Achieving Purity of Thought

At the beginning of parshat Tzav, the Torah relates Hashem’s command to the Kohanim concerning the laws of the korban “olah” (a sacrifice that was fully consumed on the altar): “Tzav et Aharon v’et banav laymor – zot torat ha’olah…relate the following instructions to Aaron and his descendants – this is the law of the burnt offering.” (Vayikra, 6:1-2).

Rashi picks up on the use of the word “tzav” rather than the more common “emor” or “daber,” and states that “tzav” connotes “zeruz,” or diligence. Why must the Kohanim be particularly diligent about the korban olah? Rashi explains that, according to the Tanna Rabbi Shimon, the korban olah represents a greater loss of income – “chisaron kis” – to kohanim than other korbanot since, with the korban olah, the kohanim only receive the hides, while with other korbanot, they receive both the hides and the meat (incidentally, the source for our modern day phrase “out-of-pocket” comes from the phrase “chisaron kis”).

As brought down in Parperei Torah, the Chiddushei Harim - Yitzchak Meir Alter, the first Rebbe of the Ger Hasidic dynasty – seeks to interpret the phrase “chisaron kis” metaphorically.

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