:"For the town in Armenia, see Tsav, Armenia."Tzav, Tsav, Zav, or Sav (צו — Hebrew for "command,” the sixth word, and the first distinctive word, in the parshah) is the 25th weekly Torah portion ("parshah") in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the second in the book of Leviticus. It constitutes Leviticus [ 6.1–8:36.] Jews in the Diaspora read it the 24th or 25th Sabbath after Simchat Torah, generally in March or early April.

The parshah teaches how the priests performed the sacrifices and describes the ordination of Aaron and his sons.



God told Moses to command Aaron and the priests about the rituals of the sacrifices ("korbanot" in Hebrew). ( [ Lev. 6:1.] )

The burnt offering ("'olah") was to burn on the altar until morning, when the priest was to clear the ashes to a place outside the camp. ( [ Lev. 6:2–4.] ) The priests were to keep the fire burning, every morning feeding it wood. ( [ Lev. 6:5–6.] )

The meal offering ("mincha") was to be presented before the altar, a handful of it burned on the altar, and the balance eaten by the priests as unleavened cakes in the Tent of Meeting. ( [ Lev. 6:7–11.] ) On the occasion of the High Priest’s anointment, the meal offering was to be prepared with oil on a griddle and then entirely burned on the altar. ( [ Lev. 6:12–16.] )

The sin offering ("chattat") was to be slaughtered at the same place as the burnt offering, and the priest who offered it was to eat it in the Tent of Meeting. ( [ Lev. 6:17–22.] ) If blood of the sin offering was brought into the Tent of Meeting for expiation, the entire offering was to be burned on the altar. ( [ Lev. 6:23.] )

The guilt offering ("asham") was to be slaughtered at the same place as the burnt offering, the priest was to dash its blood on the altar, burn its fat, broad tail, kidneys, and protuberance on the liver on the altar, and the priest who offered it was to eat the balance of its meat in the Tent of Meeting. ( [ Lev. 7:1–7.] )

The priest who offered a burnt offering kept the skin. ( [ Lev. 7:8.] ) The priest who offered it was to eat any baked or grilled meal offering, but every other meal offering was to be shared among all the priests. ( [ Lev. 7:9–10.] )

The peace offering ("shelamim"), if offered for thanksgiving, was to be offered with unleavened cakes or wafers with oil, which would go to the priest who dashed the blood of the peace offering. ( [ Lev. 7:11–14.] ) All the meat of the peace offering had to be eaten on the day that it was offered. ( [ Lev. 7:15.] ) If offered as a votive or a freewill offering, it could be eaten for two days, and what was then left on the third day was to be burned. ( [ Lev. 7:16–18.] )

Meat that touched anything unclean could not be eaten; it had to be burned. ( [ Lev. 7:19.] ) And only a person who was clean could eat meat from peace offerings, at pain of exile. ( [ Lev. 7:20–21.] ) One could eat no fat or blood, at pain of exile. ( [ Lev. 7:22–27.] )

The person offering the peace offering had to present the offering and its fat himself, the priest would burn the fat on the altar, the breast would go to the priests, and the right thigh would go to the priest who offered the sacrifice. ( [ Lev. 7:28–34.] )


God instructed Moses to assemble the whole community at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting for the priests’ ordination. ( [ Lev. 8:1–5.] ) Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward, washed them, and dressed Aaron in his vestments. ( [ Lev. 8:6–9.] ) Moses anointed and consecrated the Tabernacle and all that was in it, and then anointed and consecrated Aaron and his sons. ( [ Lev. 8:10–13.] )

Moses led forward a bull for a sin offering, Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the bull’s head, and it was slaughtered. ( [ Lev. 8:14–15.] ) Moses put the bull’s blood on the horns and the base of the altar, burned the fat, the protuberance of the liver, and the kidneys on the altar, and burned the rest of the bull outside the camp. ( [ Lev. 8:15–17.] )

Moses then brought forward a ram for a burnt offering, Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the ram’s head, and it was slaughtered. ( [ Lev. 8:18–19.] ) Moses dashed the blood against the altar and burned all of the ram on the altar. ( [ Lev. 8:19–21.] )

Moses then brought forward a second ram for ordination, Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the ram’s head, and it was slaughtered. ( [ Lev. 8:22–23.] ) Moses put some of its blood on Aaron and his sons, on the ridges of their right ears, on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet. ( [ Lev. 8:23–24.] ) Moses then burned the animal's fat, broad tail, protuberance of the liver, kidneys, and right thigh on the altar with a cake of unleavened bread, a cake of oil bread, and a wafer as an ordination offering. ( [ Lev. 8:25–28.] ) Moses raised the breast before God and then took it as his portion. ( [ Lev. 8:29.] ) Moses sprinkled oil and blood on Aaron and his sons and their vestments. ( [ Lev. 8:30.] ) And Moses told Aaron and his sons to boil the meat at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and eat it there, and remain at the Tent of Meeting for seven days to complete their ordination, and they did all the things that God had commanded through Moses. ( [ Lev. 8:31–36.] )

In classical rabbinic interpretation

Leviticus chapter 6

Tractate Zevachim in the Mishnah, Tosefta, and Talmud interpreted the law of animal sacrifices in [ 7,] [ 8,] [ 11;] [ 2:2;] [ 3:2,] [ 3:5,] [ 8,] [ 13] ), barely mentioning Aaron himself. Moses asked whether God could love well water but hate the well. Moses noted that God honored the olive tree and the vine for the sake of their offspring, teaching (in Mishnah Tamid 2:3; Babylonian Talmud Tamid 29a) that the priests could use all trees’ wood for the altar fire except that of the olive and vine. Moses thus asked God whether God might honor Aaron for the sake of his sons, and God replied that God would reinstate Aaron and honor him above his sons. And thus God said to Moses the words of : When the Hasmonean brothers Hyrcanus and Aristobulus were contending with one another, and one was within Jerusalem’s city wall and the other was outside, those within would let down a basket of money to their besiegers every day, and in return the besiegers would send up kosher animals for the regular sacrifices. But an old man among the besiegers argued that as long as those within were allowed to continue to perform sacrifices, they could not be defeated. So on the next day, when those inside sent down the basket of money, the besiegers sent up a pig. When the pig reached the center of the wall, it stuck its hooves into the wall, and an earthquake shook the entire Land of Israel. On that occasion, the Rabbis proclaimed a curse on those who bred pigs. (Babylonian Talmud Bava Kamma 82b.)

It was taught in the name of Rabbi Nehemiah that in obedience to (Mishnah Menachot 1:1–13:11; Tosefta Menachot 1:1–13:23; Babylonian Talmud Menachot 2a–110a.)

The Rabbis taught that through the word “this,” Aaron became degraded, as it is said in and “This is the sacrifice of Nahshon the son of Amminadab” and each of the other princes of the 12 tribes in ), for Aaron was to eat the sacrifices, and by virtue of honored God more than sin offerings or guilt offerings. (Leviticus Rabbah 9:1.) Similarly, Rabbi Phinehas compared the thanksgiving offerings of for the loaves of the thanksgiving sacrifice, the Mishnah interpreted that if one made them for oneself, then they were exempt from the requirement to separate challah, but if one made them to sell in the market, then they were subject to the requirement to separate challah. (Mishnah Challah 1:6.)

Leviticus chapter 8

Rabbi Jose noted that even though that in a synagogue, as well, the people face toward the sanctuary. (Tosefta Megillah 3:21.)


According Sefer ha-Chinuch, there are 9 positive and 9 negative commandments in the parshah:
*To remove the ashes from the altar every day ()
*The priests must eat the remains of the meal offerings. ()
*Not to eat the meal offering of the High Priest ()
*To carry out the procedure of the guilt offering ()
*To burn the leftover "korbanot" ()
*To burn all impure "korbanot" ()("Sefer HaHinnuch: The Book of [Mitzvah] Education". Translated by Charles Wengrov, 2:73–131. Jerusalem: Feldheim Pub., 1984. ISBN 0-87306-296-5.)


The haftarah for the parshah is Jeremiah [ 7:21–8:3] & [ 9:22–23.] Both the parshah and the haftarah refer to the burnt offering ("‘olah") and sacrifice ("zevach"). ()

On Shabbat HaGadol

When the parshah coincides with Shabbat HaGadol (the special Sabbath immediately before Passover — as it does in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2015), the haftarah is Malachi [ 3:4–24.] Shabbat HaGadol means “the Great Sabbath,” and the haftarah for the special Sabbath refers to a great day that God is preparing. () The haftarah for Shabbat Zachor, identifies Haman as an Agagite, and thus a descendant of Amalek. Numbers [ 24:7] identifies the Agagites with the Amalekites. Alternatively, a Midrash tells the story that between King Agag’s capture by Saul and his killing by Samuel, Agag fathered a child, from whom Haman in turn descended. (Seder Eliyahu Rabbah ch. 20; Targum Sheni to Esther 4:13.)

Further reading

The parshah has parallels or is discussed in these sources:
*Psalms [ 20:4] (burnt offerings); [ 26:6] (washing before the altar); [ 40:7] (sacrifices); [ 50:3–23] (sacrifices of thanksgiving); [ 51:16–19] (sacrifices); [ 66:13–15] (burnt offerings); [ 93:5] (God’s holy place); [ 107:22] (sacrifices of thanksgiving); [ 116:17] (sacrifices of thanksgiving); [ 133:2] (anointing Aaron).
*Philo. [ "Allegorical Interpretation"] 3:45:129, 46:133, 50:147; [ "On the Migration of Abraham"] 12:67; [ "Who Is the Heir of Divine Things?"] 36:174; [ "The Special Laws"] 1:41:225, 43:240, 46:254, 52:285. Alexandria, Egypt, early 1st Century C.E.. Reprinted in, e.g., "The Works of Philo: Complete and Unabridged, New Updated Edition". Translated by Charles Duke Yonge, 65, 67, 259, 290, 555, 557–58, 561. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Pub., 1993. ISBN 0-943575-93-1.
*Josephus, "Antiquities of the Jews" [ 3:9:1–4,] [ 11:2;] [ 4:8:9,] [ 11:1;] [ 8:8:4.] Circa 93–94. Reprinted in, e.g., "The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged, New Updated Edition". Translated by William Whiston, 94–95. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Pub., 1987. ISBN 0-913573-86-8.
*Mishnah: Challah 1:6; Orlah 2:16–17; Bikkurim 2:7–10; Shekalim 1:4, 7:6; Zevachim 1:1–14:10; Menachot 1:1–13:11; Chullin 7:1, 10:1; Keritot 1:1. Land of Israel, circa 200 C.E. Reprinted in, e.g., "The Mishnah: A New Translation". Translated by Jacob Neusner, 149, 164, 171, 252, 263, 699–765, 779, 784, 836. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988. ISBN 0-300-05022-4.
*Tosefta: Demai 2:7-8; Challah 2:7-8; Pisha (Pesachim) 8:9; Megillah 3:21; Sotah 13:7; Bava Kamma 10:13; Shevuot 2:10; 3:1, 6; Zevachim 1:1–13:20; Menachot 1:1–13:23; Oktzin 3:3. Land of Israel, circa 300 C.E. Reprinted in, e.g., "The Tosefta: Translated from the Hebrew, with a New Introduction". Translated by Jacob Neusner, 1:85-86, 339, 511, 650, 886; 2:1012, 1227, 1229, 1231, 1307-70, 1407-68, 1925. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Pub., 2002. ISBN 1-56563-642-2.
*Sifra 70:1–98:9. Land of Israel, 4th Century C.E. Reprinted in, e.g., "Sifra: An Analytical Translation". Translated by Jacob Neusner, 2:1–119. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1988. ISBN 1-55540-206-2.
*Leviticus Rabbah 7:1–10:9. Land of Israel, 5th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., "Midrash Rabbah: Leviticus". Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, 4:89–134. London: Soncino Press, 1939. ISBN 0-900689-38-2.
*Babylonian Talmud: Shabbat 111a, 114a, 132a; Pesachim 3a, 16a–b, 19a, 23a–24b, 26a, 27b, 35a, 37a, 38b, 43b, 45a, 58a–59b, 63b, 65b, 71b, 79a, 82a–83a, 95b–96a; Yoma 2a–b, 4a, 5a–b, 7a, 12b, 20a, 21a, 23b–24a, 25a, 28a, 33a–34a, 45a–b, 46b–47a, 59b–60a, 74a–b; Sukkah 43a, 47b, 55b–56a; Beitzah 19b, 21a; Rosh Hashanah 5b–6a; Taanit 11b; Megillah 9b, 20b, 23b; Moed Katan 9a, 15b; Chagigah 7b, 10b, 24a, 26b; Yevamot 7a, 39b–40a, 68b, 72b, 74b, 81a, 82a, 87a, 100a; Ketubot 5b, 25a, 106b; Nedarim 10b, 12a–b, 25a, 36a; Nazir 37b–38a; Sotah 14b–15a, 19a, 23a–b, 29a–b; Kiddushin 30a, 36b, 51a, 53a, 55b; Bava Kamma 5a, 13a, 41a, 82b, 110b, 111a; Bava Metzia 3b, 55a; Bava Batra 106b; Sanhedrin 34a, 42b, 61b; Makkot 13a, 14b, 17a–b, 18b; Shevuot 6b–7a, 11a, 15a–b, 29a, 38a; Avodah Zarah 34a–b, 76a; Horayot 3a, 9a, 11b–12a; Zevachim 2a–120b; Menachot 2a–110a; Chullin 22a, 23b, 36b–37a, 39a, 45a, 74b–75a, 81b, 99a, 101a, 117a–b, 120a, 130a, 131b, 132b–33b, 134b; Bekhorot 15a, 30b, 33b, 39a; Arakhin 3b–4a; Temurah 14a, 18a–b, 23a, 32b; Keritot 2a, 4a–b, 5a–6a, 20b–21b, 22b, 23b, 27a; Meilah 2a, 5a–6b, 9a, 10a, 11b–12a; Tamid 28a–29a, 30a; Niddah 6b, 40a–41a. Babylonia, 6th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., "Talmud Bavli". Edited by Yisroel Simcha Schorr, Chaim Malinowitz, and Mordechai Marcus, 72 vols. Brooklyn: Mesorah Pubs., 2006.
*Rashi. "Commentary". [ Leviticus 6–8.] Troyes, France, late 11th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., Rashi. "The Torah: With Rashi’s Commentary Translated, Annotated, and Elucidated". Translated and annotated by Yisrael Isser Zvi Herczeg, 3:59–92. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 1994. ISBN 0-89906-028-5.
*Judah Halevi. "Kuzari". [ 2:80.] Toledo, Spain, 1130–1140. Reprinted in, e.g., Jehuda Halevi. "Kuzari: An Argument for the Faith of Israel." Intro. by Henry Slonimsky, 133. New York: Schocken, 1964. ISBN 0-8052-0075-4.
*Zohar [ 3:27a–35b.] Spain, late 13th Century.
*Thomas Hobbes. "Leviathan", England, 1651. Reprint edited by C. B. Macpherson, 503–04, 572. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Classics, 1982. ISBN 0140431950.
*Louis Ginzberg. "Legends of the Jews", [ 3:179–81.] Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1911.
*Jacob Milgrom. "Leviticus 1-16", 3:378–569. New York: Anchor Bible, 1998. ISBN 0-385-11434-6.

External links


* [ Masoretic text and 1917 JPS translation]
* [ Hear the parshah chanted]


* [ Commentaries] from the Jewish Theological Seminary
* [ Commentaries] from the University of Judaism
* [ Torah Insights] and [ Torah Tidbits] from the Orthodox Union
* [ Commentaries] and [ Family Shabbat Table Talk] from the Union for Reform Judaism
* [ Commentaries] from Reconstructionist Judaism
* [ Commentaries] from
* [ Commentaries] from []
* [ Commentaries] from []
* [ Commentaries] from []
* [ Commentaries] from [ Torah from Dixie]
* [ Commentary] from [ Ohr Sameach]
* [ Commentaries] and [ Shabbat Table Talk] from [ The Sephardic Institute]
* [ Commentary] from [, Torah Education at Cherry Hill]

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