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Defeating Laziness with Zeal

by Chaim Kramer

This week’s parsha is Tzav, detailing several services in the Temple/Sanctuary, such as removing the ashes from the altar and certain sacrifices such as the Mincha sacrifice of the High Priest and the Asham (sin-offering) necessities. It also addresses certain laws of purity and impurity, concluding with Moshe Rabbeinu serving in the Sanctuary over the seven days of its consecration.

We will focus on the parsha’s opening, which states, “Tzav et Aharon…” – “Command to Aharon…” The Midrash teaches, “Tzav (a Command) is only meant to encourage those who are [already] encouraged [to be zealous and complete their mission].”

For a lazy person, no amount of encouragement or incentives can truly help. It is necessary to first desire to accomplish something in life. Whatever it is we want, we have to get up and do. We have to make attempts at achieving our goals.

It’s one thing to say “I will do this or that.” It’s another to finalize or complete our attempts. Rebbe Nachman teaches that the main thing is one’s will. He said, “According to God’s greatness, who can say he serves Him?”

There are chief-of-staffs, high-level managers, and others who serve very important individuals (e.g., presidents, prime ministers, kings, etc.). It’s an important position. But how great are those people? Yet those who serve them are in awe of the power they possess.

But HaShem? He is Infinite! He is truly great! How can a mere human being say he is serving HaShem? Even angels can’t really attain that awesome level! Who can say, “I am serving HaShem?” The answer is, “I want to serve HaShem.” My will is to be a devotee to Him.

That’s when Hashem’s command, tzav, comes into play. I will overcome my natural tendency to be lazy. I will put effort into my devotions. I will try to pray with concentration. I will try to study. I will pursue good deeds to perform.

Then I am a zealous person who wants to achieve and serve HaShem, no matter how small or insignificant I may be, because He is so great; just wanting to draw close to Him is of great value.

Have a great Shabbos!

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