Tzav, Tsav, Zav, Sav, or in Biblical Hebrew Ṣaw (צַו — Hebrew for "command,” the sixth word, and the first distinctive word, in the parashah) is the 25th weekly Torah portion (פָּרָשָׁה, parashah) in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the second in the book of Leviticus. It constitutes Leviticus 6:1–8:36. The parashah is made up of 5,096 Hebrew letters, 1,353 Hebrew words, and 97 verses, and can occupy about 170 lines in a Torah scroll (סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה, Sefer Torah).
- 1 Readings
- 2 In inner-Biblical interpretation
- 3 In early nonrabbinic interpretation
- 4 In classical rabbinic interpretation
- 5 In modern interpretation
- 6 Commandments
- 7 In the liturgy
- 8 Haftarah
- 9 Further reading
- 10 References
- 11 External links
First reading — Leviticus 6:1–11
The burnt offering (עֹלָה, olah) was to burn on the altar until morning, when the priest was to clear the ashes to a place outside the camp. The priests were to keep the fire burning, every morning feeding it wood.
Second reading — Leviticus 6:12–7:10
In the second reading (עליה, aliyah), on the occasion of the High Priest’s anointment, the meal offering was to be prepared with oil on a griddle and then entirely burned on the altar.
The sin offering (חַטָּאת, chatat) was to be slaughtered at the same place as the burnt offering, and the priest who offered it was to eat it in the Tent of Meeting. If blood of the sin offering was brought into the Tent of Meeting for expiation, the entire offering was to be burned on the altar.
The guilt offering (אָשָׁם, asham) was to be slaughtered at the same place as the burnt offering, the priest was to dash its blood on the altar, burn its fat, broad tail, kidneys, and protuberance on the liver on the altar, and the priest who offered it was to eat the balance of its meat in the Tent of Meeting.
The priest who offered a burnt offering kept the skin. The priest who offered it was to eat any baked or grilled meal offering, but every other meal offering was to be shared among all the priests.
Third reading — Leviticus 7:11–38
In the third reading (עליה, aliyah), the peace offering (שְׁלָמִים, shelamim), if offered for thanksgiving, was to be offered with unleavened cakes or wafers with oil, which would go to the priest who dashed the blood of the peace offering. All the meat of the peace offering had to be eaten on the day that it was offered. If offered as a votive or a freewill offering, it could be eaten for two days, and what was then left on the third day was to be burned.
Meat that touched anything unclean could not be eaten; it had to be burned. And only a person who was clean could eat meat from peace offerings, at pain of exile. One could eat no fat or blood, at pain of exile.
The person offering the peace offering had to present the offering and its fat himself, the priest would burn the fat on the altar, the breast would go to the priests, and the right thigh would go to the priest who offered the sacrifice.
Fourth reading — Leviticus 8:1–13
In the fourth reading (עליה, aliyah), God instructed Moses to assemble the whole community at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting for the priests’ ordination. Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward, washed them, and dressed Aaron in his vestments. Moses anointed and consecrated the Tabernacle and all that was in it, and then anointed and consecrated Aaron and his sons.
Fifth reading — Leviticus 8:14–21
In the fifth reading (עליה, aliyah), Moses led forward a bull for a sin offering, Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the bull’s head, and it was slaughtered. Moses put the bull’s blood on the horns and the base of the altar, burned the fat, the protuberance of the liver, and the kidneys on the altar, and burned the rest of the bull outside the camp. Moses then brought forward a ram for a burnt offering, Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the ram’s head, and it was slaughtered. Moses dashed the blood against the altar and burned all of the ram on the altar.
Sixth reading — Leviticus 8:22–29
In the sixth reading (עליה, aliyah), Moses then brought forward a second ram for ordination, Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the ram’s head, and it was slaughtered. Moses put some of its blood on Aaron and his sons, on the ridges of their right ears, on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet. Moses then burned the animal's fat, broad tail, protuberance of the liver, kidneys, and right thigh on the altar with a cake of unleavened bread, a cake of oil bread, and a wafer as an ordination offering. Moses raised the breast before God and then took it as his portion.
Seventh reading — Leviticus 8:30–36
In the seventh reading (עליה, aliyah), Moses sprinkled oil and blood on Aaron and his sons and their vestments. And Moses told Aaron and his sons to boil the meat at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and eat it there, and remain at the Tent of Meeting for seven days to complete their ordination, and they did all the things that God had commanded through Moses.
In inner-Biblical interpretation
The parashah has parallels or is discussed in these Biblical sources:
Leviticus chapter 8
This is the pattern of instruction and construction of the Tabernacle and its furnishings:
|The Sabbath||16||Exodus 31:12–17||1||Exodus 35:1–3|
|Contributions||1||Exodus 25:1–9||2||Exodus 35:4–29|
|Craftspeople||15||Exodus 31:1–11||3||Exodus 35:30–36:7|
|Tabernacle||5||Exodus 26:1–37||4||Exodus 36:8–38|
|Ark||2||Exodus 25:10–22||5||Exodus 37:1–9|
|Table||3||Exodus 25:23–30||6||Exodus 37:10–16|
|Menorah||4||Exodus 25:31–40||7||Exodus 37:17–24|
|Altar of Incense||11||Exodus 30:1–10||8||Exodus 37:25–28|
|Anointing Oil||13||Exodus 30:22–33||9||Exodus 37:29|
|Incense||14||Exodus 30:34–38||10||Exodus 37:29|
|Altar of Sacrifice||6||Exodus 27:1–8||11||Exodus 38:1–7|
|Laver||12||Exodus 30:17–21||12||Exodus 38:8|
|Tabernacle Court||7||Exodus 27:9–19||13||Exodus 38:9–20|
|Priestly Garments||9||Exodus 28:1–43||14||Exodus 39:1–31|
|Ordination Ritual||10||Exodus 29:1–46||15||Leviticus 8:1–9:24|
|Lamp||8||Exodus 27:20–21||16||Numbers 8:1–4|
The Torah mentions the combination of ear, thumb, and toe in three places. In Exodus 29:20, God instructed Moses how to initiate the priests, telling him to kill a ram, take some of its blood, and put it on the tip of the right ear of Aaron and his sons, on the thumb of their right hand, and on the great toe of their right foot, and dash the remaining blood against the altar round about. And then Leviticus 8:23–24 reports that Moses followed God’s instructions to initiate Aaron and his sons. Then, Leviticus 14:14, 17, 25, and 28 set forth a similar procedure for the cleansing of a person with skin disease (צָּרַעַת, tzara’at). In Leviticus 14:14, God instructed the priest on the day of the person’s cleansing to take some of the blood of a guilt-offering and put it upon the tip of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the great toe of the right foot of the one to be cleansed. And then in Leviticus 14:17, God instructed the priest to put oil on the tip of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the great toe of the right foot of the one to be cleansed, on top of the blood of the guilt-offering. And finally, in Leviticus 14:25 and 28, God instructed the priest to repeat the procedure on the eighth day to complete the person’s cleansing.
In early nonrabbinic interpretation
The parashah has parallels or is discussed in these early nonrabbinic sources:
Leviticus chapter 8
Reading Leviticus 8:23–24, Philo noted that Moses took part of the blood, holding a vial under it to catch it, and with it he anointed three parts of the body of the initiated priests — the tip of the ear, the extremity of the hand, and the extremity of the foot, all on the right side. Philo taught that this signified that the perfect person must be pure in every word and action, and in all of life, for it is the hearing that judges a person’s words, and the hand is the symbol of action, and the foot of the way in which a person walks in life. Philo taught that since each of these parts is an extremity of the body, and is likewise on the right side, this indicated that improvement in everything is to be arrived at by dexterity, being a portion of felicity, and being the true aim in life, which a person must necessarily labor to attain, and to which a person ought to refer all actions, aiming at them in life as an archer aims at a target.
In classical rabbinic interpretation
Leviticus chapter 6
Rabbi Simeon taught that, generally speaking, the Torah required a burnt offering only as expiation for sinful meditation of the heart. A Midrash taught that if people repent, it is accounted as if they had gone up to Jerusalem, built the Temple and the altars, and offered all the sacrifices ordained in the Torah. And Rabbi Aha said in the name of Rabbi Hanina ben Pappa that God accounts studying the sacrifices as equal to offering them.
The Mishnah taught that the intention of the priest conducting the sacrifice determined whether the offering would prove valid.
Rabbi Mani of Sheab and Rabbi Joshua of Siknin in the name of Rabbi Levi explained the origin of Leviticus 6:1. Moses prayed on Aaron’s behalf, noting that the beginning of Leviticus repeatedly referred to Aaron’s sons, barely mentioning Aaron himself. Moses asked whether God could love well water but hate the well. Moses noted that God honored the olive tree and the vine for the sake of their offspring, teaching that the priests could use all trees’ wood for the altar fire except that of the olive and vine. Moses thus asked God whether God might honor Aaron for the sake of his sons, and God replied that God would reinstate Aaron and honor him above his sons. And thus God said to Moses the words of Leviticus 6:1, “Command Aaron and his sons.”
The School of Rabbi Ishmael taught that whenever Scripture uses the word “command” (צַו, tzav) (as Leviticus 6:2 does), it denotes exhortation to obedience immediately and for all time. A Baraita deduced exhortation to immediate obedience from the use of the word “command” in Deuteronomy 3:28, which says, “charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him.” And the Baraita deduced exhortation to obedience for all time from the use of the word “command” in Numbers 15:23, which says, “even all that the Lord has commanded you by the hand of Moses, from the day that the Lord gave the commandment, and onward throughout your generations.”
Rabbi Joshua of Siknin said in Rabbi Levi's name that the wording of Leviticus 6:2 supports the argument of Rabbi Jose bar Hanina (on which he differed with Rabbi Eleazar) that the descendants of Noah offered only burnt-offerings (and not peace-offerings, as before the Revelation at Mount Sinai, people were unworthy to consume any part of an animal consecrated to God). Rabbi Joshua of Siknin noted that Leviticus 6:2 says, “This is the law of the burnt-offering: that is the burnt-offering,” which Rabbi Joshua of Siknin read to mean “that is the burnt-offering” that the Noahides used to offer. But when Leviticus 7:11 addresses peace-offerings, it says, “And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace-offerings,” and does not say, “that they offered” (which would indicate that they offered it in the past, before Revelation). Rabbi Joshua of Siknin thus read Leviticus 7:11 to teach that they would offer the peace-offering only after the events of Leviticus 7:11.
The Gemara interpreted the words in Leviticus 6:2, “This is the law of the burnt-offering: It is that which goes up on its firewood upon the altar all night into the morning.” From the passage, “which goes up on its firewood upon the altar all night,” the Rabbis deduced that once a thing had been placed upon the altar, it could not be taken down all night. Rabbi Judah taught that the words “This . . . goes up on . . . the altar all night” exclude three things. According to Rabbi Judah, they exclude (1) an animal slaughtered at night, (2) an animal whose blood was spilled, and (3) an animal whose blood was carried out beyond the curtains. Rabbi Judah taught that if any of these things had been placed on the altar, it was brought down. Rabbi Simeon noted that Leviticus 6:2 says “burnt-offering.” From this, Rabbi Simeon taught that one can only know that a fit burnt-offering remained on the altar. But Rabbi Simeon taught that the phrase “the law of the burnt-offering” intimates one law for all burnt-offerings, namely, that if they were placed on the altar, they were not removed. Rabbi Simeon taught that this law applied to animals that were slaughtered at night, or whose blood was spilt, or whose blood passed out of the curtains, or whose flesh spent the night away from the altar, or whose flesh went out, or were unclean, or were slaughtered with the intention of burning its flesh after time or out of bounds, or whose blood was received and sprinkled by unfit priests, or whose blood was applied below the scarlet line when it should have been applied above, or whose blood was applied above when it should have been applied below, or whose blood was applied outside when it should have been applied within, or whose blood was applied within when it should have been applied outside, or a Passover-offering or a sin-offering that one slaughtered for a different purpose. Rabbi Simeon suggested that one might think that law would also include an animal used for bestiality, set aside for an idolatrous sacrifice or worshipped, a harlot's hire or the price of a dog (as referred to in Deuteronomy 23:19), or a mixed breed, or a trefah (a torn or otherwise disqualified animal), or an animal calved through a cesarean section. But Rabbi Simeon taught that the word “This” serves to exclude these. Rabbi Simeon explained that he included the former in the general rule because their disqualification arose in the sanctuary, while he excluded the latter because their disqualification did not arise in the sanctuary.
The Gemara taught that it is from the words of Leviticus 6:2, “upon the altar all night into the morning,” that the Mishnah concludes that “the whole of the night is proper time for . . . burning fat and limbs (on the altar).” And the Mishnah then set forth as a general rule: “Any commandment which is to be performed by night may be performed during the whole of the night.”
The Rabbis taught a story reflecting the importance of the regular offering required by Leviticus 6:2: When the Hasmonean brothers Hyrcanus and Aristobulus were contending with one another, and one was within Jerusalem’s city wall and the other was outside, those within would let down a basket of money to their besiegers every day, and in return the besiegers would send up kosher animals for the regular sacrifices. But an old man among the besiegers argued that as long as those within were allowed to continue to perform sacrifices, they could not be defeated. So on the next day, when those inside sent down the basket of money, the besiegers sent up a pig. When the pig reached the center of the wall, it stuck its hooves into the wall, and an earthquake shook the entire Land of Israel. On that occasion, the Rabbis proclaimed a curse on those who bred pigs.
It was taught in the name of Rabbi Nehemiah that in obedience to Leviticus 6:2, the Israelites kept the fire burning in the altar for about 116 years, yet the wood of the altar did not burn, and the brass of the altar did not melt, even though it was taught in the name of Rabbi Hoshaiah that the metal was only as thick as a coin.
Rabbi Levi read Leviticus 6:2 homiletically to mean: “This is the law regarding a person striving to be high: It is that it goes up on its burning-place.” Thus Rabbi Levi read the verse to teach that a person who behaves boastfully should be punished by fire.
A Midrash deduced the importance of peace from the way that the listing of the individual sacrifices in Leviticus 6–7 concludes with the peace offering. Leviticus 6:2–6 gives “the law of the burnt-offering,” Leviticus 6:7–11 gives “the law of the meal-offering,” Leviticus 6:18–23 gives “the law of the sin-offering,” Leviticus 7:1–7 gives “the law of the guilt-offering,” and Leviticus 7:11–21 gives “the law of the sacrifice of peace-offerings.” Similarly, the Midrash found evidence for the importance of peace in the summary of Leviticus 7:37, which concludes with “the sacrifice of the peace-offering.”
A Baraita interpreted the term “his fitted linen garment” (מִדּוֹ, mido) in Leviticus 6:3 to teach that the each priestly garment in Exodus 28 had to be fitted to the particular priest, and had to be neither too short nor too long.
The Rabbis taught that through the word “this,” Aaron became degraded, as it is said in Exodus 32:22–24, “And Aaron said: ‘. . . I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf,’” and through the word “this,” Aaron was also elevated, as it is said in Leviticus 6:13, “This is the offering of Aaron and of his sons, which they shall offer to the Lord on the day when he is anointed” to become High Priest.
And noting the similarity of language between “This is the sacrifice of Aaron” in Leviticus 6:13 and “This is the sacrifice of Nahshon the son of Amminadab” and each of the other princes of the 12 tribes in Numbers 7:17–83, the Rabbis concluded that Aaron’s sacrifice was as beloved to God as the sacrifices of the princes of the 12 tribes.
A Midrash noted that the commandment of Leviticus 6:13 that Aaron offer sacrifices paralleled Samson’s riddle “out of the eater came forth food”, for Aaron was to eat the sacrifices, and by virtue of Leviticus 6:13, a sacrifice was to come from him.
Leviticus chapter 7
A Midrash read Psalm 50:23 to teach that the thanksgiving offerings of Leviticus 7:12 honored God more than sin offerings or guilt offerings. Similarly, Rabbi Phinehas compared the thanksgiving offerings of Leviticus 7:12 to the case of a king whose tenants and intimates came to pay him honor. From his tenants and entourage, the king merely collected their tribute. But when another who was neither a tenant nor a member of the king’s entourage came to offer him homage, the king offered him a seat. Thus Rabbi Phinehas read Leviticus 7:12 homiletically to mean: “If it be for a thanks giving, He [God] will bring him [the offerer] near [to God].” Rabbi Phinehas and Rabbi Levi and Rabbi Johanan said in the name of Rabbi Menahem of Gallia that in the Time to Come, all sacrifices will be annulled, but the thanksgiving sacrifice of Leviticus 7:12 will not be annulled, and all prayers will be annulled, but the Thanksgiving (מוֹדִים, Modim) prayer will not be annulled.
In reading the requirement of Leviticus 7:12 for the loaves of the thanksgiving sacrifice, the Mishnah interpreted that if one made them for oneself, then they were exempt from the requirement to separate challah, but if one made them to sell in the market, then they were subject to the requirement to separate challah.
The Mishnah taught that a vow-offering, as in Leviticus 7:16, was when one said, “It is incumbent upon me to bring a burnt-offering” (without specifying a particular animal). And a freewill-offering was when one said, “This animal shall serve as a burnt-offering” (specifying a particular animal). In the case of vow offerings, one was responsible for replacement of the animal if the animal died or was stolen; but in the case of freewill obligations, one was not held responsible for the animal’s replacement if the specified animal died or was stolen.
Rabbi Eliezer taught that the prohibition of eating the meat of a peace-offering on the third day in Leviticus 7:18 also applied to invalidate the sacrifice of one who merely intended to eat sacrificial meat on the third day.
A Baraita explained how the priests performed the waiving. A priest placed the sacrificial portions on the palm of his hand, the breast and thigh on top of the sacrificial portions, and whenever there was a bread offering, the bread on top of the breast and thigh. Rav Papa found authority for the Baraita’s teaching in Leviticus 8:26–27, which states that they placed the bread on top of the thigh. And the Gemara noted that Leviticus 10:15 implies that the breast and thigh were on top of the offerings of fat. But the Gemara noted that Leviticus 7:30 says that the priest “shall bring the fat upon the breast.” Abaye reconciled the verses by explaining that Leviticus 7:30 refers to the way that the priest brought the parts from the slaughtering place. The priest then turned them over and placed them into the hands of a second priest, who waived them. Noting further that Leviticus 9:20 says that “they put the fat upon the breasts,” the Gemara deduced that this second priest then handed the parts over to a third priest, who burned them. The Gemara thus concluded that these verses taught that three priests were required for this part of the service, giving effect to the teaching of Proverbs 14:28, “In the multitude of people is the king’s glory.”
Rabbi Aha compared the listing of Leviticus 7:37 to a ruler who entered a province escorting many bands of robbers as captives. Upon seeing the scene, one citizen expressed his fear of the ruler. A second citizen answered that as long as their conduct was good, they had no reason to fear. Similarly, when the Israelites heard the section of the Torah dealing with sacrifices, they became afraid. But Moses told them not to be afraid; if they occupied themselves with the Torah, they would have no reason to fear.
A Midrash asked why Leviticus 7:37 mentions peace-offerings last in its list of sacrifices, and suggested that it was because there are many kinds of peace-offerings. Rabbi Simon said that assorted desserts always come last, because they consist of many kinds of things.
Noting that Leviticus 7:37–38 says that “This is the law . . . that the Lord commanded Moses in mount Sinai,” Rabbi Judah ben Bathyra counted Leviticus 7:38 among 13 limiting phrases recorded in the Torah to inform us that God spoke not to Aaron but to Moses with instruction that he should tell Aaron. Rabbi Judah ben Bathyra taught that these 13 limiting phrases correspond to and limit 13 Divine communications recorded in the Torah as having been made to both Moses and Aaron.
Leviticus chapter 8
Rabbi Jose noted that even though Exodus 27:18 reported that the Tabernacle’s courtyard was just 100 cubits by 50 cubits (about 150 feet by 75 feet), a little space held a lot, as Leviticus 8:3 implied that the space miraculously held the entire Israelite people.
The Gemara taught that the early scholars were called soferim (related to the original sense of its root safar, “to count”) because they used to count all the letters of the Torah (to ensure the correctness of the text). They used to say the vav (ו) in גָּחוֹן, gachon (“belly”), in Leviticus 11:42 marks the half-way point of the letters in the Torah. (And in a Torah Scroll, scribes write that vav (ו) larger than the surrounding letters.) They used to say the words דָּרֹשׁ דָּרַשׁ, darosh darash (“diligently inquired”), in Leviticus 10:16 mark the half-way point of the words in the Torah. And they used to say Leviticus 13:33 marks the half-way point of the verses in the Torah. Rav Joseph asked whether the vav (ו) in גָּחוֹן, gachon (“belly”), in Leviticus 11:42 belonged to the first half or the second half of the Torah. (Rav Joseph presumed that the Torah contains an even number of letters.) The scholars replied that they could bring a Torah Scroll and count, for Rabbah bar bar Hanah said on a similar occasion that they did not stir from where they were until a Torah Scroll was brought and they counted. Rav Joseph replied that they (in Rabbah bar bar Hanah’s time) were thoroughly versed in the proper defective and full spellings of words (that could be spelled in variant ways), but they (in Rav Joseph’s time) were not. Similarly, Rav Joseph asked whether Leviticus 13:33 belongs to the first half or the second half of verses. Abaye replied that for verses, at least, we can bring a Scroll and count them. But Rav Joseph replied that even with verses, they could no longer be certain. For when Rav Aha bar Adda came (from the Land of Israel to Babylon), he said that in the West (in the Land of Israel), they divided Exodus 19:9 into three verses. Nonetheless, the Rabbis taught in a Baraita that there are 5,888 verses in the Torah. (Note that others say the middle letter in our current Torah text is the aleph (א) in הוּא, hu (“he”) in Leviticus 8:28; the middle two words are אֶל-יְסוֹד, el yesod (“at the base of”) in Leviticus 8:15; the half-way point of the verses in the Torah is Leviticus 8:7; and there are 5,846 verses in the Torah text we have today.)
The Sifra taught that the words “and put it upon the tip of Aaron’s right ear” in Leviticus 8:23 refer to the middle ridge of the ear. And the Sifra taught that the words “and upon the thumb of his right hand” in Leviticus 8:23 refer to the middle knuckle.
In modern interpretation
Leviticus chapter 8
Reading Leviticus 8:23, Professor Jacob Milgrom, formerly of the University of California, Berkeley, noted that abundant attestation exists of ritual daubing in the ancient Near East. The incantations recited during the ritual smearing of persons, gods’ statues, and buildings testify to a purificatory and apotropaic purpose — to wipe off and ward off menacing demonic forces. These ancient Near East applications always smear the vulnerable parts of bodies (extremities) and structures (corners, entrances) with magical substances. Milgrom concluded that the blood daubing of the altar’s extremities — its horns — closely resembles the blood daubing of the extremities of the priests in Leviticus 8:23–24. Milgrom also noted the correspondence of the dedicatory rite of Ezekiel’s altar to the daubing of the priests, for in Ezekiel 43:20, the purificatory blood is daubed not only on the altar’s horns but also on the corners of its two gutters, located at its middle and bottom. Milgrom argued that these points correspond to a person’s earlobe, thumb, and big toe. Milgrom concluded that these two rites shared the same purpose, which in the case of Ezekiel's altar Ezekiel 43:20 made explicit: “And you shall decontaminate it and thus purge it.” Similarly, Ezekiel 43:26 says that through it “they shall purge the altar and thus purify it.” Therefore, Milgrom concluded that the daubing of the priest at points of his body and the daubing of comparable points on the altar possessed a similar goal of purging.
- To remove the ashes from the altar every day
- To light a fire on the altar every day
- Not to extinguish this fire
- The priests must eat the remains of the meal offerings.
- Not to bake a meal offering as leavened bread
- The High Priest must bring a meal offering every day.
- Not to eat the meal offering of the High Priest
- To carry out the procedure of the sin offering
- Not to eat the meat of the inner sin offering
- To carry out the procedure of the guilt offering
- To follow the procedure of the peace offering
- Not to allow any of the thanksgiving offering to remain until the morning
- To burn the leftover korbanot
- Not to eat from korbanot offered with improper intentions
- Not to eat from korbanot that became impure
- To burn all impure korbanot
- Not to eat fat
- Not to eat blood
In the liturgy
Many Jews read excerpts from and allusions to the instructions in the parashah as part of the readings on the offerings after the Sabbath morning blessings. Specifically, Jews read the instructions for the taking of the ashes in Leviticus 6:1–6, read the instructions for the offerings in Leviticus 6:5, and allude to the thanksgiving offerings of Leviticus 7:12.
The prohibition in Leviticus 7:19–20 of eating of sacrificial meat by anyone ritually contaminated provides an application of the eighth of the Thirteen Rules for interpreting the Torah in the Baraita of Rabbi Ishmael that many Jews read as part of the readings before the Pesukei d’Zimrah prayer service. The rule provides that an item included in a generalization that is then singled out to teach something is singled out not to teach only about that particular item but about the generalization in its entirety. Leviticus 7:19 prohibits the eating of sacrificial meat by anyone ritually contaminated, and Leviticus 7:20 then singles out the peace offering and states that a contaminated person who eats the peace offering is subject to excision (כָּרֵת, kareit). Applying the eighth rule teaches that the punishment of excision applies to a contaminated person who eats any of the offerings.
Connection to the Parashah
Both the parashah and the haftarah refer to the burnt offering (עֹלָה, olah) and sacrifice (זֶבַח, zevach). In the haftarah, Jeremiah spoke of the priority of obedience to God’s law over ritual sacrifice alone.
On Shabbat HaGadol
When the parashah coincides with Shabbat HaGadol (the special Sabbath immediately before Passover — as it does in 2013, 2015, and 2017), the haftarah is Malachi 3:4–24. Shabbat HaGadol means “the Great Sabbath,” and the haftarah for the special Sabbath refers to a great day that God is preparing.
On Shabbat Zachor
When the parashah coincides with Shabbat Zachor (the special Sabbath immediately preceding Purim — as it does in 2014), the haftarah is:
Connection to the Special Sabbath
On Shabbat Zachor, the Sabbath just before Purim, Jews read Deuteronomy 25:17–19, which instructs Jews: “Remember (zachor) what Amalek did” in attacking the Israelites. The haftarah for Shabbat Zachor, 1 Samuel 15:2–34 or 1–34, describes Saul’s encounter with Amalek and Saul’s and Samuel’s tretament of the Amalekite king Agag. Purim, in turn, commemorates the story of Esther and the Jewish people’s victory over Haman’s plan to kill the Jews, told in the Book of Esther. Esther 3:1 identifies Haman as an Agagite, and thus a descendant of Amalek. Numbers 24:7 identifies the Agagites with the Amalekites. Alternatively, a Midrash tells the story that between King Agag’s capture by Saul and his killing by Samuel, Agag fathered a child, from whom Haman in turn descended.
The parashah has parallels or is discussed in these sources:
- Leviticus 14:14 (right ear, thumb of right hand, and great toe of right foot).
- Jeremiah 7:22–23 (preferring obedience to sacrifices).
- Hosea 14:3 (the offering of our lips instead of bulls).
- Psalm 20:4 (burnt offerings); 26:6 (washing before the altar); 40:7 (sacrifices); 50:3–23 (sacrifices of thanksgiving); 51:16–19 (sacrifices); 66:13–15 (burnt offerings); 93:5 (God’s holy place); 107:22 (sacrifices of thanksgiving); 116:17 (sacrifices of thanksgiving); 133:2 (anointing Aaron).
- Philo. Allegorical Interpretation 3:45:129, 46:133, 50:147; On the Migration of Abraham 12:67; Who Is the Heir of Divine Things? 36:174; On the Life of Moses 2:29:150; The Special Laws 1:41:225, 43:240, 46:254, 52:285. Alexandria, Egypt, early 1st Century C.E.. Reprinted in, e.g., The Works of Philo: Complete and Unabridged, New Updated Edition. Translated by Charles Duke Yonge, pages 65, 67, 259, 290, 504, 555, 557–58, 561. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1993. ISBN 0-943575-93-1.
- Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 3:9:1–4, 11:2; 4:8:9, 11:1; 8:8:4. Circa 93–94. Reprinted in, e.g., The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged, New Updated Edition. Translated by William Whiston, pages 94–95. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1987. ISBN 0-913573-86-8.
- Mishnah: Challah 1:6; Orlah 2:16–17; Bikkurim 2:7–10; Shekalim 1:4, 7:6; Zevachim 1:1–14:10; Menachot 1:1–13:11; Chullin 7:1, 10:1; Keritot 1:1. Land of Israel, circa 200 C.E. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, pages 149, 164, 171, 252, 263, 699–765, 779, 784, 836. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988. ISBN 0-300-05022-4.
- Tosefta: Demai 2:7-8; Challah 2:7-8; Pisha (Pesachim) 8:9; Megillah 3:21; Sotah 13:7; Bava Kamma 10:13; Shevuot 2:10; 3:1, 6; Zevachim 1:1–13:20; Menachot 1:1–13:23; Oktzin 3:3. Land of Israel, circa 300 C.E. Reprinted in, e.g., The Tosefta: Translated from the Hebrew, with a New Introduction. Translated by Jacob Neusner, volume 1, pages 85–86, 339, 511, 650, 886; volume 2, pages 1012, 1227, 1229, 1231, 1307–70, 1407–68, 1925. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Pub., 2002. ISBN 1-56563-642-2.
- Sifra 70:1–98:9. Land of Israel, 4th Century C.E. Reprinted in, e.g., Sifra: An Analytical Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, volume 2, pages 1–119. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1988. ISBN 1-55540-206-2.
- Jerusalem Talmud: Orlah 33b, 34b; Bikkurim 12b, 25a; Shabbat 18b; Pesachim 13a–14a, 36b–37a, 44a, 56b–57a, 63b, 64b, 78a; Yoma 1a, 2a, 3a–b, 6a, 11a–b, 12a, 21b, 30b–31a, 32a, 39a, 49b; Sukkah 14a; Megillah 16a–b, 18b, 26a; Moed Katan 17a. Land of Israel, circa 400 C.E. Reprinted in, e.g., Talmud Yerushalmi. Edited by Chaim Malinowitz, Yisroel Simcha Schorr, and Mordechai Marcus, volumes 12–13, 18–19, 21–22, 26, 28. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 2007–2013.
- Leviticus Rabbah 7:1–10:9. Land of Israel, 5th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Leviticus. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 4, pages 89–134. London: Soncino Press, 1939. ISBN 0-900689-38-2.
- Babylonian Talmud: Shabbat 111a, 114a, 132a; Pesachim 3a, 16a–b, 19a, 23a–24b, 26a, 27b, 35a, 37a, 38b, 43b, 45a, 58a–59b, 63b, 65b, 71b, 79a, 82a–83a, 95b–96a; Yoma 2a–b, 4a, 5a–b, 7a, 12b, 20a, 21a, 23b–24a, 25a, 28a, 33a–34a, 45a–b, 46b–47a, 59b–60a, 74a–b; Sukkah 43a, 47b, 55b–56a; Beitzah 19b, 21a; Rosh Hashanah 5b–6a; Taanit 11b; Megillah 9b, 20b, 23b; Moed Katan 9a, 15b; Chagigah 7b, 10b, 24a, 26b; Yevamot 7a, 39b–40a, 68b, 72b, 74b, 81a, 82a, 87a, 100a; Ketubot 5b, 25a, 106b; Nedarim 10b, 12a–b, 25a, 36a; Nazir 37b–38a; Sotah 14b–15a, 19a, 23a–b, 29a–b; Kiddushin 29a, 30a, 36b, 51a, 53a, 55b; Bava Kamma 5a, 13a, 41a, 82b, 110b, 111a; Bava Metzia 3b, 55a; Bava Batra 106b; Sanhedrin 34a, 42b, 61b; Makkot 13a, 14b, 17a–b, 18b; Shevuot 6b–7a, 11a, 15a–b, 29a, 38a; Avodah Zarah 34a–b, 76a; Horayot 3a, 9a, 11b–12a; Zevachim 2a–120b; Menachot 2a–110a; Chullin 22a, 23b, 36b–37a, 39a, 45a, 74b–75a, 81b, 99a, 101a, 117a–b, 120a, 130a, 131b, 132b–33b, 134b; Bekhorot 15a, 30b, 33b, 39a; Arakhin 3b–4a; Temurah 14a, 18a–b, 23a, 32b; Keritot 2a, 4a–b, 5a–6a, 20b–21b, 22b, 23b, 27a; Meilah 2a, 5a–6b, 9a, 10a, 11b–12a; Tamid 28a–29a, 30a; Niddah 6b, 40a–41a. Babylonia, 6th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., Talmud Bavli. Edited by Yisroel Simcha Schorr, Chaim Malinowitz, and Mordechai Marcus, 72 volumes. Brooklyn: Mesorah Pubs., 2006.
- Rashi. Commentary. Leviticus 6–8. Troyes, France, late 11th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., Rashi. The Torah: With Rashi’s Commentary Translated, Annotated, and Elucidated. Translated and annotated by Yisrael Isser Zvi Herczeg, volume 3, pages 59–92. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 1994. ISBN 0-89906-028-5.
- Judah Halevi. Kuzari. 2:80. Toledo, Spain, 1130–1140. Reprinted in, e.g., Jehuda Halevi. Kuzari: An Argument for the Faith of Israel. Introduction by Henry Slonimsky, page 133. New York: Schocken, 1964. ISBN 0-8052-0075-4.
- Zohar 2:236b, 238b; 3:27a–35b, 37a, 87a, 107b, 213a. Spain, late 13th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., The Zohar. Translated by Harry Sperling and Maurice Simon. 5 vols. London: Soncino Press, 1934.
- Thomas Hobbes. Leviathan, 3:40, 42. England, 1651. Reprint edited by C. B. Macpherson, pages 503–04, 572. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Classics, 1982. ISBN 0-14-043195-0.
- Louis Ginzberg. Legends of the Jews, volume 3, pages 179–81. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1911.
- George Buchanan Gray. Sacrifice in the Old Testament: Its Theory and Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1925. Reprinted by Ktav Publishing House, 1971.
- Roland De Vaux. Studies in Old Testament Sacrifice. University of Wales Press, 1964. ISBN 0708303463.
- Jacob Milgrom. “Sacrifices and Offerings, OT,” and “Wave offering.” In The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible. Supp. volume, pages 763–71, 944–46. Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon, 1976. ISBN 0-687-19269-2.
- David P. Wright. “The Disposal of Impurity: Elimination Rites in the Bible and in Hittite and Mesopotamian Literature.” Society of Biblical Literature Dissertation Studies. 101 (1987):34–36.
- Jacob Milgrom. Leviticus 1–16, volume 3, pages 378–569. New York: Anchor Bible, 1998. ISBN 0-385-11434-6.
- Mary Douglas. Leviticus as Literature, pages 20, 71, 76–77, 83–84, 113, 120, 123, 125–26, 128, 134, 150, 166, 187, 199, 203, 224, 231, 239, 244, 249–51. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-19-924419-7.
- Suzanne A. Brody. “A Woman’s Portion.” In Dancing in the White Spaces: The Yearly Torah Cycle and More Poems, page 86. Shelbyville, Kentucky: Wasteland Press, 2007. ISBN 1-60047-112-9.
- "Torah Stats — VaYikra". Akhlah Inc. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
- See, e.g., The Schottenstein Edition Interlinear Chumash: Vayikra/Leviticus. Edited by Menachem Davis, 30–51. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 2008. ISBN 1-4226-0206-0.
- Leviticus 6:1.
- Leviticus 6:2–4.
- Leviticus 6:5–6.
- Leviticus 6:7–11.
- Leviticus 6:12–16.
- Leviticus 6:17–22.
- Leviticus 6:23.
- Leviticus 7:1–7.
- Leviticus 7:8.
- Leviticus 7:9–10.
- Leviticus 7:11–14.
- Leviticus 7:15.
- Leviticus 7:16–18.
- Leviticus 7:19.
- Leviticus 7:20–21.
- Leviticus 7:22–27.
- Leviticus 7:28–34.
- Leviticus 8:1–5.
- Leviticus 8:6–9.
- Leviticus 8:10–13.
- Leviticus 8:14–15.
- Leviticus 8:15–17.
- Leviticus 8:18–19.
- Leviticus 8:19–21.
- Leviticus 8:22–23.
- Leviticus 8:23–24.
- Leviticus 8:25–28.
- Leviticus 8:29.
- Leviticus 8:30.
- Leviticus 8:31–36.
- For more on inner-Biblical interpretation, see, e.g., Benjamin D. Sommer. “Inner-biblical Interpretation.” In The Jewish Study Bible. Edited by Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler, pages 1829–35. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-19-529751-2.
- Philo. On the Life of Moses 2:29:150. Alexandria, Egypt, early 1st century CE. Reprinted in, e.g., The Works of Philo: Complete and Unabridged, New Updated Edition. Translated by Charles Duke Yonge, page 504. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1993. ISBN 0-943575-93-1.
- Mishnah Zevachim 1:1–14:10. Land of Israel, circa 200 CE. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, pages 699–732. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988. ISBN 0-300-05022-4. Tosefta Zevachim 1:1–13:20. Babylonian Talmud Zevachim 2a–120b.
- Leviticus Rabbah 7:3. Land of Israel, 5th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Leviticus. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 4, page 93. London: Soncino Press, 1939. ISBN 0-900689-38-2.
- Leviticus Rabbah 7:2. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Leviticus. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 4, pages 91–92.
- Leviticus Rabbah 7:3. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Leviticus. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 4, pages 93–94.
- Mishnah Zevachim 1:1–2:5. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, 699–703.
- See Leviticus 1:5, 7, 8, 11; 2:2; 3:2, 5, 8, 13.
- See Mishnah Tamid 2:3. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, pages 864–65. Babylonian Talmud Tamid 29a.
- Leviticus Rabbah 7:1. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Leviticus. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 4, pages 89–90.
- Leviticus Rabbah 7:4. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Leviticus. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 4, pages 95–96.
- Babylonian Talmud Kiddushin 29a.
- Genesis Rabbah 22:5. See also Genesis Rabbah 34:9.
- Babylonian Talmud Zevachim 27b.
- Mishnah Megillah 2:6. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 320. Babylonian Talmud Megillah 20b.
- Babylonian Talmud Megillah 21a.
- Mishnah Megillah 2:6. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 320. Babylonian Talmud Megillah 20b.
- Babylonian Talmud Bava Kamma 82b.
- Leviticus Rabbah 7:5. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Leviticus. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 4, pages 96–97.
- Leviticus Rabbah 7:6. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Leviticus. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 4, pages 97–98.
- Leviticus Rabbah 9:9. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Leviticus. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 4, pages 115, 119–20.
- Babylonian Talmud Zevachim 35a.
- Mishnah Menachot 1:1–13:11. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, pages 732–65. Tosefta Menachot 1:1–13:23. Babylonian Talmud Menachot 2a–110a.
- Leviticus Rabbah 8:1. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Leviticus. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 4, pages 100–01.
- Leviticus Rabbah 8:3. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Leviticus. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 4, pages 103–04.
- Judges 14:14
- Leviticus Rabbah 8:2. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Leviticus. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 4, pages 102–03.
- Leviticus Rabbah 9:1. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Leviticus. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 4, page 106.
- Leviticus Rabbah 9:4. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Leviticus. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 4, page 110.
- Leviticus Rabbah 9:7. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Leviticus. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 4, page 114.
- Mishnah Challah 1:6. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 149.
- Mishnah Kinnim 1:1. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 883.
- Babylonian Talmud Zevachim 29a.
- Mishnah Chullin 7:1. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, pages 778–79. Babylonian Talmud Chullin 89b.
- Babylonian Talmud Menachot 62a.
- Leviticus Rabbah 9:8. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Leviticus. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 4, pages 114–15.
- Leviticus Rabbah 9:8. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Leviticus. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 4, pages 114–15.
- Numbers Rabbah 14:19.
- Genesis Rabbah 5:7.
- Tosefta Megillah 3:21.
- Babylonian Talmud Kiddushin 30a.
- E.g., Michael Pitkowsky, “The Middle Verse of the Torah” and the response of Reuven Wolfeld there.
- Sifra Sav Mekhilta DeMiluim 98:8:5. Land of Israel, 4th century CE. Reprinted in, e.g., Sifra: An Analytical Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, volume 2, page 115. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1988. ISBN 1-55540-206-2.
- Babylonian Talmud Ketubot 5b. Reprinted in, e.g., Talmud Bavli. Elucidated by Abba Zvi Naiman and Mendy Wachsman; edited by Yisroel Simcha Schorr and Chaim Malinowitz, volume 26, page 5b1. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 1999. ISBN 1-57819-625-6.
- Jacob Milgrom. Leviticus: A Continental Commentary, page 85 and note 26. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004. ISBN 0-8006-9514-3. (citing, e.g., Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament. Edited by James B. Pritchard, page 338. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969. ISBN 0-691-03503-2. David P. Wright. “The Disposal of Impurity: Elimination Rites in the Bible and in Hittite and Mesopotamian Literature.” Society of Biblical Literature Dissertation Studies. 101 (1987):34–36.).
- Jacob Milgrom. Leviticus: A Continental Commentary, pages 85–86.
- Sefer HaHinnuch: The Book of [Mitzvah] Education. Translated by Charles Wengrov, 2:73–131. Jerusalem: Feldheim Pub., 1984. ISBN 0-87306-296-5.
- Leviticus 6:3.
- Leviticus 6:6.
- Leviticus 6:6.
- Leviticus 6:9.
- Leviticus 6:10.
- Leviticus 6:13.
- Leviticus 6:16.
- Leviticus 6:18.
- Leviticus 6:23.
- Leviticus 7:1.
- Leviticus 7:11.
- Leviticus 7:15.
- Leviticus 7:17.
- Leviticus 7:18.
- Leviticus 7:19.
- Leviticus 7:19.
- Leviticus 7:23.
- Leviticus 7:26.
- Menachem Davis. The Schottenstein Edition Siddur for the Sabbath and Festivals with an Interlinear Translation, 217–19. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 2002. ISBN 1-57819-697-3.
- Davis, at 231.
- Davis, at 240.
- Davis. Siddur for the Sabbath and Festivals, at 244–45.
- Reuven Hammer. Or Hadash: A Commentary on Siddur Sim Shalom for Shabbat and Festivals, 19. New York: The Rabbinical Assembly, 2003. ISBN 0-916219-20-8.
- Leviticus 6:1–6; 7:11–18; Jeremiah 7:21.
- Jeremiah 7:22–23.
- Malachi 3:17–23.
- Deuteronomy 25:17.
- Esther 1:1–10:3.
- Seder Eliyahu Rabbah ch. 20. Targum Sheni to Esther 4:13.