Tzav – The Constancy of His Kindnesses 

Among the various karbanos called shelamim, two are very limited regarding when their meat and accompaniments must be consumed – the day they are offered. Regular shelamim are permitted double that window of time.

The two are the korban Pesach and, in our parsha, the korban todah, the “thanksgiving” offering. The latter, like the former, is offered in response to having been saved from a dire situation. The Gemara (Brachos 54b), citing Tehillim 107, gives the examples of 1) going to sea, 2) traveling in a desert, 3) enduring a serious illness and 4) being confined to prison.

Interestingly, the Jewish national thanksgiving which is Pesach involves all of those categories. A sea had to be crossed, a desert, subsequently, had to be traveled, Egypt is described as having been a virtual prison, and the Jewish people are described as having sunk to the lowest spiritual level in Egypt – a sickness of the national soul.

Why the one-day limit? Rav Yitzchak Meir Alter, the Gerer Rebbe known as the Chidushei HaRim, explains that it is to impress upon the offeror – and all of us – that heavenly salvations are daily occurrences. Whether we perceive them or not.

All of us can recall close calls we’ve had in our pasts. Each was a salvation.

But getting up in the morning rather than expiring in our sleep is also a salvation. Making our way through our day without tripping and hurting ourselves or being mugged or worse is a salvation. Driving from point A to point B without an interaction with a drunk driver is a salvation…

As we recite in Modim, the Amidah’s bracha of “acknowledgment” or “thanksgiving”: “[We thank You] for Your miracles that are with us every day…”

So needing to eat the korban todah within one day – according to the chachamim, in order to avoid problems, by midnight – impresses us with the constancy of Hashem’s kindnesses.

Something to think about on the seder nights as we rush to consume the afikoman – the stand-in for the korban Pesach – before midnight.

© 2024 Rabbi Avi Shafran

My most recent Ami column, “Exposed!”, lichovod Purim, can be read here.

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