Tzav: Something to Notice

“‘And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments,’ (Lev. 6:4). Sages in the School of R. Ishmael taught: The Torah teaches you good manners. The garments in which one cooks a dish for his teacher, he should not wear when he mixes a cup of wine for him.”
Sefer Ha-Aggadah [Book of Legends],* 592:171
based on Babylonian Talmud* Shabbat 114a

This is the ritual of the burnt offering: The burnt offering itself shall remain where it is burned upon the altar all night until morning, while the fire on the altar is kept going on it. The priest shall dress in linen raiment, with linen breaches next to his body; and he shall take up the ashes to which the fire has reduced the burnt offering on the altar and place them beside the altar. He shall then take off his vestments and put on other vestments, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a pure place. — Leviticus/Vayikra 6:2-4

The Sefer Ha-Aggadah piece, provided in its entirety above, reproduces a few sentences from Shabbat 114a. It does not, however, specifically mention dressing for Shabbat, which is the topic of the Talmudic discussion.

In Shabbat 114a, the section quoted by Sefer Ha-Aggadah is introduced with the following: “Whence do we learn change of garments [as an act of honor] in the Torah? Because it is said…” (The Mishnah under discussion begins, “One may fold up garments even four or five times…on the night of the Sabbath.”)

Elsewhere in Sefer Ha-Aggadah, related discussions, from Shabbat 113a, appear:

“Your [leisurely way of walking on the Sabbath is not to be like your [hurried] way of walking on weekdays….your talk on the Sabbath is not to be like your talk on weekdays” (490:52)

“R. Huna said: If one has a change of garments, he should change them; but if he has nothing to change into, he should let them down. [Footnote: And not tuck them up, as he does when he is working]” (490:51)

* Please see Source Materials for full citations and additional information.

The “Opening the Book” series was originally presented in cooperation with the independent, cross-community Jewish Study Center and with Kol Isha, an open group that for many years pursued spirituality from a woman’s perspective at Temple Micah (Reform). “A Song Every Day” is an independent blog, however, and all views, mistakes, etc. are the author’s.

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Virginia hosts "Conversations Toward Repair" on We Act Radio, manages, blogs on general stuff a and more Jewish topics at and

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