Sign In Forgot Password

From the Rabbi - Mar 28, 2024

Rabbi Chaitovsky

This week we have a double header Torah portion – our regular reading, Tzav, and a special selection from the beginning of Chukat, referred to as Parashat Parah, the portion of the (Red) Cow. You will hear me speak of the Red Cow this Shabbat, but I wanted to share an insight growing out of the way Tzav describes a particular sacrifice, called the todah – thanksgiving offering.

The todah is one of a group of sacrifices called shelamim. As a general rule, these sacrifices could be eaten by the one who offered them on the day they were brought through the next day . The todah offering, which was brought in thanks to God after being saved from a dangerous situation, could be eaten ONLY on the day it was brought through that night. The leftovers were not allowed to be eaten the subsequent day. Also, unlike the other peace offerings, the thanksgiving offering was also different in that it was required to be accompanied by 40 loaves of bread.

Why the differences?

Torah commenatator Seforno suggests that the increased amount of food and decreased amount of time to eat it incentivized the inviting of guests. Unlike other sacrifices which may be more private in nature, the ideal thanksgiving offering is a public endeavor. The social setting allowed the benefactor of God’s graces to recall the details of God’s wonderous deeds to a larger audience, hence making “God’s name great” amongst the other invitees at the meal.

Studies have shown that people who demonstrate gratefulness and thanks when circumstances call for that will be more likely to “pay it forward” and make the effort to extend themselves to others in need. You can read about this more fully in Emotional Success: The Power of Gratitude, Compassion, and Pride, by Dr David DeSteno.

It is noteworthy that that the original Passover Offering – Korban Pesach, also needed to be consumed in an even more restricted time frame, at the seder meal that evening. Once again, sharing the meal with many guests was the only way to accomplish that. Even today, with no sacrifices being offered and no real time limits on the seder meal, their seems to be a natural desire to have family and friends gather together around the seder table to enjoy each other’s company, to retell the story of the Exodus and to enjoy delicious foods, all as a way to express our thanks to God for what was done then…and to express our confidence and faith that God continues to do things for our benefit.

On that note, if there is room at your seder table for a guest or two – or if you are looking for a seder to attend – please contact our office and make your wishes known. We will make every effort to match guests with hosts to spread the Pesach spirit and to encourage all to offer thanks – todah to God Above.

Shabbat shalom…and see you in shul!

Thu, April 18 2024 10 Nisan 5784