Mikdash in the future) are special korbanos that are an addition to the regular korbanos, likewise we will be expected to add in Torah and mitzvos.

    Just as in the days of the milu’im it was impossible to suffice with the usual, daily korbanos like the korban tamid, and not even just adding the musafim, so too, in order to bring the Geula, we cannot suffice with fulfilling Torah and doing mitzvos in the usual way. We need to demand much more of ourselves. This is how we will bring about the days of dedication of the third Mikdash! Who knows, perhaps as a result of our addition in Torah and mitzvos to bring the Geula, we will be able to save on a korban or two for the Nasi as well.


    We will end with a story about how an addition in Torah and mitzvos can replace korbanos.

    Rabbi Moshe Chagiz (d. 1750), in his Mishnas Ha’Chaim, writes that he heard this story from reliable people in Tzfas who were present when it happened.

    In the mid-16th century, one of the anusim from Portugal moved to Tzfas. He heard a talk by the rabbi of the shul he went to about the lechem hapanim that was placed on the table in the Beis HaMikdash. The rabbi bemoaned the fact that, because of our sins, we no longer do this service.

    The Jew took these words to heart. When he arrived home, he asked his wife to prepare twelve special challahs on Friday. He related to her all the details he remembered from the lecture. She should sift the flour thirteen times, knead it while she was in a state of ritual purity, and bake the dough very well in their oven. He told her that he wished to present these loaves as an offering to Hashem.

    Early Friday afternoon, when no one was likely to be in the shul, the man brought the loaves there and placed them in the aron kodesh.. He prayed and cried that Gd accept his offering with favor.

    The shamash (caretaker) of the synagogue arrived later that day to complete preparing the shul for the holy Shabbos. One of his duties was to check that the Sefer Torah was ready for the reading the next morning. When he opened the aron, he was surprised to discover twelve fragrant loaves! He didn’t know where they came from and decided to take them home.

    That evening, when everyone had left the shul, the Jew approached aron and opened it. The loaves were not there! He was so happy. He hurried home to tell his wife that Hashem had accepted the challos!

    They decided to continue and every Friday morning, his wife would bake the challos and he would bring them to shul Friday afternoon. Every Friday, the shamash would happily take the challos home. This went on for some time.

    One Friday, the rabbi of the synagogue stayed much later than usual. He noticed one of his congregants enter, carrying twelve loaves of bread, walk over to the aron, and put them inside.

    At first, the Rav was quiet, but when he began to realize what was going on, he burst out, “Stop! You fool! You think that G-d is the one who is taking your pathetic offering? It must be the shamash who is eating it!”

    The shamash walked in just then, took the challos as usual, and was surprised to see the Rav and another man standing there. The Rav said to him, “Say the truth! Have you been taking challos from the aron every Friday?” The shamash admitted that he did and the simple man burst into tears.

    Not long after, a student of the holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchok Luria, arrived. He told the Rav that he had been sent by the Ari who said the Rav should go home and take leave of his family because in heaven it was decreed that at the time he should be saying a sermon in shul the next day, he would have already passed on.

    The rabbi couldn’t believe what he had just heard and he went directly to the Ari who said, “Since the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash, the Creator had no pleasure as great as from the offering of this simple Jew. Therefore, death was decreed for you when you yelled at him and stopped him from doing what he did. It’s a heavenly decree and cannot be changed.”

    To end on a good note –

    Good Shabbos!


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    Tzav: How To Save On The Dedication Sacrifices Of The 3rd Mikdash