In our parsha this week, we see Moshe using a new term to address the nation with the demands placed upon them by Hashem. The previous instances were introduced with Viadaber, Daber, Emor and others that imply a chiuv to act, but now we are commanded with Tzav. Why the stronger call to action?
The simple meaning, according to Rashi, is that the korban under discussion was burned entirely on the altar rather than a portion being given to the kohein to eat. Since this offering was brought “for free” by the temple priests, perhaps they would lose some enthusiasm for the mitzvah. Thus, the strong commandment.
My wedding to a wonderful frum girl fell during this parsha and, as I always do, it was important to look into it and see if there was a connection between the strong imperative of Tzav and the responsibilities of a new marriage. Turns out there is a message to live by hidden in the moment.
In the same way that the kohein worked without expectation of reward in the bringing of this particular korban, so it is in marriage. This is not a relationship that flourishes in selfishness. Rather, we do the right thing out of love and a desire to please our spouse.
The message of Tzav is that my wife does not exist exclusively to fulfill my needs. The healthier approach that came to me when pondering this parsha is that a successful marriage must be one in which we strive to provide support and kindness, without expecting anything in return.
Maybe that’s why the Jewish People are called a “Nation of Priests” because we treat the ordinary as holy and keep our focus on what is truly important.