Parashat Tzav and the Demand for Justice
By Asaf Bar-Tura, Associate Director of Programs, JCUA
The title of this week’s Parshah, Tzav, means “Command.” It introduces G-d’s call to Moses to instruct Araon and his sons – the Kohanim (priests) – about the laws governing sacrifices in the sanctuary. We notice that G-d merely speaks to Moses (“Vayedaber el Moshe”), but tells him to command Aaron. Rashi points out that the word Tzav, “Command” – rather than the more familiar “Speak” or “Tell” – generally pertains to tasks requiring a sense of urgency and commitment. These are things which need to be performed “immediately as well as for posterity.”
But would G-d tell Moses to command Aaron? Could G-d not have told Moses to tell Aaron? Would G-d have doubted the commitment of Aaron and his sons? Why employ a word implying such urgency?
Rashi explains that the concern is that while there is excitement about the performance of these new rituals, the people may not continue their commitment as time goes by. Will the passion and enthusiasm wane?
My sense is that this same question is relevant when we think about the shooting of Trayvon Martin. There is a passionate movement around the country seeking justice for Trayvon. We don’t know yet exactly what happened that evening in the encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. We only know that Trayvon is dead.