asulin nitzavim

Parshat Tzav with Rabbi Asulin

Moshe is told (Vayikra 6:1):

“Command Aaron and his sons…”“צַ֤ו אֶת־אַֽהֲרֹן֙ וְאֶת־בָּנָ֣יו …”

Rashi (ibid[1]) explains the word “Tzav” (“צַו “):

“The expression צַו always denotes urging [to promptly and meticulously fulfil a particular commandment].”

The Hebrew word Rashi references is “זריזות” – Zrizut. The attribute of Zrizut is a positive virtue according to Chaza”l, and the Ramcha”l[2] in his work Mesilat Yesharim (The Path of the Upright) counts it as the second most fundamental attribute for a person.

However, there is sometimes a confusion between “Zrizut” and speed. In Hebrew Zrizut usually means agility, which is about quickness. Hence, some think that a good Yid must perform Mitzvot in a rush, as fast as one can.

However, the true meaning of Zrizut is not to do things fast, but rather to do them with diligence. You can do it slowly and thoroughly, just do not waste time and do not delay a Mitzvah unnecessarily.

The process of making Matzot[3] also requires maximum efficiency and zero wasted time. The result will be of course faster, but not because of a rush – but because of pure diligence, like the story of the tortoise and the hare.

It’s an important lesson for life. If we want to be better at serving HaShem, and better at life, we don’t need to rush through everything to achieve more Mitzvot, or to multitask so we can do more in quantity. Rather, we need to prioritize Mitzvot high enough that we are always busy with them. And when we do them, we should be present in the moment so we live life to the fullest in quality.


[1] Translation from Chabad.org

[2] R’ Moshe Chaim Luzzatto

[3] Matzot, just like Mitzvot, and the words are indeed similar, and even more so in Hebrew: מצות-מצוות.

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