Parshat Tzav: Keys to the Final Four
Isaiah 28:11 states:
“Vehayah lahem devar-adonai tzav latzav tzav latzav kav lakav kav lakav ze’eir sham ze’eir sham lema’an yelchu vechashlu achor venishbaru venokshu venilkadu.”
“The word of the Lord shall befall them commandment by commandment, commandment by commandment; line by line, line by line; a bit here and a bit there; so that they will go and stumble backward and be broken, and be tripped up and caught.” This poetic line, read as part of the Haftarah for Parshat Sh’mot, highlights the danger of thinking of God’s commandments as “mutter upon mutter, now here, now there.” The text explains how God’s words sound like murmuring, but I would contend that the text argues something else. Law after law, we sometimes get caught up in the mundane details rather than seeing the overall picture.
This is the context in which I read Parshat Tzav (totally unrelated other than the use of the word “tzav”). What’s the big picture here? The text describes the sacrificial worship system: the burnt offering,the grain offering, the grain offering of the high priest,the purification offering, and the sacrifice of well-being. While this may sound like the 4th book of the Hunger Games trilogy, it is not!
The word that sticks out amongst all these offerings is “torah”, derived from the verb “yarah”, or “to instruct, cast, shoot, or aim.” The big picture here is the importance of listening to instructions, of executing x’s and o’s. My bold prediction for this year’s Final Four is simply, in the big picture, that whomever follows instructions, makes their coach’s directions seem clear and natural (rather than murmurs), whomever shoots/aims the best, whomever scores the most points, at the end of the day, they will be champion. Who knew that whomever scores more wins!?!