By Five Towns Marriage Initiative
Parashas Tzav describes the Korban Todah, the thanksgiving offering. In most ways, this korban is identical to the Korban Shlamim, the peace offering. There are however two major differences. The Korban Todah has a shorter amount of time within which the offering must be eaten, a day and a night, as compared to the Korban Shlamim, which is a full two days and a night. Additionally, the Korban Todah requires that it be brought with 40 loaves of bread.
The Netziv explains that Hashem increased the amount of food and decreased the amount of time allotted to eat the food in order to insure that the person bringing the Korban Todah would invite a lot of guests. This would enable him to finish the amount of food without violating the prohibition of leaving over leftovers. He explains that since the Korban Todah was brought to express thanks to Hashem, Hashem wanted the thanks to be expressed publicly. To this end, Hashem set up a situation that would necessitate him inviting many others to join with him so he could express his thanks in front of a group. Today, instead of the Korban Todah we have the blessing of “hagomel” which is similarly recited in public to thank Hashem for saving us from a dangerous situation.
In general, thanksgiving is a recognition of receiving something undeserved or unexpected and feeling a debt of gratitude to the giver. The more one feels that what he received was deserved, the less obligated he feels to show his gratitude. Obviously, in extreme situations such as those that necessitate bringing a Korban Todah (or today saying the blessing of hagomel) it is so clear to us that we owe Hashem gratitude for His tremendous kindness to us.
While we all know that Hashem owes us nothing and everything is truly a gift, sometimes during our day-to-day existence we forget this to some degree and begin to feel that on some level we deserve all the good we have. As we sit down at the Pesach Seder, it’s a special time to look around and feel that we have been given so much and express publicly our appreciation to Hashem for all that He does for us. We also can take this as an opportunity to express our appreciation to our spouse and our loved ones as well. May our tefillos at the end of the Seder for “L’Shanah Habaah B’Yerushalayim Habinuyah” be answered, and may we be zocheh to see the return of the Korban Pesach and Korban Todah speedily and in our days. v
Five Towns Marriage Initiative provides educational programs, workshops, and referrals to top marriage therapists. FTMI will help offset counseling costs when necessary and also runs an anonymous shalom bayis hotline for the entire community Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings, 10:00—11:00 p.m. For the hotline or for more information, call 516-430-5280 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.