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 Parshat Tzav

  By Chana Engel


I remember a time, when as a girl of four,

My mother insisted I tidy the floor,

And I put the blocks on the bookshelf, mixed the blue play dough with the green,

I’m sure my mother ‘re-tidied’ when I thought it was clean.


If you think back to your school days – uniforms, tests,

You’ll recall a teacher insisting, “Just give it your best,”

No-one likes a student, who hands their test in blank,

They’re more willing to help those who tried, yet made mistakes.


The process of offering sacrifices, is quite the same,

G‑d commands us to light on the altar, a flame,

And after the animal is burning alight,

A G‑dly fire consumes it, an awesome sight.


What’s the point of our measly, physical fire,

If it’s followed by an eternal one immediately after?

G‑d doesn’t need us, to give Him a head start,

Yet He won’t send down His fire, ‘til we’ve done our part.


Like a parent or teacher, Hashem wants us to try,

Sweat a bit, put in effort, exertion apply,

And though our part may seem futile, a miniscule affair,

It makes all the difference – because it shows that we care.


A weak student that’s trying – the teacher takes time to tutor,

When a small child helps out – she just may get a new scooter,

And when a Jew lights the fire on the altar below,

Hashem accepts his gift, with an eternal glow,

Reciprocating with an infinite flame – because He also cares,

Yes, when we put in our part, then others put in theirs.


Our part may seem insignificant, but it’s the stepping stone,

It triggers a response from on high, from His throne,

We need to do our part with a smile, no fuss,

After all, G‑d picks up His cues from us!


You’re just a pawn in a game of chess, it seems,

But if you work diligently you can access the queen!


We may be finite, I understand,

But the key to infinity is in each of our hands.



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