Ben-Tzion Spitz
Former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay

The Two Portals (Tzav)

Two Portals (AI-generated illustration by BSpitz)
Two Portals (AI-generated illustration by BSpitz)

I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it. — Morpheus

Two Portals (AI-generated illustration by BSpitz)

The Torah portion of Tzav has God telling Moses to command his brother Aaron, the High Priest, as to the service of the Tabernacle sacrifices. The Bat Ayin on Leviticus 6:2 wonders why the stronger term “Tzav” (command) is used, as opposed to “Daber” (speak).

The Bat Ayin explains that it has to do with the very creation of existence. God created the universe with an underlying attribute of justice. The firm foundation of justice is reflected in the stronger language of “command.” However, God saw that the world could not continue to run exclusively with strict justice, so He also introduced the attribute of mercy and kindness. Justice is reflected in the awe or fear one should have of God, while kindness is reflected in the love we should have for God.

By way of explanation, the Bat Ayin references a Talmudic dictum that states: “A person should always enter two doorways into the synagogue” (Tractate Berachot 8a). The Talmud itself finds the statement to be unclear. What does it mean to “enter two doorways”? How does one enter two doorways? What if the synagogue has only one doorway? The Talmud explains the line to mean that a person should enter at least the length of two doorways into the synagogue. One should not hang around by the entrance as if either isn’t sure they want to stay or is ready for a quick departure.

The Bat Ayin, however, focuses on the original language of the dictum, that there are indeed two separate portals that a person should go through to approach God. The correct entry to God is through two different doors. There is the door of awe and there is the door of love. That is what it means that one should always enter into the synagogue through two doorways. We need to feel proper awe, respect and trepidation when approaching God. At the same time, we need to seek closeness, tenderness, and love, when coming close to the Almighty.

By entering these two portals simultaneously, we increase the chances of that divine connection occurring.

May we increase both our awe and love of God.

Shabbat Shalom,



To The Dragon Haggadah. A new, experimental Haggadah designed for Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) players and their families. It weaves some light roleplaying, riddles, puzzles and D&D action into the text and rites of the Seder night. First draft and free for download. Please share with people who would be interested.

The Dragon Haggadah cover by BSpitz
About the Author
Ben-Tzion Spitz is the former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay. He is the author of six books of Biblical Fiction and hundreds of articles and stories dealing with biblical themes. He is the publisher of Torah.Works, a website dedicated to the exploration of classic Jewish texts, as well as TweetYomi, which publishes daily Torah tweets on Parsha, Mishna, Daf, Rambam, Halacha, Tanya and Emuna. Ben-Tzion is a graduate of Yeshiva University and received his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University.
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