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Friday, April 3

The Weekly Shtikle - Tzav / Shabbas HaGadol

This week's shtikle is dedicated for a refuah sheleimah for my uncle, Chaim Yitzchak ben Baila, and his brother, Refael Elchanan Shimon ben Baila, as well as my wife's uncle, Yehoshua ben Leah Faiga, besoch sh'ar cholei Yisrael.

As parshas Tzav is one of the more difficult parshios to write about, the natural fallback – as has been the case for myself, as well – is to discuss the korban todah, special version of the shelamim which has extra accompanying breads and is confined to a shorter timespan for eating. There is a well-known mnemonic, provided by the Shulchan Aruch (OC 219:1) for the four people who are required to bring this korban: "vehcol hachayim yoducha selah." The word חיים stands for חבוש, יסורים, ים, מדבר: a released prisoner, someone who was sick, someone who traversed the sea of the dessert. It is interesting to note the simplicity of the word that serves as the mnemonic – hachayim, the living. Indeed, it is only the more extreme circumstances that require the korban to be brought. But in celebrating the great, overt miracles, we reflect on life itself and realize how every day we have on this earth is a gift. Once we enter a mode of giving praise and thanks, we are able to have deeper appreciation for the little things.


In a previous shtikle for seder night, we have also discussed how we, as a nation, actually fit all four categories in our exodus from Egypt and sojourn towards Eretz Yisrael. Pesach, and more specifically, the seder, provides yet another opportunity to celebrate the large miracles and at the same time, appreciate the smaller things we might take for granted like freedom from oppression.


The current situation in which we find ourselves has provided many opportunities to hear insights from various different speakers, each with their own perspective on the circumstances affecting all of us. One of the ideas I found particularly inspiring was to take time to appreciate that while these are very trying times which are certainly testing in many ways, there are so many aspects we should appreciative of. We may need to celebrate Pesach alone, but at least we are allowed to celebrate Pesach. We cannot go to shul to daven or to learn. But no one is stopping us (other than perhaps a child or two jumping on our head) from doing so at home. We are not being chased by Nazis, Cossacks or the Inquisition. In a slightly different twist from the themes of the korban todah and Pesach, sometimes it takes being prevented and prohibited from some of the things we take for granted to appreciate all of the plenty we are blessed with.


Wishing everyone a healthy Shabbos and Yom Tov.


Eliezer Bulka

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