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  • Ethan Kohananoo

Dvar Torah- Parshat Tzav

In this week's Parsha, Parasha Tzav, we learn an interesting commandment. As the Torah states, “The fire on the altar must be continuously burning, and you shall not extinguish the fire.” What is the Torah trying to teach us with this commandment? What is its importance? Furthermore, why couldn't the Torah just have said “Leave the fire on”; why does the Torah have to reiterate and add, “don't take out the fire”?

The answer can be explained with the following idea:

This commandment teaches us the importance of Avodat Hashem. There are two aspects to our service of Hashem. There is the aspect of a person actively growing in their Avodat HaShem, and there is the aspect of maintaining the service, making sure a person does not fall. Both of these factors are so vital and important because if a person focuses on only one of these aspects, they will never get anywhere. If a person focuses only on “don’t let the fire go out”, he won't be focusing on growing. The person will simply plateau. On the other hand, if a person only focuses solely on growth, on "lighting the fire," and ignores the progress he's already made, then they will ultimately lose that progress. Rather, a person must have the mindset to keep growing, while also preventing himself from falling down.

We can relate to this concept by picturing it in the context of a basketball game. There might be a player who is only good at offense, and there might be a player who is only good at defense. However, a truly skilled "star player" can excel at both offense and defense. A basketball player that can score with ease, and is also hard to beat on the defensive end, is ultimately going to be the best player on the court. In a sense, that is precisely what the Torah is saying in this week's parsha. If a person can continue to level up his spirituality, and at the same time, prevent his own downfall, that person will be a star in the eyes of Hashem.

Shabbat Shalom!

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