By Cantor Lauren Adesnik
The second parsha in the book of Leviticus (Vayikra) is called Tzav. Tzav is a forceful verb form of the word Mitzvot, which means commandments. In the context of the parsha, Tzav is a command, a direct order, not a suggestion or a request.
Much of this Torah portion, like the rest of the book of Leviticus, outlines the specific methods of what and how to make sacrifices to God. A sacrifice in Hebrew is called a korban, which shares the same root as the word karov: kuf, reish, and vet: ק.ר.ב
Making a sacrifice- a korban- was the ancient way of coming close to God-karov.
These sacrifices were made on a constantly burning fire, tended around the clock by the holy Priests, Aaron, and his sons. We might understand this fire today as the Ner Tamid that hangs in our sanctuary, the eternal light that adorns contemporary prayer practice. The Ner Tamid, just like the constantly burning fire of the korban, symbolizes the Divine presence forever in our midst, and our continued relationship with God. Whether or not we come to worship services weekly, or once or twice a year, this everlasting light never abates and reminds us to tend to the fires of our relationships with each other- our friends, families, loved ones, and our beloved Jewish community.