Parshat Tzav (Command)

The Torah portion is Tzav, Leviticus 6:1-8:36. In synagogues using the Triennial system, 5784 is year 2 and the Torah reading is Leviticus 7:11 -7:38.

This parshah has more details about specific offerings and the procedures to follow for offering them. It speaks of most of these offerings being eaten by the priests or even by the person who offers them. It prohibits the eating of cheilev, usually translated as "fat," but it is a kind of fat that is easy to remove and hard to digest. It also commands that blood not be eaten, and kosher meat is known for being drained and salted to remove the blood. The priests are publicly clothed and anointed and offerings are made for them.

There is a special maftir portion (the final piece of the Torah reading) for Shabbat Parah: Numbers 19:1-22. This passage speaks of the offering of the Red Heifer (Parah Adumah), which purifies people from contact with the dead. It is a reminder to purify for Pesach (Passover), which is coming very soon!

The haftarah is for Shabbat Parah, Ezekiel 36:16-38. Like the maftir portion, this haftarah speaks of purification.

In synagogues using the Sephardic tradition, the Haftarah is Ezekiel 36:16-36.