Tzav in a Nutshell
G‑d instructs Moshe to command Aaron and his sons regarding their duties and rights as kohanim (“priests”) who offer the korbanot (animal and meal offerings) in the Sanctuary.
The fire on the altar must be kept burning at all times. In it are burned the wholly consumed ascending offering; veins of fat from the peace, sin and guilt offerings; and the “handful” separated from the meal offering.
The kohanim eat the meat of the sin and guilt offerings, and the remainder of the meal offering. The peace offering is eaten by the one who brought it, except for specified portions given to the kohen. The holy meat of the offerings must be eaten by ritually pure persons, in their designated holy place and within their specified time.
Aaron and his sons remain within the Sanctuary compound for seven days, during which Moshe initiates them into the priesthood.
By Eliyahu Kitov
The Shabbat which precedes Passover is called Shabbat HaGadol, the Great Sabbath.
It was in Egypt that Israel celebrated the very first Shabbat Ha-Gadol on the tenth of Nissan, five days before their redemption. On that day, the Children of Israel were given their first commandment which applied only to that Shabbat, but not to future generations: On the tenth day of this month [Nissan]… each man should take a lamb for the household, a lamb for each home (Exodus 12:3).
Many miracles were performed for the Children of Israel on this first Shabbat HaGadol, in connection with the Passover offering, we therefore refer to this day as Shabbat HaGadol.
Special hymns are recited during the morning service on Shabbat HaGadol, the main theme being the laws of Passover.
We read part of the Passover Haggadah on this Shabbat, because it is like a rehearsal for the Seder night.
Thought for the week
And holy men you shall be to Me (Ex. 22:30)
G-d wants us to sanctify that aspect of us that makes us human, and to perform holy, “humanitarian” actions. G-d desires good and holy people, as He already has plenty of angels to do His bidding.