This week’s Middat HaShavuah, taken from this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Tzav, instructs us to pay attention to details. The verse reads as follows:

Parshah: צו 

Key Verse: וַיַּעַשׂ אַהֲרֹן וּבָנָיו–אֵת כָּל-הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר-צִוָּה יְהוָה  

Vayikrah 8:36

Middah: Pay attention to details 

The Middah is teaching us that it is important to be detail-oriented. Why do details matter and why does being a detailed-oriented person matter? Detailed-oriented people pay close attention to the specifics of problems, questions, and projects. They are often observant, meticulous, and thorough. They are able to identify and correct errors, plan and organize effectively, and are able to deliver high-quality work. What we produce in our lives, be it at school, at home, and in our interpersonal relationships matters, and, as such the details matter.

One can also ask the question, is paying attention to detail a skill or a behaviour? Most social scientists would say that paying close attention to detail is a skill. People value individuals that they can trust to get the little things done right, so this is an important skill to have in all aspects of life. And like any skill, it must be developed, practiced, and nurtured.

Rashi expands on the verse from the Parsha. He says “לְהַגִּיד שִׁבְחָן” which means “to tell their praise.” Rashi is saying that Aaron and his sons did everything that G-d commanded, and did so with close attention to detail and they did not turn to the right nor to the left. In other words, their meticulous attention to detail should be worthy of praise.

Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, also known as Rabbi Loew, the Maharal of Prague, wrote a commentary on Rashi’s commentary called “Gur Aryeh.” (Talk about attention to detail!) He expands on Rashi by saying not only did they pay attention to detail, which in and of itself is praiseworthy, but did so with joy because they considered their work to be עבודת קודש or “holy work” or truly an honour and something special. When we approach our work with attention to detail AND with joy, we find great fulfillment and satisfaction.

We are all familiar with the quote “G-d is in the details.” When we approach our work, no matter what work we are doing, with attention to detail AND joy, we find that we can get just a little closer to HaShem. כן יהי רצון – May it be HaShem’s will!

Shabbat Shalom U’Mevorach,

Moreh Alan