SALT - Monday, 14 Tammuz 5780 - July 6, 2020

  • Rav David Silverberg
            The final section of Parashat Pinchas discusses the tamidin u-musafin – the standard public sacrifices, including the daily tamid offering and the additional musaf offering brought on Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh and the holidays (Pesach, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot).  God introduces this section by commanding Moshe to instruct Benei Yisrael that they must ensure to maintain the sacrificial order “be-moado” – “in its time” (28:2).  At first glance, this verse introduces the entire section, commanding that we must ensure to follow the schedule of sacrifices, and offer each sacrifice “be-moado” – at the time when it is to be offered: the tamid sacrifice each day, and each musaf sacrifice on the day it is required (e.g. Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh).
            The Gemara, however, in a number of places (Pesachim 77a, Menachot 72b), explains this verse as referring specifically to the tamid sacrifice.  The word “be-moado,” the Gemara comments, emphasizes that the daily tamid offering is brought even on Shabbat, and even if the nation is in a state of tum’a (impurity).  These are occasions when we might have intuitively assumed that the tamid sacrifice should be offered, and thus the Torah emphasizes that the tamid must be sacrificed “be-moado” – “in its time,” even under these circumstances.
            Rashi, too, interprets this introductory verse as referring specifically to the tamid.  Commenting on the word “be-moado,” Rashi writes, “Every day is the occasion [mo’ed] of the temidin.”  According to Rashi, then, the command to ensure to offer the sacrifices “be-moado” means that we must see to it to offer the daily sacrifice on its occasion – meaning, every day.
            The use of the term “mo’ed” in reference to each day might at first strike us as unusual.  This word is commonly associated with special occasions, with special holidays which we observe once a year.  Here, however, the Torah uses the word “mo’ed” in reference to each and every day of the year, and each and every day of our lives.  This might teach us that indeed, we are to make each and every day a special occasion.  Every ordinary, routine day is a “mo’ed,” a special time, that requires its own “offering,” its own accomplishment.  We should never look upon any day as plain and ordinary.  Each day of our lives is special, laden with unique opportunities for us to seize, opportunities which will not present themselves at any other time.