Tzav – Torah in Haiku


Sacrificial blood …
Placed on ears, thumbs and big toes …
Of Aaron and sons —
Leviticus 8:22-24

He brought forward the … ram of ordination … and it was slaughtered. Moses took some of its blood and put it on the ridge of Aaron’s right ear, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot. Moses then brought forward the sons of Aaron, and put some of the blood on the ridges of their right ears, and on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet; and the rest of the blood Moses dashed against every side of the altar.

Strange details. Why is blood placed on the the priests, and why on those particular body parts?

Rabbi Richard N. Levy, writing in this week’s Ten Minutes of Torah, suggests it is as though “[the priests’] bodies were extensions of the altar” upon which Moses also spread blood from the ordination sacrifice.

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, at My Jewish Learning, shares the interpretation of ancient commentator Philo who wrote that, “the fully consecrated must be pure in words and actions and in life; for words are judged by hearing, the hand is the symbol of action, and the foot of the pilgrimage of life.”

Illustration by Jim Padgett via Wikimedia Commons

Ed Nickow | The Torah In Haiku

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