The third and final chapter of Parshat Tzav discusses in detail the inauguration and consecration process of Aaron and his sons as Kohanim. The process was completed with Moshe slaughtering the eil hamiluim — the inauguration ram — which was brought as a korban shelamim — peace offering. Afterwards, Moshe took some of its blood and placed it upon the middle part of Aaron’s right ear, upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the big toe of his right foot. Then he brought the sons of Aaron forward and repeated the same applications of blood (8:23-24).

Rabbi Aaron Lewin of Raisha, Glacia-Poland (1879-1941), in his sefer Haderash V’ha’iyun, offers the following explanation for the significance of this process and the message implied.

The Kohanim are dedicated servants of Klal Yisrael. Placing blood on the ear indicates that they must always have an “ozen shoma’at” — “a listening ear” — to constantly hear what is going on in the community. Secondly, the hand represents action — the Kohen should always do his utmost to help the community with their material and spiritual needs. Finally, the feet are the organs of movement carrying one from place to place and to higher elevations. The Kohen must remember not to be satisfied and content with his achievements thus far, but always strive to advance in his personal status and attain higher levels of perfection. By adhering to this message he will find favor in the eyes of Hashem and people, and receive acclaim from all.

My dear Bar Mitzvah, though the Torah has decreed this process for Kohanim, in reality Hashem declared every Jew as a member of “mamlechet Kohanim” — “a kingdom of Kohanim” (Shemot 19:6) and the homiletic lesson applies to everyone. Now is your inauguration as a full time mature adult member of Klal Yisrael, I urge you to consecrate and dedicate these three organs to the service of Hashem.

Firstly, it is imperative that you always have an “ozen shoma’at” — “a listening ear” — one attuned to listen and obey Hashem’s Torah and the teachings of our Rabbis.

Secondly, be an “ish hama’aseh” — “a person of action” — practice and perform mitzvot and open your hand to assist your fellow Jew materially and spiritually.

Finally, last but not least, sanctify your feet — keep going from level to level — higher and higher in your personal sheleimut — wholeness and refinement.

Before concluding, let me add one more thought. Perhaps the reason why blood is placed on these organs and not any other liquid may be the following:

Blood represents heat. When one is anemic, G‑d forbid, he feels cold. When one has more than enough blood he feels very hot. Placing blood on these organs implies that doing what they represent should be done with warmth, alacrity, and enthusiasm.

My dear Bar Mitzvah, if you follow these three lessons, you will be a very eminent and distinguished member in Hashem’s Kingdom of Kohanim.