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Shabbat Parashat Tzav 5777

Parashat Hashavua: Three Introductions to the Festival of Geula

Harav Shaul Yisraeli based on Shirat Hageula, pp. 3-4

We have three introductions to the chag of Pesach. Parashat Parah, Parashat Hachodesh and Shabbat Hagadol.


Parashat Para – it is about tahara (spiritual purity). If our Sages said that a person has to spiritually cleanse himself for the festival (Rosh Hashana 15b), regarding the festival of Pesach this has special importance due to the Korban Pesach. The first message the Torah is telling us is that the geula (liberation) will take place when we have spiritual cleanliness.

If we were to see freedom and independence as a goal unto themselves, and even as an expression of our national identity, this entire parasha would be redundant. However we are building and want to build further a life based on something, founded on a certain model, with a godly vision and goal. Here we need to constantly assess our actions and strive for tahara.


Parashat Hachodesh – the Jewish people base their calendar on the moon, which has built within its essence, the aspect of rejuvenation, specifically at its lowest and darkest point.


Shabbat Hagadol- Shabbat has two main themes. Commemorating the creation of the world, and commemorating Yetziat Mitzrayim (the Exodus). These two commemorations are represented by “zachor” and “shamor”. Zachor remembers the creation of the world and shamor commemorates the exodus. The “shamor” aspect creates a social obligation and is the basis for a just and moral society. However it draws its strength from zachor, of Hashem being the creator of the world. Similarly the zachor aspect, which shows all mankind as being creations of Hashem, gives new meaning to “for you were a slave in Egypt”.

All of these “introductions” come to show us the true essence of what Jewish nationalism is all about, as expressed in the Festival of Freedom. It is to create the godly mission as the guiding factor within our national life, be it on a political or social level.

It obligates us to have a clear plan, which every so often needs to be reassessed to evaluate whether we are achieving these goals. For this we need to “purify ourselves” every festival.

It obligates us to lead our lives adapting to the conditions of the time while guarding the inner content even though there might be external changes, based on the needs of the generation. This is Parashat Hachodesh.


 “G-d, in His whirlwind and storm, is His way –in His whirlwind refers to Moshe, and in His storm refers to Eliyahu” (Devarim Raba 3).

Moshe Rabbeinu and Eliyahu Hanavi show us the way of the Israeli nation. In the haftara, we read “Remember the Torah of Moshe”…and at the end “I will bring you Eliyahu Hanavi”.We know where we are and yet we also know towards where we are moving. We have an end goal by which we plan out our journey. When looking at where we are, it helps to remember that we have been travelling on a long journey, and if we feel a sense of despair, we can draw strength from the fact that we have been through travails before. We can also draw strength from seeing the future goal, by not acquiescing to temporary solutions by “selling our birthright for a bowl of legumes,” for we know what we are striving for and where we are ultimately going.

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