Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Tzav – Leviticus 6:1-8:36
You have probably heard me say before that you can control only two things: what you say and what you do. To have solid relationships you must keep your words and actions in check. But in your relationship with G-d, Parshas Tzav has a different perspective:
“The Kohen who performs the sin offering service will eat it . . .” (Vayikra/Leviticus 6:19).
This Sabbath’s parsha continues the discussion of the korbanos, the offerings brought in the Temple, and details the anointing of Aaron and his sons as the Kohanim or Priests who will serve in the Temple.
Would you agree with me that actions speak louder than words? And words speak louder than thoughts? Most of the time we don’t even know what someone is thinking. If so, why is the penalty that atones for improper thoughts harsher than the penalty for improper actions?
Following up on last week’s Parsha Nugget, a strange issue arises. A person who behaves inappropriately brings a Chatas, or sin offering. The Kohen who performs this service gets to eat certain parts of it. But someone who thinks lewd or improper thoughts has the Kohen bring an Olah, or elevation offering. The Olah is totally consumed by the fire on the altar.
Rabbi Sholom Noach Berezobsky, the Slonimer Rebbe, in his work Nesivos Shalom, explains it is much more difficult to control your thoughts than your actions. You might be embarrassed by others seeing what you do. You may not have time to act on a bad impulse. When you think about it, several conditions must be met before you can take any action, let alone a sinful one.
But as fast as you can eradicate one improper thought from your mind, another takes its place. Bombarded by sounds and images, the stimulus to inappropriate thoughts is limitless. And no one can see what goes on in your mind so there is no outside restraint. You’ll never cleanse your mind one thought at a time.
What’s the solution?
Fill your head full of prayer, study, and ideas for serving G-d, such as how you will take care of His children. Like the Olah, only by complete eradication can you ban defeatism, cynicism, and other inappropriate thoughts.
What do you do to keep you mind focused on positive, pure thoughts? Please comment below.
Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. It is named after the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.
What verse in the Old Testament would you like to know more about? Ask a question and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!