Parshat Tzav doesn’t apply to daily life. Let’s do away with the Torah, because it’s all a bunch of pointless, ancient rituals that are totally meaningless.
You’d think I’m being a jerk when I write like that. But in all honesty, this is how most people feel when they get to the Levitical code. What good does a bunch of rules about burning animal fat have to do with today?
For me, it’s about the flame (and I’m not talking about Richard Simmons). The flame that was used to burn the sin offerings had to burn forever: an eternal flame inside the temple (mishkan).
We no longer have a temple, so Jews are forced to look inward and create a tent of our own meeting with the divine. This is why we pray: we offer up something emotional instead of physical. We even refer to our bodies sometimes as “temples”.
The fire, then, is a a light that forever burns inside us. It ignites our passion for healing the world (tikkun olam), justice (tzedakah), and all the other parts of a noble life, whether its a “Jewish” value or simply a universal one.
When we stoke the fire of our good nature, we keep alive the warmth from thousands of years ago, when our spiritual ancestors brought the best that they had to the temple in honor of G-d and in atonement for their sins and offerings of peace. Be proud to carry on this tradition, and let your personal light shine on forever.