Tzav – Rishon

The Bride of Frankincense

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Next, G-d gave Moshe instructions for the kohanim about burnt offerings.

Burnt offerings were to remain on the altar all night. In the morning, the kohein would put on his linen garments and remove the ashes. He would then change clothes and take the ashes to a ritually-clean place outside the camp. The kohein would place wood on the fire of the altar for the day’s sacrifices; the fire was to be kept burning at all times and not be put out.

As far as flour offerings, a kohein would take three fingers full of the wheat flour mixed with olive oil and all of the frankincense. These were burned and the kohanim could eat the rest. It had to be eaten on Temple (or Tabernacle) grounds and the kohanim were not allowed to prepare it leavened. Not only was this flour reserved for the exclusive use of the kohanim, any food cooked with it assumed the same degree of holiness. (Foods cooked together transmit properties via taste. See Rashi on 6:11, quoting Talmud Zevachim 97a.)

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