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Command Post

The word or perhaps more precisely the command appears for the first time in the so named portion of this week. – Tzav- command. This year the call is rather superfluous if not disconcerting, as it has dominated our lives since October 7th. The “Tzav” expressed through Tzav 8, the term used to refer to the  emergency call-up notice that summons Israelis away from their day-to-day life – studies, work, family – and back into uniform. Tzav Hasha’a the urgent call of the hour, which has spurred all of us into action in truly inspirational ways. The term also resonates for 17 and 18 year olds who receive their Tzav Rishon– the first notification for the initial step in the army’s drafting process. Perhaps the timing nonetheless is felicitous this week, as finally the Tzav will be heard by a population that for too long has chosen to ignore it.

Recognizing that this is the debut for the phrase in this form, the commentators provide a remarkable insight; The expression “Command ” always implies an urging on to carry out the directive, implying too, that it comes into force at once, and is binding upon future generations. Fascinatingly in the Talmud Kiddushin 29a the original proof texts that emboldens the sages to make this claim, refers to God’s command to Abraham, Bereishit 21:4;

 וַיָּ֤מל אַבְרָהָם֙ אֶת־יִצְחָ֣ק בְּנ֔וֹ בֶּן־שְׁמֹנַ֖ת יָמִ֑ים כַּאֲשֶׁ֛ר צִוָּ֥ה אֹת֖וֹ אֱלֹהִֽים׃ 

And when his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God had commanded him.

Additional examples are also brought in the Talmudic passage in Kiddushin. The second being even more poignant in these agonizing times; “The Gemara elaborates: From where is it derived that the term “command” indicates a galvanization as well  as being binding for future generations? As it is written: וְצַו אֶת יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וְחַזְּקֵהוּ וְאַמְּצֵהוּ

“And command Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him” (Deuteronomy 3:28). In this context, the term “command” is not referring to a specific command or action but is a general expression of galvanization. -A Calling of the Hour, in all times.

It becomes a timeless and timely call to remain strong with determination. Almost six months after October 7th, we indeed desperately need these forms of Tzav, holding us and giving us the necessary courage and resilience to see and renew our days that will bring good tidings, speedily. 

Shabbat shalom

About the Author
Shalom Orzach is a senior educator and consultant for the iCenter and serves on faculty for the Foundation for Jewish Camp. He was a scholar on the prestigious Jerusalem Fellows Program, following which he was the Executive Director for Jewish Renewal at the UJIA in England. Shalom is an acclaimed public speaker on contemporary Israel who brings extensive knowledge, humor and passion.
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