Weekly Torah Commentary – Tzav March 27, 2015

Vayikra/Leviticus 6 – 8

This week’s Torah reading opens with the description of a rather odd commandment.  The priest is commanded to remove the ashes of the previous day’s sacrifices that have burned all night on the altar and carry them out of the Tabernacle to a designated place outside the camp.

Essentially, the priest is being told to take out the garbage!  This is not ordinary garbage, of course, for these are the remnants of the sacrifices offered to God.

Now we may have expected such work to be done by a custodian, or the equivalent of a minimum wage worker.  Yet we are told that this act was performed by the kohanim, the priests – the most privileged people in the Temple.

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, the leading figure of the 19th century German orthodox community wrote that we should not think the removal of ashes from the altar is simply a preparatory stage for the new day’s Temple worship.  Rather, it is the final conclusion of the previous day’s service.  Yesterday is gone; today is a new opportunity.

He writes: “The thought of what has already been accomplished can be the death of that which is still to be.  Woe unto him, who with smug self-complacency thinks he can rest on his laurels, on what he has already achieved, and who does not meet the task of every fresh day with full devotion as if it were the very first day of his life’s work.”

Life is best lived in balance.  While our current responsibilities are a continuation of previous work, we dare not over-emphasize the past – dwelling on our successes or bemoaning our failures – but we are to greet each new day with fresh energy, vision and devotion. It is a gift of heaven to wake up every morning with a brand new day in front of us filled with opportunities to serve God with all our heart, soul and strength.

Time is a precious gift; the present is what we have – this day, today – to honor the Holy One of Israel by taking what we have learned in the past and apply the lessons that we might be better, kinder and holier today than we were yesterday.

I came across the following which appears on a handful of blogs though no one seems to know the author.  However, these words make the case powerfully.

Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with 86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course!!!!

Each of us has such a bank. Its name is TIME. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds.

Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft.

Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day.

If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the “tomorrow”. You must live in the present on today’s deposits.

Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and success! The clock is running. Make the most of today.

To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade.

To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.

To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.

To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who missed the train.

To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask a person who just avoided an accident.

To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person who won a silver medal in the Olympics.

Treasure every moment that you have! And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time.

And remember that time waits for no one.

Yesterday is history; Tomorrow is mystery;Today is a gift

That’s why it’s called the present!!

In Tune with Torah this week = After eight hours of work and eight hours of sleep, what are you doing with the other eight?  We cannot ‘kill time’ without eternal consequences.

Shabbat shalom!

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