Parashat Tzav

WE ARRIVE AT PARASHA of the offerings that were made in the tabernacle, which were brought to atone for some sin, such as when a person made a mistake in certain laws of the Torah. One of these offerings was the “ascension” offering that someone brought if he forgot to fulfill some positive commandment; and another was the “sin offering” that someone brought for making a mistake thinking that something was permitted (such as eating bread on Pesach). Although all precepts are important, apparently transgressing a prohibition is more serious than forgetting to fulfill a positive precept, since the punishment is greater. However, although the Torah indicates that the place where the “ascension” offering was to be made was the north side of the altar, it does not directly reveal where the “guilt offering” is made, and only says: “in the same place where the ascension offering is slaughtered, the guilt offering shall be slaughtered”. Why does the Torah not directly indicate the place where the most serious sins are atoned? The Sages answer that God does not want to shame these people, because if there were a place designated only for this type of offering, people would know that this person is bringing it because he committed a grave sin. What a great teaching we learn from here, since we would think that for this person’s atonement to be complete, his sin should be exposed before everyone, so that he would be ashamed and would not do it again. However, the Torah teaches us precisely the opposite: The immense value for God of the fact that a person decides to repent from his heart and makes the decision to change, regardless of the seriousness of his sin. And if it is enough for God, we should also know how to forgive and not shame others.