Parashas Tzav

This week’s parashah continues with the discussion of korbanos (offerings). Vayikra 7:12-15 deals with the thanksgiving offering. The Midrash remarks (Vayikra Rabbah 9:1):
“With the presentation of a thanksgiving offering they shall honor Me” (Tehillim 50:23). It is not written “sin-offering” or “guilt-offering,” but rather “thanksgiving offering.” Why? Because sin-offerings and guilt-offerings are brought on account of a sin, but a thankgiving offering is not brought on account of a sin.
The Midrash teaches further (Vayikra Rabbah 9:7):
In the end of days, all types of offerings will cease except for the thanksgiving offering, and all types of prayer will cease except for praises of thanks. As it is written (Yirmiyah 33:10-11): “There will again be heard … in the cities of Yehudah and the streets of Yerushalayim, … the sound of joy and the sound of gladness, the voice of grooms and the voice of brides, the sound of people saying, “Praise Hashem, Master of Legions, for Hashem is good – His kindness is eternal” – this speaks of praises of thanks – “bringing thanksgiving offerings to the house of Hashem” – this speaks of thanksgiving offerings.
The Maggid explains these Midrashim as follows. When a person brings a sin-offering or a guilt-offering, he is happy to have gained atonement for his sin, but the joy is muted. Hashem is not granting him any new blessing, but rather is simply repairing the damage the person caused through his sin and restoring him to his original state. The person would not celebrate this experience openly in the streets. In addition, if he is a faithful Jew, he would not look forward to having this experience again; he would rather not sin at all than sin and then receive atonement. Moreover, as reflected in the first Midrash, Hashem gains limited honor from sin- and guilt-offerings; He would prefer that the person not sin in the first place. When Hashem grants someone new blessing, on the other hand, this is cause for unreserved joy. The receipient can freely celebrate his success in the streets, and he would be glad to receive such a kindness again. He sings praises of thanks to Hashem, and expresses his appreciation tangibly by bringing a thanksgiving offering, which Hashem regards as a true honor to Him.
In the end of days, we will no longer commit grave sins that call for a sin- or guilt-offering, and we will thus no longer need the bittersweet kindness of atonement. Instead, the kindnesses we receive from Hashem will all be in the form of wondrous new blessings, over which we will sing praises of thanks and bring thanksgiving offerings. We will celebrate these blessings in the streets, and thank Hashem for His eternal kindnesses – for glorious blessings which we will look forward to forever.
The above ideas, the Maggid says, are reflected in Tehillim 30. In this psalm, Dovid HaMelech speaks of being saved from distress: “Hashem, my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me. Hashem, You have raised up my soul from the netherworld; You have sustained me from descent to the pit” (verses 3-4). Here, Dovid is describing how Hashem restored him to his original state after he had been stricken. This type of salvation, however, is not the ultimate goal, but rather is just an intermediate stage. The ultimate goal is described in the final verse of the psalm (verse 13): “In order that my soul may sing to you and not be silenced. Hashem, my God, I shall thank you eternally.” In this verse, the word used for “my soul” is kavod, whose literal meaning is “honor.” We want Hashem to grant us kindnesses over which we feel honored to sing to Him and feel no need to keep silent – kindnesses that we can look forward to and thank Him for eternally.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

1 Comment

  1. North Jerusalem Maggid of Dubno Project » Blog Archive » Parashas Tzav:

    […] on account of a sin, but a thankgiving offering is not brought on account of a sin. We have previously presented a selection from the Maggid’s commentary on this Midrash. We now present another selection. The […]

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