Tzav – Paths to Leadership

13 Aaron and his sons will offer to YHWH this offering on the day of his anointment: a 10th of a measure of semolina, a regular grain offering: half in the morning and in the evening.

Leviticus 6
Dedication - Location - Affirmation - Action

This order may seem odd but it is the way our venerated leaders came to serve the people. Cohanim (priests), prophets, judges and others have had a pattern of their own when awakening to their ancient tasks. A realization of a purpose and a clear view of the vocation in a specific place, at a certain time, and even a ceremony, merely marked the first steps that brought a leader on a journey of service.

No service would ever be identical to any other. Aaron, the first Cohen (priest), did not serve in the same manner as his sister Miriam the Prophetess – neither reflected the future tasks of Jeremiah, or Deborah.

Whether they served willingly or not, there was a definitive moment that launched each one of them into leadership.

Aaron lit the first flame on the menorah:


Menorah from Tel Rehov

3 Aaron did so he placed its flames facing the front of the menorah as YHWH had commanded Moses.

Numbers 8

Miriam’s fingers grasped for a drum to beating out the rhythm of liberation:

A clay figurine, playing the tambourine.
A clay figurine, playing the tambourine.

20 Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the tambourine in her hand; all of the other women followed her out dancing with tambourines.

Exodus 15

The words of prophecy welled up inside of the prophet Jeremiah to bathe the people awaiting direction:

Prophet Jeremaia
Jeremiah by Michelangelo

1 The word that Jeremiah had with YHWH saying: 2 Stand in the gate of the house of YHWH, call out the word; say hear the word of YHWH, All of Judah who come into these gates to prostrate to YHWH.

Jeremiah 7

Wise judgements were pronounced by Deborah to direct the crowd:

האלה הענקית ברמות נפתלי
Ancient gnarled oak

4 So Deborah was female prophet, the wife of Lapidot – she judged Israel in that era. 5 And she, Deborah, sat under an oak tree (tomer devorah) between Haramah and Bet El – on the Ephraim hill; the children of Israel went up to her for judgement.

Judges 4

Future leaders of the People of Israel beware of the countdown and brace for ignition. We on the ground will watch for your lift off and follow the trail of smoke for inspiration. Try to follow the ancient leaders and plot your course straight and true, because we, the People, will always be watching.

Midrash Harabah and English translations by Rabbi Gail Shuster-Bouskila ©2021