“The one lamb you shall offer up in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer up in the afternoon” (Bamidbar 28:4).
Parshas Pinchas contains a long list of sacrifices brought on various occasions. The first is the Korban Tamid, the daily sacrifice. This offering is brought every day of the year, even on Shabbos, even on Yom Kippur.
There’s something beautiful about consistency. But consistency does have one major pitfall. The Torah alludes to it right after our opening pasuk, referring to “the continual burnt offering, which was made at Mount Sinai for a pleasant aroma, a fire offering, before Hashem” (Bamidbar 28:6).
What does the tamid offered on Mount Sinai have to do with the daily sacrifice?
Been There, Done That
Rabbi Yosef Salant explains that when something is done day in, day out, as wonderful as it may be, it eventually becomes rote, stale, automatic. It gets old.
Every day we put on tefillin, often quickly and perfunctorily. But watch a bar mitzvah boy put them on, making sure they’re straight, tight, and in place. What a difference! We may have worn tefillin for forty years. On the one hand, that’s great – that’s “tamid,” consistency. We can look back and say we never missed a day! But that tamid also becomes old hat and sometimes lacks the true meaning of the mitzvah.
Therefore, in the middle of instituting the Korban Tamid, which applies forever, the Torah takes us back to its fragrant forerunner at Sinai. Remember that first Tamid! Hashem tells us. Remember the enthusiasm and excitement! There should be a little of that Tamid in the one offered every day.
The same goes for our davening. And for every mitzvah we do regularly. Consistency mustn’t lead to mediocrity. Our very strength shouldn’t become a weakness.
This is the goal and the lesson of the Korban Tamid. We must serve Hashem every day, but as if we were back at Sinai, doing everything for the first time. Our paradigm may be a burnt offering, but let’s not let our enthusiasm go up in smoke! (Rabbi Yissocher Frand, “The Pitfall of Consistency: Been There, Done That”)
Question for Discussion:
It’s hard to be consistent, to stick to a routine. It’s even harder to remain excited about it. What is something you do by rote but should pay more attention to?