The weekly Parsha – Parshas Tzav

The Haftora for the Torah portion of Tzav is from Jeremiah. It begins with the prophet’s rebuking the Jewish people for not offering their sacrifices with sincerity, especially the Olah (burnt) sacrifice. As well, they are rebuked for not listening to G-d, or doing what He wants, as if they lost their faith in Him. It ends, telling us not to be self centered, rather, to be focused on understanding G-d and doing what He wants.
The connection to our portion is that Tzav begins with the laws of the Olah, and continues with the laws of other sacrifices. It ends with the seven days that the Priests trained and prepared themselves, before the inauguration of the Sanctuary. During this process, the Torah repeats over and over again, that they did it the way G-d commanded. In other words, the focus was on G-d and what He wanted.
The Haftora says, “So says G-d, ‘The wise one shouldn’t praise his wisdom, and the strong one shouldn’t praise his strength, the wealthy one shouldn’t praise his wealth. Rather, with this he should praise himself, through understanding and knowing Me, that I Am G-d…’ “
The verse comes after earlier verses that talk about being self-centered, and not focusing on G-d. When someone is self- centered and everything is about him, he is in denial of the fact that everything he has is truly from G-d. It is akin to denying G-d’s existence, because he doesn’t leave room for anyone else, not even G-d.
However, “through understanding and knowing” G-d, meaning, when you recognize that what you have is from G-d, then you can be proud, if you have used your gifts well, and the way He wants you to. This is the meaning of the words, “with this he should praise himself,” when he recognizes that it is all from G-d, and he is using his gifts the way G-d wants him to, then he should be proud of his accomplishments. Whether it be wisdom, strength, wealth, or any other gifts bestowed upon him by G-d.
When your children or students are gifted with talents or a status such as beauty, charm, smarts, strength, wealth, etc., it is so important to fill them with love and fear of G-d. They should recognize that these precious gifts are from Him, and that they should use these gifts for what He wants. I have found that the best way to instill this value, is not so much by saying it, but rather by acting that way, by being a living example.
Through being G-d centered, we will definitely make G-d proud, and we will have what to be proud of. It will affect everything we do, bringing positive change to our surroundings, thereby, preparing the world for the coming of Moshiach. May he come soon. Moshiach NOW!!!