Parshat Tzav -
The Difference Between Tzav and Vayikra

(To prepare for this shiur,
see the questions for self study.)

At first glance, Parshat Tzav appears to simply repeat Parshat Vayikra. Both parshiot present the detailed laws concerning the five basic categories of korbanot: olah, mincha, chatat, asham and shlamim. A more careful examination, however, reveals that these parshiot differ not only regarding the order of their presentation of the korbanot, but also with respect to their detail.

Would it not have been more logical for the Torah to include all the laws and details concerning the korbanot in one Parsha? Why are they divided into two separate parshiot?

A Key Phrase
The key to understanding Parshat Tzav is the single phrase that introduces each category of korbanot:

"Zot torat ha-... - These are the laws of the-..."
[See 6:2 (olah), 6:7 (mincha), 6:18 (chatat), 7:1 (asham), and 7:11 (shlamim).]
This very same phrase appears one last time in the Torah's summary of all the korbanot at the conclusion of the parsha:
"Zot ha'torah - la'olah la'mincha, v'la'chatat..." (7:37)
In effect, this expression sets the structure for the entire Parsha, as it both opens and closes each section therein. Therefore, a clear understanding of the word "torah" will help us determine what Parshat Tzav is all about. [Significantly, this phrase is found nowhere throughout Parshat Vayikra. The reason for this omission will soon become evident.]

"Torah" is only one of the various categories of laws found in Chumash. We also find "chukim," "mishpatim," "mitzvot," etc. It is beyond the scope of the shiur to explain the precise definition of each category. For our purposes here, suffice it to say that the specific meaning of "torah" is a procedural law - a series of actions necessary for the completion of a given process. For example, the pasuk in Parshat Tzav, "zot torat ha'mincha..." (6:7-10) should be translated as, "This is the procedure for offering the korban mincha." This pasuk introduces the details regarding how the kohanim offer the mincha, namely, the procedure of:

Similarly, Parshat Tzav details the procedures regarding how each type of korban is offered. Herein lies the basic difference between Parshat Tzav and Parshat Vayikra. Whereas Parshat Tzav deals primarily with the procedures for offering the various korbanot, Parshat Vayikra focuses on which korban is to be offered under which circumstances.

Recall from last week's shiur that Parshat Vayikra details the various korbanot that the individual can (n'dava) or must (chova) bring. It focuses not on the technical details of how to prepare each korban, but rather on what type of korban is to be offered in any given situation. If the individual wants to bring a korban n'dava, then Parshat Vayikra tells him what type of korban and animal he can bring. If the individual had transgressed a certain violation, then Parshat Vayikra informs him of which specific animal he must bring (korban chova).

Thus, Parshat Vayikra serves as a 'halachic catalogue' - guiding the individual as to which korban to bring (see Board #1), while Parshat Tzav serves as an 'instruction manual' - teaching the kohen how to offer each type of korban (see Board #2).

Chumash presents each 'manual' independently because each serves a different purpose. This is why the Torah divides the details of each korban between two separate Parshiot.

In fact, the opening pasuk of each Parsha reflects this distinction:

Parshat Tzav is addressed specifically to the kohanim (priests), instructing them how to offer the korbanot. Parshat Vayikra, by contrast, directs itself towards all of Bnei Yisrael, since everyone must know which specific korban he can or must bring in any given situation.

[Since many of the details concerning korbanot must be known to both the kohanim and the individual, we find that some details are actually repeated in both Parshiot. Furthermore, some of the procedures which only the kohen can perform on the "korban yachid" are also included in Vayikra. This is because the kohen serves in this capacity as the emissary of the individual offering the korban. (Ideally the owner should offer the korban, but since only kohanim are permitted to come near the mizbayach, the kohen must perform the "avodah" on his behalf.) Additionally, the owner must also be aware of what he is permitted to do and which rituals are restricted to the kohanim. For example, the owner is permitted to do "shchita," but may not perform other "avodot."]

The 'New Order'
With this background, we can better understand the difference in the order of presentation of each Parsha.

As we explained in last week's shiur, Parshat Vayikra discusses the categories of "korban yachid," beginning with the voluntary n'dava korbanot - olah and shlamim - and then continuing with the obligatory chova korbanot - chatat and asham.

Tzav makes no distinction between n'dava and chova. Once the korban comes to the Mikdash, the kohen needs to know only the category to which it belongs, not the circumstances surrounding the owner's decision or requirement to bring a korban. Therefore, the order in Tzav follows the level of "kedusha" of the various korbanot: olah, mincha, chatat, asham and shlamim.

[The shlamim is now last instead of second, since it has the lowest level of "kedusha" ("kodshim kalim").]

The Order in Tzav
The internal order of Tzav is arranged also according to which parts of the korban are consumed on the mizbayach (known as "achilat mizbayach"):

Board #2 summarizes the overall structure of Parshat Tzav based on the principles discussed above. Note that because Parshat Tzav is directed specifically to the kohanim, it also includes several related laws such as the remuneration the kohanim receive for their service and the "minchat chinuch" - the inauguration flour-offering the kohen brings on the day he begins his service.

Priestly Reward
After reviewing this outline we may additionally conclude that one of the primary considerations of Parshat Tzav is the compensation the kohen receives for offering the korban. In contrast to Parshat Vayikra, which does not at all raise this issue, Parshat Tzav tells us that the kohen receives the hides of the olah offering, the leftovers of the mincha offering, most of the meat of the chatat and asham and the "chazeh" and "shok" of the shlamim.

The summary pasuk in 7:35-36 reinforces the significance of this point in the eyes of Parshat Tzav, as does the introduction in 6:1-2, which directs these laws specifically to Aharon and his sons.

For Further Iyun
A. What's a Mishpat?
What do you think is the difference between a "chok" and a "mishpat"? Consider the linguistic relationship between the words "mishpat" and "shofet" (= shoresh sh.p.t.), and recall Parshat Mishpatim (Shmot chapter 21) and its 'key' word (pun intended).

B. Some More 'Torah'
Note the similar use of the word "torah" - "procedure" - in Tazria-Metzora - see Vayikra 12:7, 13:59, 14:2,32,54.
See also Bamidbar 5:29-30, 6:21.
Note also Breishit 26:5, and see the m'forshim there (e.g., Rashi, Rashbam and Ramban)!

Note how the word "torah" takes on a more general meaning in Sefer Devarim - see 1:5 and 4:44! Can you explain why?

C. The Problematic Finale
See 7:37, which accurately summarizes the entire Parsha, except for one 'small' detail:

"Zot ha'torah la'olah la'mincha, v'la'chatat v'la'asham v'la'miluim u'l'zevach hashlamim..."
What is "v'la'miluim" doing in this pasuk? D. In the end of Tzav (8:1-36), we find the narrative describing the seven-day "miluim" dedication ceremony. Prove from the style of this parsha that it belongs in Pekudei. (Look for the repetition of the key phrase.) Where in Parshat Pekudei does this parsha belong? Why do you think it is placed here?

How does this parsha relate to Parshat Shmini?

Why do you think this narrative is included in Sefer Vayikra rather than Sefer Shmot?

E. See Shmot 24:12, and note the words torah and mitzvah.

If "mitzvah" refers to Tzivui HaMishkan, i.e. Shmot 25-31, then to what does "torah" refer? Based on 7:37-38, could this be referring (at least partially) to Parshat Tzav?

Could it include other parshiot of mitzvot found in Sefer Vayikra and Sefer Bamidbar? If so, can you explain why?

Relate to your answers to C and D above.

F. Korbanot Then / Kashrut Today
Surprisingly, in the middle of the shlamim section of Parshat Tzav we find a "dibur" to Bnei Yisrael - not only to the kohanim! (See 7:22-27.) This seems to contradict all our assumptions about the structure of Tzav. What is this 'parsha' doing here?

This "dibur" to Bnei Yisrael details the prohibition of eating the "chaylev v'dam" (fat and blood) of any animal, even if it is not a korban. These laws have nothing to do with the Mikdash - they involve the general laws of kashrut! Why was this 'parsha' placed here?

To answer these questions, we must view these 'kashrut laws' of "chaylev v'dam" as an extension of the laws of korbanot. That is, Chumash purposely includes the laws of "chaylev" and "dam" in Parshat Tzav to teach us that they are forbidden specifically because these parts of the animal belong on the mizbayach!

Ideally, as Sefer Devarim (12:20-22) establishes, one may eat meat only within the framework of a korban shlamim. Eating "chulin" (meat that is not a korban) is allowed only when bringing a korban shlamim is unfeasible. [Sefer Devarim refers to this meat as "basar ta'ava" ('meat of 'desire').]

Nevertheless, even in the realistic, non-ideal condition, when one does eat "chulin," he still may not eat the "chaylev v'dam." A Jew must remind himself of the ideal way in which meat should be eaten: as part of a korban shlamim, where the "chaylev v'dam" belong on the mizbayach. Why?

Man's desire for meat may reflect the animalistic tendency latent in human nature. By offering a korban shlamim, man channels this desire towards the enhancement of his relationship with God. [Recall from our shiur on Vayikra that the korban shlamim is the ideal "korban n'dava" in that it reenacts the covenantal ceremony between God and Bnei Yisrael at Har Sinai.] Even today, without a Mikdash, by refraining from eating "chaylev" and by salting and draining the animal's blood, we can retain a certain level of "kedusha" while eating meat.

G. Dam HaNefesh
In the related parsha of "basar ta'ava" in Sefer Devarim (12:20-28), we find what appears to be a different reason for the prohibition against eating blood:

"Be sure not to eat the blood, for the blood is the 'nefesh' (life/soul), and you must not consume the 'nefesh' with the 'basar' (meat)." (12:23)
In truth, however, this reason involves the very same principle we discussed. The sprinkling of the korban's blood on the mizbayach represents the 'nefesh' of the person offering the korban - "ki ha'dam hu ha'nefesh" (12:23). This is the reason that the blood was chosen to be sprinkled on the mizbayach, and this is the reason that we are not permitted to eat the blood.

How does offering a korban or refraining from eating certain animal parts bring anyone closer to God?

Man's relationship with God stems from his understanding that he was created for a purpose. Towards that purpose, God created man "b'tzelem Elokim" (Breishit 1:27), i.e. with a creative mind (see first chapter of Moreh N'vuchim of the Rambam!). It is this trait of "tzelem Elokim" that differentiates man from animal. Upon seeing the blood of an animal, man should ask himself, how am I different from that animal? The animal's shape may be a bit different, but the blood is the same blood as the human being's, just as the inner organs and limbs are the same as his.

One could suggest that the experience of offering a korban stimulates this process of introspection; it may help man recognize that despite these similarities, he is different, insofar as he was created "b'tzelem Elokim" - for a purpose. The search for that purpose sets man on the proper path. As we say in Tehilim:

"Adam bi'kar - a man [lives] with wealth and honor - v'lo yavin - but does not contemplate his way in life - nimshal k'bhay'mot nidmu - he is like the animals that perish." (Tehilim 49:21)
H. Another "Dibur" Out of Place?
Imbedded within the parsha's discussion of shlamim we find yet another "dibur" to Bnei Yisrael (7:28-34). Again, why do we find a "dibur" to Bnei Yisrael in the Parsha intended for kohanim? Shouldn't these laws appear in Parshat Vayikra?

This "dibur" details the laws requiring the owner of the shlamim to give the "chazeh v'shok" to the kohen. These laws are in Parshat Tzav because they deal with the portion of the animal reserved for the kohanim. On the other hand, it must be emphasized that this portion is a gift to the kohen from the owner of the korban. As such, it requires a special "dibur" to Bnei Yisrael.

I. Korban Todah and Korban Pesach
One could suggest that the korban Pesach is simply a 'special type' of korban Todah. The following questions (in lieu of a shiur) will help you understand their connection. (Read Vayikra 7:11-15 and Shmot 12:3-12.)

Im yirtzeh Hashem, we'll have a shiur on this topic before Pesach.

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