Tzav (Command) Leviticus 6:8-8:36 

1.The first verse of the Torah section begins with the word, Tzav. In English this word means “Command.”  What is interesting is that this word is used rather than some other Hebrew word that would mean to tell or to speak. Why do you think G-d began with such a strong word?

Why did G-d feel He had to use this word here? Was He worried they would forget or do something other than what He had told them? Would G-d have doubted the commitment of Aaron and his sons? After all, they were at the top of the religious hierarchy. 

One thought that carries a hint was that maybe G-d wasn’t worried about the immediate future but as time went on would their attentiveness wane. 

It is one thing to be excited and committed early in our walk with G-d and another to hold on to that zeal as time goes on.  Here in lies our lesson as priests. Consistency. Our lives should show that same consistency, that same hunger as the first days. 

If what we have received from G-d is important we must live like it and carry on doing it until we are gathered together with Him. So like Aaron and his sons we are challenged to not lose our fire but to stay close to G-d no matter what we experience in life.  

2.What do you think was the purpose of sacrifices?  What does korban, the Hebrew word for sacrifice mean? Can we relate these sacrifices to our personal spiritual life?

Korban, our English word for sacrifice, means to come close. So the purpose of sacrificing is to draw close to G-d. Sacrifices were to express our love of the L-rd and His corresponding love for us. 

Sacrifices, portrayed in the scriptures, had a much different purpose than they had in pagan societies that surrounded Israel.  The nations brought sacrifices mainly out of fear of their god. They brought them sometimes as a bribe or to appease their god as if to say, “I did this sin so I am bringing this animal to get by with the thing I have done.” Maybe god would look the other way.

We even see this in the prophets when they chastised Israel. Sacrifices brought for any other reason than to express the person’s love for G-d and their desire to restore that relationship were not received by the L-rd.  We can see that in the verses of our Haftorah reading in Jeremiah 7:21-9:24

We are willing to make sacrifices for the things we love. For Israel as a nation of farmers and shepherds, they looked on their sacrifice as a symbol of their love of the L-rd. They brought the best and first of their crops and the unblemished of their animals. 

To love is to be thankful, to love is to want to bring an offering to the Beloved. To love is to give. This is true in many aspects of our lives. A happily married couple is constantly making sacrifices for each other. Parents make sacrifices for their children. People love their community, country and make sacrifices for them. To love is to sacrifice. 

Sacrifice is the super glue of relationships. It bonds us to one another. In our world today this idea of sacrifice is not at the top of the popularity list. Self-interest has largely replaced the concept of sacrifice. We see this everywhere but surely nowhere as strongly as in marriages. Throughout the western world people are getting married later in life, if at all. Over half of all marriages end in divorce. Children are left to deal with the effects of a broken home. When sacrifice as a principle of society falters, the society eventually falters and fails.

Our faith falters when we lose the concept of sacrifice. We see it throughout scripture in both the Hebrew scriptures and the Messianic writings. Sacrifice is the bedrock of who we are as the grafted in people of G-d and it must also be the bedrock of our personal relationships. In Romans 12:1-2 it says we are to be living sacrifices.

3. When reading this Torah portion you may notice that the peace offering (Lev. 7:15-21) is listed last after the sin offering (Lev. 6:17-23) and the guilt offering (Lev. 7:1-7).  Do you think this order was accidental or has an important message for us?  What does this teach us?

The peace offering is listed after the sin offering and burnt offering. What does this teach us? It is a beautiful picture of G-d’s process for us to draw near to Him. 

First our sin has to be dealt with. We have to confess our sins.  

Next the guilt offering, a person’s guilt was recognized and restitution made for the damages done. 

When we have accomplished these things we can have peace in our relationship with the Prince of Peace. Our lives are to be lived completely dedicated to the Father and dying to self. Then we enjoy the peace that comes from such a life of commitment to G-d. Yeshua was called the Prince of Peace because He provides the way for us to be at peace with G-d. Eph. 6:14-15 speaks about us as priests through Messiah bringing the good news of Peace. “ Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”

4.Compare Vayikra (Leviticus) 6:28 and II Corinthians 4:7-10 to see if you could see any connection between the two and any spiritual implications for us today

Leviticus 6:24-28 The Lord said to Moses,  “Say to Aaron and his sons: ‘These are the regulations for the sin offering: The sin offering is to be slaughtered before the L-rd in the place the burnt offering is slaughtered; it is most holy. The priest who offers it shall eat it; it is to be eaten in the sanctuary area, in the courtyard of the tent of meeting.  Whatever touches any of the flesh will become holy, and if any of the blood is spattered on a garment, you must wash it in the sanctuary area. The clay pot the meat is cooked in must be broken; but if it is cooked in a bronze pot, the pot is to be scoured and rinsed with water

II Corinthians 4:7-10 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from G-d and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Yeshua, so that the life of Yeshua may also be revealed in our body.”

Tzav (Command) (Leviticus) Vayikra 6-8 Haftorah Reading: Jeremiah 7:21-9:2

Here we see we can be compared to earthen vessels (Clay pot) carrying around the treasure of the Messiah in our bodies. We have been made holy by the sacrifice of the Messiah for our sins. 

In the Mishkan the clay pot used to hold the sacrifice was no longer just a clay pot, it was connected to the sin offering.  Paul is saying we are like those pots that absorb and are made holy because of what they contain.

We contain in this earthen vessel the presence of the Messiah which consecrates us forever. We have become holy because of the treasure within us. We are no longer a simple clay pot. We have been touched by the holiness of Messiah. 

G-d gave us this way to rise above being an ordinary clay pot. We may be pressed on every side but we need not break. We have only to grasp what we carry and we can rise above the trials of this world to be what the Father has always wanted us to become.

5.The beginning of this Torah portion tells us about the Burnt offering, in Hebrew it is called the Olah Offering.  What characteristics do you see in this offering? In Leviticus 6:12 it says it was never to be extinguished.  What had to be done to keep this burning continually? What spiritual lesson can we glean from this burnt offering? Do you think Romans 12:1-2 relates to this offering in any way?

Leviticus 6:12 The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it.”

To keep the fire always burning it had to be cared for, paid attention to every day.  It had to be stocked with fresh wood and any useless ashes being taken away.

What can we learn from this? First, to keep the fire of G-d burning in our heart and spirit takes work on our part. We can’t just sit back and expect G-d to do it all for us. Like the priests, we have to keep the fire burning every day. 

We have to continue adding more wood each day – like prayer, reading and taking an active role in bringing the light of G-d to our world.  If not, our inner light will go dim and we will be in danger of not being able to hear our Father’s voice or doing His will. We must make an effort.

What can we learn from the Burnt offering? Again Romans 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Paul asking the Roman believers to take on spiritually this idea about this sacrifice and the continual fire that burned on the altar. This life that we have embarked upon should change us. 

Paul gives us a reason here which I am sure Moses and Aaron would have shared with the people of Israel. G-d had been merciful to them. He had saved them and freed them from bondage as He did us.

So that mercy should motivate us to want to live our lives as a continual sacrifice to  G-d – a continual burnt offering – one completely lived for Him. 

This fire that never went out should also be part of our spiritual lives. Why is fire used so often in scripture? It is an agent of change. It can be good or bad. Sometime we burn with a fire that causes destruction. 

Here we are reminded to burn with that fire which changes us from who we are to a sacrifice that rises as a sweet aroma to G-d. A fire that causes us to look every day, all day, for how we can please the Father.