Parshat Tzav: On living hastefully

Over the past few years, our Bnei Machshava Tova chabura in Efrat has been privileged to learn the writings of Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, the Piazetzner Rebbe, a prominent spiritual and communal leader in the Warsaw Ghetto. We were blessed to learn through Tzav V’Ziruz, a compilation of the Rebbe’s personal diary entries that were written between 1928-1939. The pearls of wisdom hidden within these pages offer a glimpse of what was transpiring in the deepest chambers of the Piazetzner Rebbe’s heart. 

We spent a considerable amount of time exploring the title of the diary – Tzav V’Ziruz – literally translated as “Commandment and Haste.” 

צַו אֶת-אַהֲרֹן וְאֶת-בָּנָיו לֵאמֹר, זֹאת תּוֹרַת הָעֹלָה”

Command Aaron and his sons, saying: This is the law of the burnt-offering” (Leviticus 6:2)

When expounding upon the opening words of this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Tzav, Rashi explains that “אין צו אלא לשון זירוז” – the word tzav implies urgency. When Hashem instructs Moshe to command Ahron and his sons regarding the burnt-offering sacrifice, he’s not just telling them what to do; he’s urging them to do it immediately. 

Most of us go through life under the assumption that we have all the time in the world, blissfully ignorant of our own mortality. It is only when we come face to face with death or return home from a funeral that we realize we should probably get a move on. One day our time will come. It is inevitable. 

While we may not have the ability to hear God’s voice, at the moments in our lives when we feel God sending us a message, one way or another, it always comes with a sense of urgency. When we hear a clear calling, it is never a casual suggestion to consider rolling back to when the time is right. “Do it now,” God begs of us. “I have so much more for you to do.”

This haste echoes the manner in which the Jewish people left Egypt so many years ago. We didn’t even have time to let the dough rise. If we had spent too much time considering the implications, planning the route, or plotting the details of our escape, we never would have left at all. As we approach Seder night once again, we have the ability to tap into this transformative energy. We can learn how to turn tzav into ziruz – how to hear Divine commandments and bring them down into swift and decisive actions in this world.

This year, we transition directly from Shabbat Parshat Tzav into Leil Haseder. Perhaps more than ever before, we can see the connection between these concepts. May we all emerge from the Seder with both a true understanding of our purpose and the energy to fulfill it through real work in this world – starting now.

Good Shabbos & Chag Kasher V’Sameach

Shlomo Katz

About the Author
Born in New Jersey, while growing up between Los Angeles and Ra'anana. I released a number of albums, and have been blessed to sing some of my melodies throughout the world. Received rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Chaim Brovender and Rabbi Shlomo Riskin at Yeshivat Hamivtar. We live in Efrat, with our precious son and four daughters. Spiritual leader of Beit Knesset Shirat David, in Efrat, where I get to pray and learn with some of my best friends. Founder of the Shlomo Katz project.
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