FROM THE TORAH
Although the offerings have been classified and described in preceding sedras, Sedra Tsav provides a climax in appreciating the service that will be provided through Aaron and his sons. It includes a detailed description of their ordination by Moses during the seven days of their consecration.
Instruction of the Kohanim
PROVISION OF INSTRUCTION
The Eternal tells Moses to charge (Tsav) Aaron and his sons with instruction regarding the placement and handling of offerings.
INSTRUCTION FOR BURNT OFFERING
The Kohen shall burn wood upon the Altar every morning and arrange the burnt offering (olah) upon it. He shall turn the fats of the well-being offerings (shelamim) to smoke. The fire that is upon the Altar shall be maintained and not be allowed to go out.
The burnt offering shall remain at the place of its burning upon the Altar all night until morning, and the fire of the Altar shall remain burning upon it. The garment of the Kohen (Priest) shall be of linen, as shall be the breeches next to his body, and he shall take up the ashes of the burnt offering from the Altar and place them next to the Altar. Then he shall change his clothes and bring the ashes to a pure place outside of the camp.
INSTRUCTION FOR MEAL OFFERING
The sons of Aaron shall present the meal offering (mincha) before the Eternal in front of the Altar. A fistful of its fine flour and of its oil shall be taken from it, along with all of the frankincense which is upon the meal offering, and it shall be turned to smoke upon the Altar, a pleasant aroma, its token, for the Eternal. Aaron and his sons shall eat the remainder as unleavened cakes in a sacred place, in the Courtyard of the Tent of Meeting. It shall not be baked with leaven.
I have granted it as their portion from My fire offerings. It is most holy (kodesh kodashim), like the sin offering (chatat) or like the guilt offering (asham). Any male among the children of Aaron may eat it, an everlasting statute throughout your generations. Anything that touches it shall become holy.
INSTRUCTION FOR ANOINTMENT OFFERING
The Eternal instructs Moses on the offering of Aaron and his sons on the occasion of Aaron’s anointment. A tenth of an ephah of fine flour, a regular meal offering, half of it in the morning and half of it in the evening, shall be prepared on a griddle with oil, well mixed; bring it as a meal offering of pieces, with a pleasant aroma for the Eternal. It is a whole offering. Turn it entirely into smoke. It shall not be eaten. This practice shall be continued as an everlasting statute for all successors of the anointed Kohen.
INSTRUCTION FOR SIN OFFERING
The Eternal tells Moses to impart instruction to Aaron and his sons regarding the sin offering (chatat). It should be slaughtered in the place where the burnt offering is slaughtered before the Eternal. It is most holy. The Kohen who offers it shall eat it, within the Courtyard of the Tent of Meeting. Whatever touches its flesh shall become holy. Any part of a garment that receives its blood shall be washed in a sacred place. If the meat was boiled in an earthen vessel, the earthen vessel must be broken; if in a copper vessel, the vessel must be scoured and rinsed with water.
Any male among the Kohanim (Priests) is qualified to eat of a sin offering; it is most holy. If the blood of a sin offering is brought to the Tent of Meeting to seek atonement in the Sanctuary, the offering may not be eaten, rather it should be burned in fire.
INSTRUCTION FOR GUILT OFFERING
The guilt offering (asham) is most holy. It shall be slaughtered where the burnt offering is slaughtered, and its blood shall be dashed around the Altar. All of its fat shall be offered: the tail and the fat that covers the entrails, the fat covering and surrounding the entrails, the two kidneys and the fat upon them at the loins, the appendage on the liver which shall be removed with the kidneys. The Kohen shall make them smoke on the Altar, an offering of fire to the Eternal, a guilt offering. Any male among the Kohanim may eat it in a sacred place; it is most holy.
As with the sin offering, the guilt offering shall belong to the Kohen who seeks atonement through it. Similarly, to the Kohen who offers a man’s burnt offering goes its skin. Further, the meal offering goes to the Kohen, whether baked in the oven or prepared in a pan or on the griddle. But any other meal offering, whether mixed with oil or dry, belongs equally to all the sons of Aaron.
Offerings of the Children of Israel
INSTRUCTION FOR WELL-BEING OFFERING
If the well-being sacrifice (zevach shelamim) is being offered for thanksgiving (todah), then together with it shall be unleavened cakes mixed with oil, unleavened wafers spread with oil, and fine flour well mixed in cakes mixed with oil. His offering shall be made together with cakes of leavened bread. One of each offering shall be presented as a sacred gift to the Eternal, and it shall belong to the Kohen who dashes the blood of the well-being offering. The meat of the sacrifice of thanksgiving shall be eaten on the day of its offering and may not be left over until the morning.
If the sacrifice of his offering is the fulfillment of a vow (neder) or if it is voluntary (nedava), it shall be eaten on the day that it is offered, and that which may remain must be eaten on the morrow. If any still remains on the third day, it shall be burned with fire. If some of the meat of his well-being offering is eaten on the third day, the sacrifice is not accepted, it is an offense, and the one who eats of it shall be held guilty.
Only one who is ritually pure may eat of the meat of the sacrifice of well-being offerings, which are the Eternal’s. Disqualified is one in a state of impurity, one who touches anything impure, whether of man or of beast; if he does eat of the sacrificial meat, that person shall be cut off from his people. If the sacrificial meat should touch something impure, it may not be eaten but should be burned in fire.
The Eternal tells Moses to impart to the Children of Israel not to eat the fat of an ox or a sheep or a goat. While fat from an animal that dies or that is torn can be put to use, you may not eat it either. Anyone who eats the fat of an animal that could be made a fire offering to the Eternal shall be cut off from his people.
You shall not eat any blood in all of your settlements, either of bird or of beast. Anyone who violates this law shall be cut off from his people.
The Eternal directs Moses to instruct the Children of Israel that the one who offers his sacrifice of well-being offering to the Eternal must bring his offering himself. His own hands shall bring the fire offerings of the Eternal, presenting the fat with the breast, which is to be waved before the Eternal. The Kohen shall cause the fat to smoke upon the Altar, and the breast shall go to Aaron and his sons. You shall present the right thigh as a gift to the Kohen; the Kohen who offers the blood and the fat shall receive the right thigh as his portion. For I do take the breast of waving and the sacred gift of the thigh from the Children of Israel, from their well-being sacrifices, and I give them to Aaron the Kohen and to his sons, for an everlasting statute.
These accrue to Aaron and his sons upon their anointment to minister to the Eternal, as the Eternal requires of the Children of Israel, for an everlasting statute throughout their generations.
SUMMARY OF INSTRUCTION
Such is the instruction for the burnt offering, for the meal offering, for the sin offering, for the guilt offering, for the ordination (milluim), and for the sacrifice of the well-being offerings, which the Eternal commanded Moses on Mount Sinai on the day of His commanding the Children of Israel to bring their offerings to the Eternal, in the wilderness of Sinai.
INSTALLATION OF AARON AND HIS SONS
The Eternal tells Moses to bring Aaron and his sons, together with their vestments and the Anointing Oil (Shemen Mishcha), the bull of sin offering, the two rams, and the basket of unleavened bread, before the congregation gathered at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. Moses declares to the congregation, “This is what the Eternal commanded to be done” (Leviticus 8:5; cf. Exodus 29:1ff.)!
Moses brings near Aaron and his sons and washes them with water. He dresses Aaron with the Tunic (Kuttonet), the Sash (Avnet) and the Robe (Me’eel), and he puts the Ephod on him, girding him with its decorated band. He then puts the Breastplate (Choshen) on him and puts in it the Urim and Tummim. He places the Headdress (Mitznefet) upon his head and in front of the Headdress the Golden Plate (Tzeetz Zahav) for Sacred Consecration (Nezer Hakodesh) as the Eternal commanded him (cf. Exodus 28:1-43; 29:4-9a).
Moses takes the Anointing Oil to anoint the Tabernacle and its contents, thereby sanctifying them. He sprinkles some of it on the Altar seven times and anoints the Altar and all of its implements, the Laver (Kiyyur) and its base, to sanctify them. He pours some of it upon Aaron’s head to sanctify him. Then Moses brings near Aaron’s sons: he clothes them with Tunics, girds them with Sashes, and winds Turbans (Migba’ot) upon them, as the Eternal commanded him (cf. Exodus 30:17-33).
Then he brings forward the bull of sin offering, upon which Aaron and his sons place their hands. After it is slaughtered, Moses puts its blood around the four corners of the Altar with his finger, thereby purifying it from sin; and he pours the blood at the base of the Altar, thereby sanctifying it for seeking atonement upon it. He makes the Altar smoke with the fat covering the entrails, the lobe over the liver, the two kidneys, and the fat over them. He burns with fire the rest of the bull, its skin, its flesh and its fecal matter, outside of the camp, as the Eternal commanded him (cf. Exodus 29:10-14).
Then he brings forward the ram of burnt offering. Aaron and his sons place their hands upon its head. After it is slaughtered, Moses dashes the blood around the Altar. The ram is cut into pieces, and Moses makes the head, the pieces and the suet, smoke upon the Altar. The entrails and the legs are washed with water, and Moses makes all that remains of the ram smoke upon the Altar, a burnt offering, for a pleasant aroma, a fire offering to the Eternal, as the Eternal commanded him (cf. Exodus 29:15-18).
Then he brings forward the second ram, the ram of ordination, and Aaron and his sons place their hands upon its head. After it is slaughtered, Moses puts some of its blood upon the tip of the right ear of Aaron and upon his right thumb and upon the great toe of his right foot. Moses then brings forward Aaron’s sons and does the same for them, then dashes the blood around the Altar. He takes its fat, fat tail, the fat that covers its entrails, the lobe of its liver, its two kidneys and the fat which is upon them, and its right thigh; and from the basket of unleavened bread which is before the Eternal he takes a single loaf of bread, a single loaf of oiled bread, a single wafer, and puts them upon the fats and the right thigh; and all of them he sets upon the palms of Aaron and his sons, and he lifts them up as a wave offering before the Eternal. Moses then removes all from their palms and makes all of it smoke upon the Altar over the burnt offering. They constitute an ordination offering for a pleasant aroma, a fire offering to the Eternal. From the ram of ordination Moses takes the breast and raises it as a wave offering before the Eternal—it is Moses’s portion—as the Eternal commanded Moses (cf. Exodus 29:19-28).
Then Moses takes some of the Anointing Oil and some of the blood that is upon the Altar and sprinkles them upon Aaron and his vestments as well as upon his sons and his sons’ vestments and thereby sanctifies all of them.
Moses then instructs Aaron and his sons to boil the meat at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and to eat it there together with the bread that is in the ordination basket, as Moses was commanded (cf. Exodus 29:31-32). Whatever remains of the meat and the bread shall be burned with fire (cf. Exodus 29:34). They shall remain at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting for seven days, day and night, the complete period of their ordination. During those days they shall repeat what was done on this, the first day, to seek atonement for themselves. “You shall keep the charge of the Eternal, that you not die, for thus was I commanded” (Leviticus 8:35; cf. Exodus 29:35), and so do Aaron and his sons.
FROM THE PROPHETS
Haftarah for Shabbat Tsav
Jeremiah 7:21-8:3; 9:22-23
A Low Point
Thus says the Eternal of Hosts, the God of Israel:
You yourselves might as well eat
from the burnt offerings that you intend for Me,
along with your own sacrifices,
for I did not command your fathers about this
at the time of their leaving Egypt.
Rather, this is what I commanded them:
Listen to what I say,
do what I command,
and I will be your God,
you will be My people,
and it will be well with you.
Instead they have not listened,
they have followed their own counsel;
they have moved backwards,
from the day that your fathers
went out of the land of Egypt
to this very day!
I sent you all of My servants, the Prophets,
yet they stiffened their neck,
even more than their fathers.
Regardless of what you say to them,
they do not listen;
so shall you declare:
This is a nation unheeding of its God,
unreceptive to admonishment,
so estranged from faithfulness
as to have forgotten the words.
Throw down your crown,
take up lamentation,
for the Eternal has rejected
the object of His anger!
The children of Judah
have done that which is evil in My sight,
defiling My House with their idols,
sacrificing their children in the ovens
of the Valley of Ben Hinnom—
something that I never would have imagined!
Therefore the days are coming, declares the Eternal,
that it will be called the Valley of Execution
for the burials that might occur there,
but more than it can contain,
the carcasses of this people
becoming food for the birds and the beasts,
Thereby shall I remove
from the cities of Judah
and from the streets of Jerusalem
the sounds of joy and celebration,
the voices of bridegroom and bride,
as the country shall become a desolation!
(Cf. Jeremiah 16:9; 25:10; 33:10-11)
As if that were not enough,
the bones of Judah’s
kings, princes, priests, prophets,
all the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
shall be disinterred and exposed
to the sun and the moon,
indeed to all of the host of heaven
which they followed and worshipped,
as dung upon the ground.
those of this evil family
who yet survive
shall choose death
Let the wise
find no consolation in wisdom,
nor the mighty in might,
nor the wealthy in wealth,
but only in this:
understanding and knowing Me,
that I, the Eternal, bestow
mercy, justice and righteousness,
in the Land.
For in these do I delight,
declares the Eternal.
FROM TALMUD AND MIDRASH
Leviticus Rabbah 9:1,3
Offerings that Honor God
“This is the instruction for the burnt offering…” (Leviticus 6:2)
“This is the instruction for the meal offering…” (Leviticus 6:7)
“This is the instruction for the sin offering…” (Leviticus 6:18)
“This is the instruction for the guilt offering…” (Leviticus 7:1)
“This is the instruction for the sacrifice of peace offerings,
which one shall offer to the Eternal;
if one offers it for thanksgiving…”
This is what is meant by the verse:
“He who sacrifices an offering of thanksgiving
and to one who plans his way
I shall show the salvation of God.”
Why not “He who sacrifices a sin offering honors Me?” Why not “He who sacrifices a guilt offering honors Me?” A sin offering comes because of sin, and a guilt offering comes because of sin, but an offering of thanksgiving does not come because of sin: “He who sacrifices an offering of thanksgiving honors Me…” (Psalms 50:23)!
“…and to one who plans his way I shall show the salvation of God” (ibid.): Rabbi Yannai was out walking and saw a man who appeared to be very distinguished, so he invited the man to be his guest. Rabbi Yannai showed his guest the hospitality of food and drink. He probed to determine what the guest knew of Scripture—nothing, what the guest knew of Mishnah—nothing, what the guest knew of Aggadah—nothing, and what the guest knew of Talmud—nothing. He invited him to lead the Blessings After the Meal, to which the guest responded: Let Yannai lead the blessings in his own home! Said Yannai: Can you say the words after me? The guest responded that he would. Whereupon Yannai said: Say, “A dog has eaten Yannai’s bread!” The guest stood up and, grabbing Yannai, said to him: You are refusing me my inheritance that is in your custody! Yannai responded: What is your inheritance that is in my custody? The guest explained: Once I was passing in front of the school, and I heard the children’s voices reciting, “The Torah commanded us by Moses is an inheritance of the Congregation of Jacob” (Deuteronomy 33:4). Yannai responded: “The Congregation of Yannai” is not written, but “the Congregation of Jacob” is!
But now, asked Yannai, tell me how you come to eat at my table. The guest explained: For all of my days I have never repeated gossip or refrained from making peace between two who are quarreling. Rabbi Yannai expressed his embarrassment: All of your kind behavior, and I managed to call you a dog! He applied to him the verse, “…and to one who plans his way I shall show the salvation of God” (Psalms 50:23): “One who plans his way…” refers to one who plans his actions and words in consideration of the needs and feelings of others; “I shall show the salvation of God” is one of those verses that imply that the salvation of God Himself depends upon the prior salvation by Israel. When Israel behaves in such a way that considers the needs and feelings of others, in that saving behavior shall be reflected God’s own salvation!
Tanchuma Tsav 14
“This is the instruction for the burnt offering…” (Leviticus 6:2)—
literally, “This is the Torah of the burnt offering—
in choosing the words “Torah of” here,
God intends to teach a lesson about the study of Torah:
See how beloved is the study of Torah before the Holy One, blessed be He, in the requirement for every person to commit all of his wealth to the teaching of Torah both for himself and for his children, as was said, “Charge Aaron and his sons with the Torah of the burnt offering…” (Leviticus 6:2), that is, that they should say to the Children of Israel that they should engage in the Torah study of the burnt offering! For while they should sacrifice the burnt offering, they should also engage in the study of it, in order to merit both its offering and its study.
Moreover, Rabbi Samuel bar Abba taught that the Holy One, blessed be He, was saying to Israel: Although the Temple would be destroyed and the sacrifices suspended, do not forget the Seder (Procedure) of Offerings, rather be careful to review their Torah, both Written (Biblical) and Oral (Rabbinic), and if you do, I shall ascribe it to you as if you had engaged in the actual offering.
Said Rabbi Asya: Why do elementary school children begin their study of Torah with the Book of Leviticus? (That seems out of order, because they are beginning with the third book of the Torah rather than with Genesis, the first!) Because it contains all of the offerings, which are purification from sin, and young children have not yet known the taste of sin. So the Holy One, blessed be He, says: Let them begin their studies, while still in a state of purity, on the subject of purity. Then I shall ascribe it to them as if they were presenting the offerings before Me. He also teaches us thereby that even though the Temple has been destroyed and the sacrifices suspended, even without the burnt offering, were it not for the children who study the Seder of Offerings, the world could not stand.
Leviticus Rabbah 10:1,3
Champions of the People
“The Eternal speaks to Moses, saying:
Take Aaron and his sons…”
Out of all the tribe of Levi,
why Aaron for the High Priesthood?
When Israel sought to build the Golden Calf, they went first to Hur (cf. Exodus 24:14) and demanded, “Get up, make for us a god” (Exodus 32:1)! When he refused, they killed him. Then they turned to Aaron with the same demand. Aaron did not refuse; he took their gold and made it into a molten calf: “When Aaron saw, he built an altar before it…” (Exodus 32:5a). But what exactly did he see?
He “saw” alternative outcomes. He realized that if they built it, they would work together to complete it quickly. But if he built it, he could delay its completion until Moses came down from the mountain and rejected the work in progress as idolatry.
Also he thought: If I build the altar, I can build it in the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, as was said: “…Aaron built the altar and announced, ‘Tomorrow is a festival to the Eternal’” (Ibid. 5b)!
He also realized that if they built it, then the offense would be attributed to them: Better that the offense be attributed to me, he thought, and not to Israel!
Rabbi Berechia in the name of Rabbi Abba bar Kahana
associated this verse with Aaron:
“You love righteousness and you hate wickedness;
rightly has God, your God, chosen to anoint you
with oil of gladness over all of your peers!”
“You love righteousness” in that you love to defend and justify My children, “and you hate wickedness” in that you hate to see them condemned. “Rightly has God, your God, chosen to anoint you with oil of gladness over all of your peers”: therefore has God chosen to anoint you as Kohen Gadol over all of Israel out of all of the tribe of Levi!
Rabbi Yudan in the name of Rabbi Azariah associated the same verse (Psalms 45:8) with Abraham our Father when he sought mercy for the Sodomites (Genesis 18:16-33):
Abraham said before Him: Master of the universe, You promised that you would not bring a flood ever again, but are You saying that while you would not bring a flood of water, you would bring a flood of fire? Would you thus evade your oath? Suppose some of the people of Sodom are righteous: Would You still destroy and not save the place for the sake of the few righteous who are in it? “Far be it from You to do such a thing, to wipe away the righteous with the wicked…shall not the Judge of all the earth do justice” (Genesis 18:25)? But the last words can also be read: “The Judge of all the earth shall not do justice!” Abraham was pressing God to suspend justice and spare the entire city—an act of mercy (not justice)—for the sake of a minority of righteous (cf. Genesis 18:26)! This is as if he were arguing before God: If it is only justice that You want, You will not have a world; but if You do want a world, then you cannot in this case have justice. You are trying to pull the rope from both ends: You want a world and You want only justice. If You don’t give a little, Your world will not be able to endure.
Therefore said the Holy One, blessed be He, to Abraham: “You love righteousness” in that you love to defend and justify My children, “and you hate wickedness” in that you hate to see them condemned! “Rightly has God, your God, chosen to anoint you with oil of gladness over all of your peers” (Psalms 45:8)! What did He mean by “over all of your peers?” God said to Abraham: By your life, for ten generations from Noah until you I spoke not with any of them, but now with you “over all of your peers” do I speak!
Yerushalmi Moed Katan 3:5
“You shall sit at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting
day and night for seven days,
and you shall keep the charge of the Eternal.”
Whence do we derive from the Torah that the mourner observes (shiva) for seven days? (Korban Ha-Eydah, David ben Naphtali Frankel, 18th cent.: Even though the seven days of mourning are a Rabbinical law, the Rabbis would not have ordained them if they had not found some support for them in the Torah.) From: “He (Joseph) observed mourning for his father (Jacob) for seven days” (Genesis 50:10).
But this practice occurred before the Torah was given. Do we learn the law from before the Torah (which is the law!) was given?
Rather, Rabbi Jacob bar Acha in the name of Rabbi Zeira derived from the verse, “You shall sit at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting day and night for seven days, and you shall keep the Eternal’s watch” (Leviticus 8:35): Just as the Holy One, blessed be He, kept watch over His world for seven days, so shall you keep watch for seven days over your brothers (Nadab and Abihu, who would lose their lives on “the eighth day,” the day after the seven days of ordination, cf. Leviticus 10:1-2)!
But whence do we derive that the Holy One, blessed be He, kept watch over His world for seven days?
“Then there was a period of seven days before the waters of the Flood came upon the earth” (Genesis 7:10)!
But doesn’t that imply that we mourn before the person dies?!
No, the Holy One, blessed be He, knowing what the future would bring, kept watch over His world for seven days before, but human beings, not knowing what the future will bring, mourn only after a person dies.
There are those who prefer to explain the period of seven days before the waters of the Flood (cf. Genesis 7:10) as seven days of mourning for Methusaleh the Righteous (cf. Genesis 5:25-29). According to Rav, we learn from this that mourning for the righteous prevents punishment that would otherwise come in the future (Talmud Sanhedrin 108b). (Korban Ha-Eydah clarifies that, according to this explanation, the seven days of mourning for Methusaleh, grandfather of Noah, were established to encourage repentance in order to avert the Flood.)
In that case Rabbi Hoshaya derived from the verse, “From the entrance of the Tent of Meeting you shall not go out…as the anointing oil of the Eternal is upon you…” (Leviticus 10:7): Just as you have been saturated with the anointing oil of the Eternal for all seven days, so shall you keep watch over your brothers for seven days! (Korban Ha-Eydah: He interprets the instruction not to go out from the Tent of Meeting as acknowledging that the application of the anointing oil was repeated throughout the seven days. Cf. Leviticus 8:34)
Rabbi Yona and Rabbi Chiya and Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish in the name of Rabbi Yudan Nasi derived from the verse, “I will turn your festivals into mourning” (Amos 8:10): Just as the days of the “festival” (the term by which the Rabbis referred to Sukkot) number seven (cf. Leviticus 23:34), so are the days of mourning seven!
Yalkut Shimoni Jeremiah 277
Valley of Shrieking
Mountain of Celebration
“The Children of Judah
have done that which is evil in My sight,
defiling My House with their idols.
They have built altars of Tofeth
in the Valley of Ben-Hinnom
to burn their sons and their daughters in fire—
something that I did not command
and would never have imagined!”
Our Rabbis taught: Although most of the temples of idolatry were in Jerusalem, the molech (fire god) was in a separate location outside of Jerusalem. How was it done? The molech was inside seven bars. Its face was that of a calf, and its hands were outspread as those of a man who opens his hands to receive something from another. They would heat it up from inside, as it was hollow.
Everyone would enter, one by one, with his offering. Whoever had a bird to offer would approach as far as the first bar and offer it. Whoever had a sheep would approach to the second and offer it. If a goat, then to the third. A calf to the fourth. A bull to the fifth. An ox to the sixth.
“Let those of man
who so sacrifice [zovechey adam]
kiss their idols [agalim]!”
And whoever was there to offer his son would bring him to the seventh and kiss it, as we interpret, “Those who sacrifice man [zovechey adam] kiss calves [agalim]!” Then the child would be brought before the molech as it was superheated from inside until its hands glowed, and they would place the young child into those glowing, scorching hands. During this, they would take drums and bang on them to suppress the sounds of the child’s cries lest his father hear them and lose control. Such is why the valley was named “Ben-Hinnom”: Because the child would shriek [nohem] from the unspeakable torture! Alternatively, because those in attendance would shriek their insane satisfaction over the molech’s imagined gratification: “Enjoy it! Savor it! Delight in it!”
“Therefore the days are coming, declares the Eternal…
when I shall remove
from the cities of Judah
and from the streets of Jerusalem
the (1) sound of joy and the (2) sound of celebration,
the (3) sound of bridegroom and the (4) sound of bride…”
Thus, in those days, the Prophet foresaw
the removal of four gladdening sounds.
But Rabbi Chelbo taught: Whoever partakes of the feast of bridegroom and bride but does not gladden them, it is as if he transgresses fivefold for the five sounds of gladness that the same Prophet foresaw:
“Thus declares the Eternal:
There shall yet be heard in the cities of Judah
and in the streets of Jerusalem that now lie desolate
without inhabitant human or animal
the (1) sound of joy and the (2) sound of celebration,
the (3) sound of bridegroom and the (4) sound of bride,
the (5) sound of thanksgiving to the Eternal in His House…”
Moreover, according to the Prophet,
if he does gladden bridegroom and bride,
he does so fivefold for the five sounds of gladness,
and he provides additional benefits:
Rabbi Abbahu added: When one gladdens bridegroom and bride, it is as if he were restoring the daily offerings, as the Prophet continued:
“…by those who bring an offering of thanksgiving
to the Eternal in His House…”
Rabbi Yochanan added: When one gladdens bridegroom and bride, it is as if he were rebuilding one of the ruins of Jerusalem, as the Prophet concluded:
“…for I shall turn back [asheev] the captivity [shevut] of the Land as at first—
declares the Eternal.”
Rabbi Yochanan understood this to mean:
“I shall then restore [asheev] a ruin [shevut] of the Land as at first…!”
And if he does gladden them, what is his reward?
Said Rabbi Joshua ben Levi: He merits the gift of Torah, which itself was given on Mount Sinai with five sounds of gladness:
“On the third day, when it was morning,
there were (1-4) sounds…upon the mountain,
and an exceedingly loud (5) sound of a shofar…”