Thanksgiving Menu: Tzav 2018

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: When have you been unsure whether an occasion requires the giving of gifts? Did you give a gift anyway, just to be on the safe side? If not, why not?

As the list of sacrificial offerings continue in the text of Leviticus, we are given strict directions of how to show our appreciation to God:

The Pitch: “If he offers it for thanksgiving, he shall offer together with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes with oil mixed in, unleavened wafers spread with oil, and cakes of choice flour with oil mixed in, well soaked.” – Leviticus 7:12

Swing #1: “As for him who was fortunate enough never to have sinned even in error so that he need not offer any other sacrifices, he is duty-bound to make an offering of thanksgiving to demonstrate his gratitude to God for having protected him from sin.” – Divrei Shaarei Hayyim

Swing #2: “If a person had made a vow using the expression todah instead of using the expression sh’lamim to describe what he vowed to bring. The most common occasion when people make such a vow is when they have been saved from imminent danger. The sages in Berachot 54 described the four types of dangers which qualify for the party who has been saved to offer such a “thanksgiving” offering, todah. The total number of challot which this offering consists of are 40. Here we are told all the details.” – Rashbam

Swing #3: “Though all sacrifices may be discontinued in the future (for, in the messianic age, men will be sinless), the offering of thanksgiving will never cease. Though all prayers may be discontinued, the prayer of thanksgiving will never cease.” – Leviticus Rabbah

Late-Inning Questions: How do our commentators differ on the reasons to offer a Thanksgiving offering? How do they understand the significance of such offerings? Do you think these offerings are appreciated by God? Who appreciates gifts more: the giver or the receiver?

On-Deck at Emanu-El: As our Passover preparation continues, don’t forget to think of those who lack sufficient funds for daily nourishment. We are available to sell your hametz (leavened food) prior to the beginning of Passover, and if you do, please consider making a donation to MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. We’ll be happy to help you out up until the morning of Friday, March 30th.

The Big Inning at the End: There’s a growing concern that many current contending teams do so by losing a lot for several years, then building slowly with young talent. My Cubs are a primary example. Is this just the way of the world, or do teams owe it to their fans to try to win without rebuilding?

Shabbat Shalom!