A Tidbit of Torah – Parshat Tzav 5784

The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they drew too close to the presence of the Lord.                         Vayikra / Leviticus 16:1

Our parasha opens with these heavy words, picking up the narrative regarding the tragic and incomprehensible deaths of Aaron’s two sons in chapter 10. It feels as if the Torah turns its attention away from a traumatized and grieving Aaron who along with the entire family must come to terms with their terrible loss. Only after allowing the mourners time and space to grapple with their emotions does the text return to Aaron and his remaining sons, directing them on how they can begin to move forward in their lives, personally and professionally.

In some ways, I feel that we are living an echo of that phenomenon in the Jewish world today, still grappling with the horrors of October 7, the ongoing struggle against Hamas in Gaza, the persistent rocket and drone attacks by Hezbollah which have made areas along Israel’s northern border too dangerous for residents who are dispersed around the country, and the surge of anti-Israel and antisemitic attacks, verbal and physical, proliferating on college campuses.

While I plan to speak to some of these issues on Shabbat, including the role we should play in this moment, I share with you here a link to Israel From the Inside, a substack presented by a rabbinical school classmate, Danny Gordis, which today includes his translation of an article in Hebrew written by Yotam Berger, an Israeli who is doing his PhD at Stanford University. His words are sufficient unto themselves.


Shabbat Shalom –

Rabbi David M. Eligberg