web analytics
March 4, 2015 / 13 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Sacrifices Celebrate Our Love Of God

This week’s portion continues the theme of the sacrificial service. There are many suggestions as to the reasoning behind this enigmatic yet important element of our tradition.

Ramban understands the Mishkan as a kind of portable Mt. Sinai. Mt. Sinai was a physical mountain through which the Jewish people were able to feel God’s presence more powerfully. This was also the purpose of the Mishkan, where God’s presence was integrated into human souls.

There are many similarities between Mt. Sinai and the Mishkan. As Am Yisrael surrounded Mt. Sinai, the place from where the voice of God was heard, so too did Israel encamp around the Mishkan from where the presence of God was especially felt. In this sense, the Mishkan was a constant ratification of the covenant at Mt. Sinai between God and the Jewish people that was validated at Mt. Sinai. The covenant is reaffirmed through the tabernacle.

With this concept of the Mishkan in mind, the sacrifices can be understood. The two major covenants in the Torah – the covenant of the pieces and the covenant at Sinai – are accompanied by sacrifice. Indeed, as God appears at Mt. Sinai, the covenant reaches its crescendo when the Jewish people eat and drink.

The presence of a sacrifice in these covenantal experiences can be looked upon as a celebration of this glorious moment of meeting between God and his people. Much like a seudah celebrates our relationship with God on Shabbat or Yom Tov, so too the korban celebrates the covenant. The covenant is eternalized through rituals associated with the sacrificial service.

In his book The Temple, Rabbi Joshua Berman notes that salt was always used on the korban and is called brit melach. As salt gives sharpness and longer life to food, so too is the covenant blessed with eternity. In Rabbi Berman’s words, the salt marks “the eternal nature of the covenant…[it is] a statement about the lasting duration of the covenantal bond.”

Flour and wine, which are also often associated with sacrifices, teach the message of the importance of tradition coupled with freshness. The best wine is wine that is old, wine that is rooted in the past. Flour, on the other hand is edible if new and fresh. Continuity in the sacrificial service depends on the bridging of the past with the present, forging a new and profound future.

While we do not celebrate the covenant with sacrifices today, we must constantly see to it that the covenant seems new and fresh. While maintaining the tradition of the past, it should always be a creative, stirring, and exciting shir chadash, new song; otherwise the love with God becomes stale.

The korbanot offered in the Mishkan, together with its fine ingredients, are glorious reminders of our endless love of the Ruler of Rulers. It is the ultimate State Dinner. But this time the honoree is truly worthy – it is, after all, God Himself.

About the Author: Rabbi Avi Weiss is founder and president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and senior rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Sacrifices Celebrate Our Love Of God”

  1. Thanks for the article, Rabbi. I like how you say the covenant we keep should maintain the tradition of the past, while being creative, stirring, and exciting. I grew up in a church where repetition was taken as worship. The congregation would sing the same songs every service, and when they went to mix in contemporary music, the repetition got worse as the song leader would have the congregation repeat the already repetitive chorus, again and again and again and again. Why do so many religious institutions require repetition as part of their curriculum? I see the value in repetition in factories and memorization, but I do not see how parrots and robots are able to praise anything when they're simply going through the pre-programmed motions with no real thought going into the application. How does mindless repetition bring praise to anything? We were not built in the image of a robot. We were built by the most creative force, and I'd imagine it gets pretty boring listening to a bunch of parrots squawking the same things over and over again. For many churches, they might as well build "worship bots" that go through the same motions as the humans in the congregation do, and they'd probably put about as much heart in their praise of the Creator as the humans do in their assembly pews.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
An Arab sheikh hands out flowers in a gesture of brotherhood and good will.
Haifa U Research Confirms, ‘Think Good & It Will Be Good!’
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Sacks

The Sabbath is a full dress rehearsal for an ideal society that has not yet come to pass-but will

When Hashem told Moshe of the option to destroy the people and make him and his descendants into a great nation, Hashem was telling Moshe that it is up to him.

Mordechai on the King's horse, being led by Haman

Just like Moses and Aaron, Mordechai decides to ruin the party…

Daf-Yomi-logo

An Auto Accident
‘All Agree That They Are Exempt’
(Kesubbos 35a)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Why would the exemption of women from donating the half shekel exempt them from davening Musaf?

This concept should be very relevant to us as we, too, should be happy beyond description.

The Holocaust was the latest attempt of Amalek to destroy the special bond that we enjoy with God.

One can drink up to the Talmud’s criterion to confuse Mordechai and Haman-but not beyond.

“The voice is the voice of Yaakov, but the hands are the hands of Esav” gives great insight to Purim

Purim is the battleground of extremes, Amalek and Yisrael, with Zoroastrian Persia in between.

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

Does Hashem ever go away and not pay attention to us?

In other words, the Torah is an expression of the Way that we must follow in order to live a divine-like life and to bond in the highest way possible with God or Being Itself.

More Articles from Rabbi Avi Weiss
Rabbi Avi Weiss

In holy places it’s important to maintain a level of silence permitting people to dialogue with God

Rabbi_Weiss_Speaking500

A 3rd option: No demarcation between bein adam laMakom & bein adam lechaveiro; they’re complementary

The truth is that a mitzvah may not be the result of belief but rather the means to come to believe.

“Where is God?” asked the Kotzker Rebbe “God is not everywhere but only where you let Him enter”

In fact, wherever you see soldiers in Paris today, you pretty much know you’re near Jewish site

Recouping $ and assets from Germans and Swiss for their Holocaust actions is rooted in the Exodus

The plagues don’t reveal a God of vengeance but of compassion; after each triplet Egypt can repent

“He looked this way and that way” means Moses looked within to see whether he was Egyptian or Jewish

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/sacrifices-celebrate-our-love-of-god/2014/03/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: