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Torah Commentary Blog

Parashat Tzav (March 31, 2012)
by Saul Kaiserman

IN THIS WEEK’S Torah portion, Tzav, we are confronted with the gory image of the slaughter of animals and the dashing of their blood on the altar, and challenged theologically by the idea of God delighting in the “pleasing odor” of the burnt offering. To many contemporary readers of the book of Leviticus, the entire notion of sacrificial worship is discomforting. But to find a critique of the institution of Temple sacrifice, we need look no further than the Haftarah reading that accompanies this portion, from the book of Jeremiah.

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