Rabbi Sherman’s Weekly Torah Commentary – March 18-19 , 2022 (16 Adar II 5782)


March 18-19, 2022                                                                                                 Shabbat Tzav
16 Adar II 5782


This week we read the commandment to keep stoking a fire: “A fire on the altar must be kept burning within… Keep a fire burning constantly on the altar; do not let it go out (Lev 6:2, 6:6).”

The word “within” begs for context: keep the fire burning within what? On a simple level, the priests were instructed to keep the sacrificial fire burning on the altar in the ancient Tabernacle (and later the ancient Temple in Jerusalem). They were to add fuel regularly to keep the fire burning, even on Shabbat when burning fire was otherwise forbidden.

Read another way, we might ask: keep the fire burning within whom? Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky writes that the commandment to keep the constant fire burning symbolizes how we should nurture our own inner spirits, passion and enthusiasm. He says the fire burns within the heart of every person. If that is true, then it follows that we have to keep stoking that inner yearning to seek beauty and meaning in the world.

The Zohar, the central work of Jewish mysticism written in 13th century Spain, offers a wonderful teaching about the fire within us: “A wise person should open his or her eyes and see a flame burning above his or her head, and realize that the flame needs fuel. The human body is a wick, and the Divine Presence is a flame. What is the fuel? Good deeds” (Zohar 3:187a).

What fuels your search for meaning and your desire to help others?



Please join in this week’s Shabbat celebrations:

Friday at 5:00 PM             Shabbat Blessings in the Dining Room

Friday at 6:30 PM             Shabbat Birthday Service with Rabbi Sherman & Cantor Shikler

                                          Channel 1960 or in the Synagogue (limited seating; masks required)

Saturday at 10:00 AM      Shabbat Morning Service

Channel 1960 or in the Synagogue (limited seating; masks required)

Saturday at 12:15 PM      Blessings in the Dining Room


Candle lighting time for the city of Mission Viejo: Friday evening at 6:43 PM

Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 7:39 PM


Shabbat Shalom                                                                                               Rabbi Sherman