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    Milu’im – Tzav

    In the Israel Defence Force, reserve duty is called milu’im. It is from a root that means to fill one’s hands.

    In this week’s portion there is a ram called “the ram of milu’im” (Lev. 8:22). Targum Onkelos paraphrases it as simply kurbanaya, “sacrifice”. English translators think the word has the connotation of “ordination” but not in the technical sense of a person being accorded the rank and title of “rabbi”.

    However, Rashi sees an analogy. He points out that it means the same as sh’lamim. Both words convey the sense of appointment to a special task in relation to the priesthood in that the priest was fully (maleh) and completely (shalem) appointed to his role.

    This must be what is behind the translation, “the ram of consecration”, which we find in some versions. The ram of milu’im has a ceremonial significance that denotes the priest’s special role.

    In the case of the Israeli military milu’im, the citizen carries a great burden of national responsibility.

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