Parashat Tzav introduces us to a new type of sacrifice. The Korban Todah the thanksgiving offering. An offering brought when one has survived a life-threating situation. Is that the only time we should be thankful? Let’s discuss Parashat Tzav.
Parashat Tzav Summary
- The removal of the ashes
- The meal offering
- The sin offering
- Guilt Offering
- Thank You Offering
- Consecration of the Kohanim
Parashat Tzav continues the manual of how to use the Mishkan. The Torah lists what the kohanim are to do when the different sacrifices are brought.
One of the sacrifices brought is the Korban Toda the thanksgiving offering. This offering was offered if a person had survived one of 4 difficult situations; traveled overseas, crossed a desert, recovered from an illness or was released from prison.
4 Dangerous Situations
All four situations require the person to travel to the Temple and offer a thanksgiving sacrifice. This sacrifice had a number of laws attached to it that are fascinating.
First of all the sacrifice had to be consumed that day, unlike other sacrifices which could be eaten over a couple of days. Secondly, the sacrifice demanded that 40 loaves of bread be brought with it. This made it impossible to finish all this food by oneself. A person was therefore required to share the good news that he had experienced with friends and family.
What an amazing idea to share one’s good fortune with others. This law is the source of a special blessing known as Hagomel. This blessing is recited in shul for one who has returned from an overseas trip, recovered from severe illness or survived a dangerous encounter eg a car accident or childbirth or any similar event. Many today will invite friends and family to celebrate at a kiddush or special meal.
We may not have the Temple anymore, but that does not mean that the opportunities to connect with Hashem are less. Every day there are opportunities to connect.
The art of giving thanks is one that we need to work on. Too often we do not appreciate the gifts that we are granted. It is only after we have lost the ability that we appreciate the gift that we had. We then feel sad for the loss. But what about being thankful for the gifts we have?
Judaism offers us an amazing tool to train ourselves in the art of thanksgiving. The morning blessings.
The Morning Blessings- A Training Manual
From the moment we open our eyes we say the blessing of Modeh Ani– I thank you Hashem for giving me my life. For granting me the gift of this day. Each day is a blessing. Each day is unique and I am thankful that I am alive to experience to enjoy what this day offers. I then recite the morning blessings.
The Talmud states that for every action that I do when I wake up is its own blessing. I open my eyes and can see – say thank you. I can sit up. Say a blessing. I can move my hands. Another blessing. I can stand, another blessing. I can walk, another blessing.
For each step, for each breath, Judaism teaches; say a blessing.
Too often we only thank Hashem after a crisis. After an accident or illness. Then we are quick to give thanks. But every day? Without the morning blessings would we even think of saying thank you?
What About Thanking Those Around You?
The 100 blessings
By extension, the same rule applies to how we treat people. We thank people who have helped us. We may thank the waiter for the meal or the doctor and nurse for their care. But when was the last time we thanked our spouse? Our parents or our kids for something that they did? Or did we just take them for granted?
The daily prayer services primarily connect me to Hashem. However, even more, we are meant to take the messages that we have absorbed in the service and act on them in the street. We thank Hashem for everything. Surely we can do the same with those around us too?
We are told to make 100 blessings a day. Imagine what the world would look like if we try to say 100 thank yous in a day?
Parshat Tzav teaches us about the Korban Todah. Giving thanks is not only for the big events it is for everyday events too. For we have so much to be thankful for. Sometimes we just need a little perspective to appreciate them.