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Parashat Tzav - 5775

My friends,

This Shabbat we read the second portion in the Book of Vayikra, Leviticus, called Tzav. Moses is told to command Aaron and his children as to the details of the various offerings that the people may bring to the Temple.

In addition to the daily, Shabbat or festival offerings that are brought on behalf of the people, individuals can also bring an offering for different reasons. There is a sin-offering, a guilt offering, a peace-offering. Sometimes a person is moved to bring an offering as a sign of thanksgiving to G-d. The Hebrew for such an offering is called "Korban Todah". We are all familiar with the Hebrew word 'Todah' which means thank you. We use it as an acknowledgment of gratitude and appreciation to one who has performed a specific act.

The root of the word Todah in Hebrew also means 'admission'. When one confesses to another, he is in fact conveying a message of agreement with the other party's opposing view. Rabbi Yitzhak Hutner Z"L, explains that these two contrasting approaches to the meaning of "Todah", whether it be as an expression of gratitude or as an act of admission, lies in the depths of man's natural instinct. We all wish to be independent, aspiring to be capable of 'taking care of oneself', without the help of others. Therefore, when one expresses appreciation and gratitude to another person, he/she actually confesses and acknowledges that the help and support of others are indeed needed for us to have a fulfilling life. Bringing a Korban Todah is an expression of gratitude to G-d for whatever act of kindness and at the same time an admission, that without G-d's help we would have nothing.

This is Shabbat Hagadol, the Great Shabbat before Pesah. Let us be grateful for the opportunity to celebrate with our family and friends this wonderful Festival of Freedom, and be grateful to G-d for such an opportunity. It is also an opportunity to thank our family and friends for the pleasure of celebrating together.

Shabbat Shalom,

Avram