Special ‘Shabbatot’ are Jewish Shabbat days, on which special events are commemorated. Variations in the liturgy and special customs differentiate them from the regular Sabbaths, and each one is referred to by a special name.
This Shabbat is ‘Shabbat Hagadol’ (‘Great Shabbat’). ‘Shabbat Hagadol’ is held immediately before ‘Pesach’ (Passover). The first ‘Shabbat Hagadol’ took place in Egypt on the 10th day of Nisan, five days before the Israelite Exodus.
On that day, the Israelites were given their first commandment which applied only to that Shabbat: Exodus 12:3: “Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth day of this month (Nisan) every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household’”
There is a special ‘Haftorah’ reading on this Shabbat which is the book of Malachi. Traditionally a lengthy and expansive sermon is given to the general community in the afternoon.
Jeremiah 7:23: “But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ ”
The ‘parsha’ (‘Torah’ portion) this week, ‘Parsha Tzav’ (command), is found in Leviticus 6:1 – 8:36 and is the twenty fifth weekly ‘Torah’ portion in the annual Jewish cycle of ‘Torah’ reading; the corresponding ‘haftorah’ (reading of the prophets) is found in Jeremiah 7:21-28; 9:22-23.
‘Parsha Tzav’ continues G-d’s instruction to Moses of the laws of ‘korbanot’, the animal and meal offerings that were the central feature of the service in the Sanctuary.
G-d instructed Moses to command Aaron and his sons regarding their duties and rights as ‘Kohanim’ (priests) who offered the animal and meal offerings in the Sanctuary.
The ‘parsha’ tells us that a fire had to be kept burning on the altar at all times; it was not allowed to go out, and in it was burned the ascending offering.
‘Parsha Tzav’ recounts the laws of the ‘Olah’ (“ascending offering”); the ‘minchah’ (“meal offering”); the ‘shelamim’ (“peace offering”); the ‘chatat’ (“sin offering”) and the ‘asham’ (“guilt offering”).
The ‘Kohanim’ had to eat the meat of the sin and guilt offerings as well as the remainder of the meal offering. The Peace Offering had to be eaten by the one who brought it, except for specified portions which had to be given to the ‘Kohen’ (priest).
The holy meat of the offerings had to be eaten by ritually pure persons in a designated holy place and within a specified time.
These were the laws, given to the children of Israel, for the ascending offering, the meal offering, the sin offering, the guilt offering, the inauguration offering, and for the sacrifice of the peace offering which G-d commanded Moses at Mount Sinai.
The ‘Torah’ relates how Moses initiated Aaron and his sons into priesthood during the “Seven days of Inauguration”. On each of these seven days, Moses erected the Sanctuary, anointed it with the anointing oil, dressed Aaron and his sons in the priestly garments, and anointed them.
On each of these days, Aaron and his sons brought a series of offerings, while Moses officiated as the priest and offered them on the Altar. These were: a bullock, brought as a sin offering, and two rams - one as an ascending offering and the second as a specially ordained “ram of inauguration”.
Moses then told Aaron and his sons to cook the meat at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, and to eat it there with the bread that was in the ‘Basket of the Bread of Consecration’. That which remained of the flesh and of the bread had to be burned with fire by Aaron and his sons.
‘Parsha Tzav’ concludes with Moses telling Aaron and his sons to stay at the door of the Tent of Meeting day and night for seven days, and to keep the commands of the L-rd so that they would not die.
‘Haftorah Tzav’ touches on the subject of sacrifices, the main topic of the week's ‘parsha’.
G-d told the prophet Jeremiah to rebuke the Jewish people, saying that His primary intention in taking their forefathers out of Egypt wasn't the sacrificial offerings, rather that they observed the commandments. However, despite the fact that G-d repeatedly dispatched prophets to admonish the people, “they did not obey nor did they incline their ear, but walked according to their own counsels; and in view of their evil heart, and they went backwards and not forwards.” G-d further informed Jeremiah that the people would also not listen to the words that he was about to speak to them.
The ‘haftorah’ concludes with G-d’s admonition: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the LORD.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
In ‘Parsha Tzav’, the ‘Torah’ relates how Moses initiated Aaron and his sons into priesthood. There was a specific order required by G-d before Aaron and his sons could be initiated into the priesthood. At the end of this rigorous initiation period, Moses told Aaron and his sons to stay at the door of the Tent of Meeting day and night for seven days, and to keep the commands of the L-rd, so that they would not die.
In ‘Haftorah Tzav’, G-d said that His primary intention in taking the forefathers of the Jewish people out of Egypt was for them to observe G-d’s commandments. However, they did not obey or listen to G-d’s commandments; instead they did evil and, instead of spiritually growing in the L-rd, they went backwards.
The funny thing is that G-d could be speaking to mankind today.
Instead of growing spiritually and following G-d’s blueprint for our lives, mankind has, by and large, chosen to “go his own way” and focus on power and riches and man’s own wisdom.
This is so sad, because Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to “Trust in the LORD with all our heart, and lean not on our own understanding; in all our ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct our paths.” Verse 7 goes on to say: “Do not be wise in your own eyes”.
Yet mankind continues to focus on his own ability and, as the Frank Sinatra song says, much of mankind’s motto seems to be: “I’ll do it my way”… and doing it “my way” will mostly fail.
Jimi Hendrix; Michael Jackson; Heath Ledger; Amy Winehouse; Colonel Gadhafi; Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Lauden are some examples of people who tried to “do it my way”…and they all died an unnatural death.
“My way” definitely did not work for them, and the reason for this is that “my way” is not usually the best way.
Only G-d’s way is fail proof…and I know. I used to try and do things “my way” and everything seemed to fail. However, when I finally learned to do it G-d’s way, everything began to succeed…Emet Ministries is testimony to this.
Perhaps the most dangerous example of doing it “my way” is to deny Yeshua and to refuse G-d’s gift of salvation, trusting in your works to get you into heaven. This is dangerous, very dangerous. Sadly, one usually only finds this out when it is too late.
Only by accepting Yeshua and G-d’s gift of salvation can your sins be forgiven you and eternal life in heaven be granted to you. The alternative is Hades and eternal separation from G-d…and you don’t want this…whether you are Jewish or Gentile.
Yeshua sacrificed His life for mankind so that mankind could receive the forgiveness of sin, and have the guarantee of eternal life in heaven.
Instead of doing it your way, won’t you accept G-d’s gift of the forgiveness of sin, salvation and everlasting life in heaven? All you need to do is confess your sins, repent of them and ask Yeshua to come into your life as your L-rd and Saviour; and you can do this by praying the Prayer of Salvation found at the end of this article.
In conclusion, let’s change our attitudes and instead of saying: “I’ll do it my way”, let’s say: “I’ll do it G-d’s way.”
We love you.
Scripture of the week: Isaiah 64:6-8: “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs himself up to take hold of You; for You have hidden Your face from us, and have consumed us because of our iniquities. But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.”
Thank you Yeshua for Your love for me.
Thank you for giving up Your life on the cross for me and for taking my sins upon Yourself.
I confess that I have sinned.
I repent of my sins and I turn from everything I know to be wrong.
I invite You to come into my life as my Messiah, my Saviour.
By Your grace I will serve You all the remaining years of my life.