In this week’s Torah reading, we learn about a very interesting mitzvah, called Terumat haDeshen (see 6:3), the removal of the altar’s ashes each morning.
The kohain would start the day by sweeping and removing the ashes from the altar, from all of the sacrifices offered the day before, whose fats and limbs were burning through the night.
And do you know, the priests used to race up the ramp of the altar to be the first one to do this job?
Would you want to do this job? Why or why not?
Why should this be the job of a priest? Hire a janitor! Is this really holy work that needs to be done by a priest – and in his special clothing (as the Torah explicitly states)!
What do you think the significance/meaning/lesson behind this command is?
Perhaps, we need to learn that EVERY part of serving God – even the most mundane act – needs to be appreciated as a privilege and an honor. What chore around the house do you hate doing, but it needs to be done for the family’s well-being?
Rav Hirsch suggests that this teaches us to feel that each day we “erase”/remove the day before and start again. No matter how much you achieved, you need to do more and improve! And, conversely, we can say that no matter how much you failed or disappointed or didn’t achieve, this is a new day. Start again! Take away yesterday and get started on today!
Where did you feel that this week? Did you have a great day or accomplishment and then have to wake up the next day and do even better? Or did you fail or disappoint yourself or others and have to get up the next day and start again?
Bracha Krohn is a mom of three living in Israel. She teaches children, teenagers and adults in schools, Batei Midrash and summer camp. “Table Talk” and “Personal Parsha” are based on the ideas she and her husband, also a Torah educator, discuss with their children around their weekly Shabbat table.