Our weekly Torah portion begins with the words: “Tzav et Aharon v’et banav laymor: zot Torat HaOlah…” [Command/Direct Aaron and his sons, saying: This is the Torah of the ascending sacrificial offering…] (Leviticus 6:2).
In Torah, the Hebrew word Tzav [Command/Direct] implies an important, urgent teaching that has immediate application, as well as having application for all generations.
A Hasidic teaching notes that, in the opening of our Parsha, the word Tzav is closely followed by the Hebrew word laymor [saying]. The urgency of Torah’s instruction on bringing an ascending sacrificial offering, reflecting our desire to turn our hearts toward God, – toward our highest ideals and aspirations, is often due to a sense of deep regret for having said something that was not helpful.
What a profound teaching! How often do we speak first, only to realize that we have spoken words that we regret. And, no matter how hard we try, it is often impossible to completely erase the effects of words, once spoken.
As we look ahead, what we can do is to remind ourselves of our ability to lift up our minds and hearts to God, and to forge a better path in the future. That is the powerful symbolism embodied in the teachings about the Olah – the ascending sacrificial offering. May we find ways to lift up our mis-steps and to do better when we encounter a similar situation in the future!