Tzav: Forget About Yesterday

My wife asked the security guard of one of the local stores what the hours will be the next day.  He goes on and explains all the hours and says, “I’m Druze and I understand that Pesach is coming, so that’s why things are opening earlier.”  He then explains that the Druze have only one holiday, when Moshiach comes.  When my wife replied that she thought that they do many Muslim practices, he replied, “Oh, we’re just a bunch of ‘shakranim and pechadim,' liars and ‘scaredy-cats.’  We do whatever the ruling country does.  If the Americans came, we would be pro-American.  If the Turks came, we would be pro-Turkish.  The Jews are here, so we do what they do!  We’re afraid of everybody so we lie to everybody.”  He then noticed my wife was carrying some fresh rolls she had just bought from the store, and said, “Oh, and you should know, those rolls are VERY good!” and with a smile he added, “And this time, I’m not lying."


Okay, on to Torah!


“Then (the Kohen) shall take off his garments and put on other garments and carry forth the ashes out of the camp unto a pure place” (Vayikra 6:4).


I’ll be honest.  Every time I write something​ quoting Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, I get a little nervous.  There’s somebody on this list who is a BIG student of his (and just yelled at me the other day for not having a certain book of his: “How can you be a Jew without it!?!?!?!”).  So I’m davening that this should be a pleasing offering to him.


Rav Hirsch comments: “The taking out of the ashes that remained on the altar from the previous day expresses the thought that with each new day the Torah mission must be accomplished afresh, as if nothing had yet been accomplished.  Every new day calls us to our mission with new devotion and sacrifice.  The thought of what has already been accomplished can be the death of that which is still to be accomplished.  Woe to him who, with smug self-complacency, thinks he can rest on his laurels, on what he has already achieved, and who does not meet the task of every fresh day with full devotion as if it were the first day of his life’s work!


“’Carry forth the ashes out of the camp.'  Every trace of yesterday’s sacrifice is to be removed from the hearth on the Altar, so that the service of the new day can be started on completely fresh ground.  Given these considerations, we can understand the law that prescribes the wearing of worn-out garments when one is occupied with the achievements of the previous day.  The past is not to be forgotten.  But it is to be retired to the background, and is not to invest us with pride before the fresh task to which each new day calls us.”


While Rav Hirsch focuses on pride on yesterday’s accomplishments, I would like to add that this is equally applicable to the opposite.  If a person had a "bad day" yesterday, filled with sin, he should not dwell on it.  Nor should he forget it.  Rather, he should learn from his mistakes, and understand that today is a new beginning and is not affected by yesterday, unless we allow it.  Do tshuvah and move on.


I doubt I will be around to write something for Pesach, so I would like to wish everybody a wonderful Shabbos and a meaningful Pesach!  I’ll see you after that!