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Tzav; The Cleansing of Repentance

V’heirim es ha’deshen asher tochal ha’aish es ha’olah al ha’mizbeach … v’hotzee es ha’deshen el mi’chutz l’machaneh (6:3-4) Our parsha begins with the mitzvah of removing

the ashes of the consumed sacrifices from the altar. The Shelah HaKadosh quotes Rav Menachem HaBavli as explaining that this mitzvah symbolically alludes to the fact that after a person has repented and brought a sacrifice in the Beis HaMikdash to complete his atonement, his previous mistakes are to be forgotten and no longer mentioned.


By requiring the Kohen to remove all physical reminders of his offering, the Torah teaches us that from now on he is to be respected as any other upstanding Jew, as the Gemora teaches (Berachos 34b) that repented former sinners are able to stand on a higher level than even the completely righteous who never sinned to begin with.


For the same reason, the Alshich HaKadosh and Kli Yakar (6:9) write that the Korban Asham and Chatas, which are brought to atone for transgressions, are referred to by the Torah as “Kodesh Kodashin” – the holiest of holies – as the Gemora in Yoma (86b) teaches that a person who is motivated to repent for his sins out of love for Hashem will have his misdeeds not just erased but turned into merits.


Although the perfectly righteous are considered “holy,” the extra merits accrued through proper repentance transform a sacrifice ostensibly associated with sin into something even greater, “the holiest of holies.”

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