National Board Dvar Torah: Parshat Tzav

Posted on March 23, 2016
Sophia Stepansky, National Ambassador of Education, New Jersey NCSY.

Sophia Stepansky, National Ambassador of Education, New Jersey NCSY.

Parshat Tzav: Boy Scouts 101

In the Boy Scouts one of the many skills you learn is how to build a fire. That is considered one of the most crucial tools that is essential for a Boy Scout to know.  There are a few easy steps to follow according to NPR:

  1. Make a loose pile of tinder
  2. Build a tee-pee with the kindling
  3. Light tinder from all sides
  4. As the fire grows, feed it with branches

After you do steps one and two, where you construct the fire, you need to physically light the materials on fire. But the process doesn’t end there. Part four comes along where you need to  constantly add wood to the fire as it grows. However, it seems unnecessary to add more wood, because the fire should already be self-sufficient and should be able to grow on its own with the tools it has already been given. In reality, it is extremely necessary to add more wood, because if the fire isn’t fueled, it will quickly die out.

In this week’s parsha it says, “And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it, it shall not be extinguished, and the kohen shall kindle wood on it every morning..” (Vayikra 6:5). This pasuk affirms the idea that more wood must be added to the fire to keep it going strong.

The same is true with our lives. When we feel excited and passionate about a cause or our Judaism, it isn’t enough to leave the feeling at that, because emotion fades away quickly. We need to wake up every morning, like the kohen, and constantly refuel ourselves with a new piece of wood to keep the flame going.