Parshat Tzav From Central East NCSY

Posted on July 16, 2008

This weeks parsha states: “This is the offering of Aharon and his descendants… 1/10 of an ephah [approx. 2 quarts] of fine wheat flour, to be brought daily, half in the morning and half in the afternoon”

The Vayikra Rabbah states: “… fine wheat flour, to be brought daily” – Rebbe Yehoshua of Sikhnin said in the name of Rebbe Levi: Come see how much the Holy One, Blessed be He, is careful with Jewish money. Anyone who feels a need to bring a korban olah [sacrifice which was totally burnt on the altar] may do so according to his ability, on a sliding scale, bringing only flour if need be. Not only that! But this flour offering, unlike any other, is brought in halves. And not only that, but anyone who brings such an offering has the merit of one who has honored G-d from one end of the world to the other.

The Breslover tie these thoughts together. This flour offering, known as the “Pauper’s Offering,” contains the essence of repentance. This offering reaches to the greatest depths, from one end of the world to the other, as the above Midrash points out. For every person in the world, no matter what level, no matter where, even those who are extremely distant from anything holy, can be moved by the essence of the Pauper’s Offering.

“Whether one is capable of a lot or capable of little, the main thing is that he means for the sake of Heaven.” It occasionally happens that one feels a tremendous surge of inspiration and feels ready to give himself/herself a spiritual turnaround, changing anything and everything about himself and his life in order to live 100% dedicated to Hashem. Most of the time, however, the inspiration one feels is the faintest of whispers and dies relatively quickly. The change likely to be generated by such a whisper is also likely to be faint, very faint and perhaps fleeting as well. But, with even the faintest bit of good one can come back to Hashem. The pre-conditions are that one nullify his haughtiness, his feeling of self-generated worth and that he accustom himself to beseech God for His help, as did King David: “A prayer of the poor person, when he is wrapped in pain; before G-d he pours out his tale.” Pour out your problems to Hashem as if you were pouring water – even if it seems to you that what you’re saying makes no sense or lacks the best of intentions.

For any such prayer is very precious to Hashem, “our G-d, Who is very forgiving.” This is what the Midrash is hinting at when it emphasizes that the flour offering is brought in halves. Even if what you think to bring to God is something that only a pauper would bring and you’re bringing it broken! In pieces! Broken thoughts, unsifted from the poisons that attack us daily. Not exactly a fitting gift to bring to a king. That is where the analogy fails. But Hashem, out of His tremendous compassion for us, accepts the Pauper’s Offering, because He sees how the poor person strengthens himself to pray as best he can in the face of his pain.

This what the Midrash teaches: If you pray about the problems you have due to your spiritual famine, you have honored G-d from one end of the world to the other! From our lowly planet to the highest heavens.