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Tzav: What’s in a Ritual?

Mikhal Weiner
4 min readMar 18, 2022

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I’ll be completely honest, this Torah portion is a hard nut to crack. It spans the length of three chapters in the book of Leviticus, and it’s basically all just rules about sacrifices. What goes into a burnt offering? How many cows should one sacrifice to atone for a certain misdeed? All of these (and more) are answered here.

As a parenting blogger, this doesn’t give me a whole lot to work with. Suffice to say that my toddler and I don’t really engage in sacrifices (at least not this kind). Even as a metaphor, it’s kind of weak.

I read through to the end, though, and tried to keep an open mind. I truly believe that the biblical text has something for me every week. This time it’s just a little less obvious.

It wasn’t until I got to the last few verses that I started to get an inkling of what I might write about. In Leviticus 8:2–3, the text takes a quick break from describing how to choose a bull for the altar and brings in a few people we know.

“Take Aaron along with his sons, and the vestments, the anointing oil, the bull of sin offering, the two rams, and the basket of unleavened bread,” God tells Moses, “and assemble the community leadership at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.”

It’s not just a private ritual anymore, an act between the Priests and God. Now it’s a show.

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Mikhal Weiner

Writer • Editor • Musician • Mama • Writing words for @bhg @healthmagazine @parentsmagazine @hey_alma @realsimple @thestartup_ @lilithmagazine