Parshat Tzav – March 31, 2012

In this week’s Parsha, Moshe is commanded to address the Kohanim (priests)with instructions on the processing of  different type of Korbanot. (sacrifices) In the third Aliyah, (Vayikra/Leviticus 7:11) the Korban Shelamim (Peace Offering) is discussed. This sacrifice is particularly unique because it’s a voluntary offering and is eaten mostly by the person bringing it. With this Korban, the person has two days and one night to consume most of the meat, following the Kohen’s processing of the animal.

This Parsha gives special attention to a specific kind of Korban Shelamim – the Korban Todah. (Gratitude) According to Rashi, a person would bring a korban Todah is he is giving thanks to God for a miracle, such as a) returning safely from a sea voyage b) or desert journey, c) getting released from prison or d) recovering from illness.

The Korban Shelamim is a relatively ‘happy’ Korban; giving gratitude and showing love to God. The Korban is eaten by the Kohein as well as the person bringing it. The Korban Todah in particular is given less time to eat than a regular Korban Shelamim – under 24 hours. It also requires bringing ten types of four different breads.

How to eat so much food in so little time?

According to a friend who did the math, Shabbos/Yom Tov works out to, on average, one in every 5 1/5 days. (!) And considering that Shabbos/holidays are pretty food-centric events, you could safely say that we Jews are pretty serious eaters.

Somebody was born?  Kiddush! Bris! Someone died? Take a meal. Even an anniversary of someone dying is Kiddush time. Historically whether we almost got killed, or we actually did get killed, food is is going to be involved in our commemoration.

The ritual act of eating is part of how we show gratitude to God. The volume of food involved with the Korban Todah, however, was beyond most of our capacities. (Although admittedly, after spending all this time on this food blog, I don’t know how I’d fare if tested…) How to finish forty loaves of bread and a cow in less than a day and a night? The Netziv points out that considering the short amount of time allowed to consume the food of this Korban Todah, the only way to do it is by involving others. We showed gratitude to God by inviting and involving others in a communal celebration of His greatness.

Here’s a meat recipe to commemorate the Korban – specifically Shelamim.

Vayikra 7:15 And the flesh of his thanksgiving peace offering shall be eaten on the day it is offered up; he shall not leave any of it over until morning.Vayikra 7:15 And the flesh of his thanksgiving peace offering shall be eaten on the day it is offered up; he shall not leave any of it over until morning.

(Kounterfeit)  Kofteh Kabobs

I say counterfeit, because true kofteh is a Persian dish that is usually made from lamb, which I refuse to eat. This version is made from medium ground beef.

  • 1 1/2 lbs. (or so) chopped meat
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats (I would have used matza meal but since we’re in the month of Nissan, I’m staying away from Matzo products)
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. mixed Eastern spices (curry, turmeric, cumin…I used spice I got in Israel for this.Really cool spice from Israel.
  • 1 tsp. cumin (in addition to the above)
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. hot chili sauce
  • eggplant, mushroom, zucchini, or pepper for the skewers
  • 12 skewers (approximately)
Mix ingredients. Go ahead – just use your hands! It’s so much easier.
Squish the meat into little logs that are approximately 1 1/2 inches long and thread on the skewers with the vegies. Bar-b-q until browned.

B’tayavon and have a great Shabbos!


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