Former Shaliach in Greater Washington
The following dvar Torah is based on Rav Yehudah Shaviv’s sefer on parshat hashavua.
Parshat Tzav begins with the following psukim:
“And Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying. Command Aharon and his sons, saying, this is the law of the burnt offering; that is the burnt offering on the flame, on the altar, all night until morning, and the fire of the altar shall be kept aflame on it.” (Vayikra 6:1-2)
Rashi cites Torat Kohanim:
“‘Command Aharon’ – ‘Command’ (tzav) can only denote urging (zeiruz), for the immediate present and for [future] generations.”
This explanation meshes with the Gemara (BT Makot 23a), which states:
“Ein mezarzin ela lamezoraz.” (“We only hasten one who is quick.”)
This declaration comes in the midst of a discussion about the attendants who are charged with administering the malkot (lashes). Rabbanan hold that the attendants must be intelligent and physically weak. In contrast, R’ Yehudah insists that the attendants can even lack intelligence and be physically strong.
R’ Yehudah’s view is bolstered by a pasuk:
“He shall not add, lest he exceed.” (Devarim 25:3)
According to R’ Yehudah, this pasuk is clearly addressed to those who lack intelligence and therefore must be cautioned against excessive malkot. But if we rule in accordance with Rabbanan’s opinion, the pasuk’s warning seems to be superfluous. Thus, the Gemara explains that according to Rabbanan, “ein mezarzin ela lamezoraz.” In other words, motivated individuals are the ones who need to be encouraged or moved along, but there is no point in hurrying or hastening those who are unmotivated.
Similarly, the Gemara (BT Shabbat 20a) states:
“The kohanim are zerizin (conscientious).”
The Gemara makes this statement to explain why the kohanim are permitted to burn the eivarim and the pedarim (certain sacrificial parts and fats) on the mizbei’ach (the Altar) on Friday close to nightfall. Since the kohanim are conscientious, we are not concerned that they may come to stoke the fire after nightfall. In other words, HaKadosh Baruch Hu specifically cautions those who are conscientious.
The Midrash (Midrash Rabah 7) notes that Parshat Tzav is the first time that Aharon himself is the one who is commanded. Previous commandments refer to “the sons of Aharon”. However, in this case, Hashem tells Moshe, Aharon is to play the major role, and his sons are to be subordinate to their father. Hence, the pasuk says:
“Command Aharon and his sons, saying…” (Vayikra 6:2)
A subsequent pasuk illustrates the difference between Aharon, the kohein gadol, and his sons, the kohanim:
“This is the offering of Aharon and his sons, which they shall offer to Hashem, on the day when one is anointed: a tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a perpetual meal offering…” (Vayikra 6:13)
“‘This is the offering of Aharon and his sons’ – Ordinary kohanim must also offer a tenth of an ephah on the day they are inaugurated into service. But the kohein gadol [brings this meal-offering] every day, as it says, ‘a perpetual meal-offering…’”
In other words, both Aharon and his sons bring a korban on the day that they are initiated into the avodah (the service). However, the minchat tamid (the perpetual offering) is offered daily by Aharon alone, because he is inaugurated anew each day.
The zerizut (promptness) motif runs through the Exodus from Egypt as well. For instance, the Haggadah states:
“This matzah which we eat – what is the underlying reason? The reason is that our forefathers’ dough did not have time to become leavened before the King of Kings, HaKadosh Baruch Hu, revealed Himself to them and redeemed them, as it says, ‘They baked the dough which they took out of Egypt as unleavened cakes, for it had not leavened; for they were driven out of Egypt, and they could not tarry, and also, they had not made provisions for themselves.’ (Shmot 12:39)”
When Am Yisrael were in Egypt, zerizut was of the essence. They had sunk to the 39th level of tumah, and if they had lingered, they would have never left Egypt. Therefore, HaKadosh Baruch Hu had to take them out immediately and avoid any unnecessary delays.
This same zerizut applies to many of Pesach’s halachot – such as biur chametz (burning the chametz) and preparing the matzot.
Nevertheless, although the Exodus from Egypt was carried out in haste – “for in haste you went out of the land of Egypt” (Devarim 16:3) – the final Geulah (Redemption) will be very different. As the navi teaches:
“For not with haste will you go forth and not in flight will you go; for Hashem goes before you, and your rear guard is the God of Israel.” (Yeshaya 52:12)
The final Geulah will be carried out serenely and without any haste or speed.
As noted above, zerizut applies throughout the generations, but haste is limited to the Exodus from Egypt.
May HaKadosh Baruch Hu hasten the final Geulah, and may we be privileged to eat from the zevachim and from the pesachim, speedily and in our days. Amen.