Parsha: Tzav (2024)

I recently restarted a learning cycle of studying “Daily Rambam.”

Daily Rambam Study is an annual study cycle that includes the daily study of Maimonides’ magnum opus, Mishneh Torah.

The completion of each yearly cycle is celebrated with a “Siyum” (Celebratory completion). Such events are held worldwide with the participation of many thousands of people. These celebrations are attended by Jewish leaders from different communities.


“Rambam” Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon was a Talmudist, Halachist, physician, philosopher and communal leader, known in the Jewish world by the acronym “Rambam” and to the world at large as “Maimonides.” He is one of the most important figures in the history of Torah scholarship; on his gravestone were inscribed the words, “From Moses to Moses, none arose as Moses.”


Today, many hospitals and schools across the globe are named after Maimonides; and to this day, students worldwide pore over his scholarly works.

What makes this study so unique is that it is the only Halachic work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws that are only applicable when the Temple in Jerusalem is in existence, and this book remains an important source of Jewish law today.


This is something I think about when I study the works of the Rambam:

The Rambam wrote this book in a time of suffering and Jewish persecution. However, it was his deep connection to Torah study and his contribution to Torah that gave him the strength and courage to continue through difficult times.


We stand now between both festivals of Purim and Pesach, two festivals that remind us that we are the “Am Hanetzach,” the everlasting nation.


I recently met with leaders from the local community at a multicultural event. I shared that as a nation we have been through so much and survived. And we as a people can be a source of strength to other minorities, to show that we can live with our heritage proudly.


Some of that strength comes from the Parsha this week. Talking about the Mizbeiach (Altar) the verse says: “An everlasting fire on the altar not to be extinguished.”


The sages teach us that our soul is an altar, and the everlasting fire is the G-dly spark that flickers and shines inside our soul. This spark cannot be put out.


It is always burning and bright. This the source of our strength. We just need to tend to it and feed the flame. The more we nurture it the more it shines. We can nurture it through Torah study and Mitzvot.


Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Zalman and Esty