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March 14, 2013, 4:07 pm
Filed under: ANIMAL SACRIFICES, corbonot, PARSHA VAYIKRA | Tags:
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Bs”d                                                         UPDATED March 14TH 2019


The Chesed LaAvraham teaches that Vayikra has 172 chapters corresponding the 172 words in the 10 commandments. One who occupies in this part of the Torah has 172 blessings. It is like they have fulfilled all the commandments.

This weeks parsha explains the ritual aspect of many “corbanot” (sacrifices) that are made in the Holy Temple, may it be rebuilt quickly in our days. Most people probably think the whole idea of animal sacrifices are primitive and even cruel. This is kind of strange when you think of it, because most of us eat meat ourselves. The sacrificial system does not fit  into a Twenty-First Century mindset so comfortably. The idea of “corbonot” (animal sacrifices) in deed seems very strange for us in this generation, almost two thousand years after the Holy Temple was destroyed and the last “corbonot” were brought. Indeed the concept of “Korbonot” is a very lofty spiritual idea but we are just too removed from it, to appreciate it. “Real” contact with “corbonot” can be felt by reading the Neviim (Prophets, Shoftim, Shmuel, Melachim and the later prophets). Bringing “corbonot” for our ancestors was almost like praying for us. Know that “Corbonot” were brought together with prayer. We brought a “corbon” to achieve closeness to God. In this, “corbonos” are not any different from the other “mitzvos” (commandments). All commandments are given for this purpose.

Learning the “corbonot” now works like bringing them. As the Prophet Hoshia says “Take with you words, and turn to the Lord; say to him: Forgive all iniquity, and receive us graciously; so will we offer the words of our lips instead of calves.” (chapt 14) “corbonot” were brought from three types of animals bulls, sheep and goats, from two types of birds pigeons or doves there also were “corbonot” of flour from wheat or barley and of wine.

The “corban Olah” (Burnt offering) was completely burned on the Alter. It was brought voluntarily to achieve atonement for the sin of evil thoughts. There were also types of obligatory “Olah” brought by individuals on holidays.. There was also community “Olah” brought twice daily and on Shabbot.

“Shlamim” (Peaceful offerings) were brought voluntarily and most of it was eaten by the owner, his family and friends and whoever else was invited. The meat was eaten within the Jerusalem before the end of the next day. A small portion of the animal was given to Cohanim who could eat it with their families. A Peaceful offering is a feast of meat, a shared meal, a banquet between people who are expressing their friendship and peace between them and God. “Corban Todah” (Thanksgiving offering). Is a type of “Shlamim” brought for when one  traveled in the sea, crossed deserts, people who were sick and recovered and the ones that were imprisoned and released. These four all brought a “Corban Todah”

It is brought  with 40 breads of 4 types of ten loafs each. 3 of breads were of different types of “matza” and the last kind is “chametz” (leavened). The amount of “chametz” bread is the same as for all of “matza” breads since each loaf of “chametz” is three times as big as a “matza” bread.

“Chatat” (Sin offering) and “Asham” were “corbonot” for various sins. These “corbonot” were eaten only by Cohanim. “Chatat” was generally brought when a person accidentally broke a commandment, which has a penalty of “Corait” (spiritually being cut off from the Jewish people) when a person did the transgression intentionally.  For example, if a person ate meat believing that it was kosher and later found out that it was pork, he would be required to bring a “sin offering” but an individual who deliberately denies Jewish dietary regulations is not given the option to bring a “Chatat” (Sin offering) . The “corban Asham” were brought for when uncertain of guilt, a person thought they may have sinned but were unsure. (Leviticus 5:17-18). A “corban asham” was also brought for theft, for profane benefit from sacred things, violation of a enganged women, a “Nazir” at the end of his period of Nazariteship, the leper bring a “asham” when he has been purified. Its interesting that the Torah makes a distinction when speaking of the sin of a private individual and a leader in Yisrael. The Torah says : “If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments”,”If the anointed priest sins”, “If the entire congregation of Israel sins” – but regarding the chieftain it says: “When a a leader of a tribe sins.” With the leader of a tribe it does not seem to be a matter of “if” he will sin but “when”.

The 40 years while the Israelites sojourned in the desert, they were forbidden to slaughter meat for their own personal consumption. They were only allowed to eat from  “Shalomim” (Peace offerings) brought to the Tabernacle (Deut. 12:20).


   After I graduated University I began to seriously explore my interest in spirituality. When I looked at Judaism. Naturally the first book I read was the Five Books of Moses. Genesis and Exodus were pretty interesting. But then I got to Leviticus and saw page after page of animal sacrifices !

Wow,” I remember thinking to myself “This is really crazy stuff!! Once upon a time they actually did these bloody rituals, it’s obviously obsolete today! Don’t any of those Orthodox Rabbis know this?

It all made no sense, little did I know that the greatest of Divine secrets are involved with the sacrifices.

In the temple of king Solomon a fire would come down from heaven to consume the daily offerings on the alter. Yet we still made a fire below. There is a verse in Thillim   (Psalms)   “Happy is the man whom you choose, and bring near.” (Psalm 65). In the Holy Zohar it explains ; who are those that Hashem brings close ?. It is those who first take a step in that direction. We can see Hashem demands a action below by us, we see this in man making the fire on the alter. In order to raise your self up and the world we must do something of Divine service then God will respond in kind, with great mercy.   We learn from the Zohar a sacrifice is called in Biblical Hebrew a “corbon” from the same root as the word “corov” which means closeness. In Beor Esser Sefirot העטרת (the Crown) is called heart it is the place in the beginning of all tefilot (prayers). The הקרבנות (the sacrifices) are in עליוןלב (the supernal heart). This is the din (judgment) concerning tefilot. As this prayer is as a קרבן which purifies and brings one קרב (close).   We can learn a lot from the Temple service. Dont take benefit of a mitzvah (commandment) before it is complete (dont create a incomplete mitzvah or lacking compared to what you are capable of). This is as if a Cohen were to eat from a sacrifice before he had completed his required Divine service with it. Do the mitzvot in a way of כבוד (honor) due to the Holy king. Dont enter into doing the Mitzvot in a light headed way. By comprehension of the mitzvot one comes to be careful with their fulfillment as then they understand that the mitzvot involve Holiness. Then they will do them with all their power, cherishing and guarding their kidusha. But if one enters to fulfill mitzvot with arrogance or not in a serious way they will not comprehend in truth “hashgacha” (divine providence), or see the way of the Mitzvot.1 Like a sacrifice, Torah is offered as a gift to Hashem. In the Zohar Barashit it is taught During times when sacrifices were offered sin never clung to Yisrael as these offerings made atonement for them. The Zohar Vayikra teaches that the inner most alter was for Incense, it is the “small still voice.” (the Spirit of Holiness). The ark is Bina including 32 paths which is the source of the Nashama Yetera of Shabot which is Chuchmah , the fire of the Brass alter, it stands against the fire of Ghenom.2 The section of the korbanot is interrupted by a law which tells us that part of the fat and blood of an animal is forbidden for a Jew eat blood (Vayikra 7:22-27). We are forbidden to consume blood and fat even if they come from a kosher animal. Interesting these two parts of the animal are brought to the altar.

The work of the Holy Temple will continue once again as we see from the Prophet Jeremiah:   “ Behold the days are coming says YHVH I will perform the good thing which I promised to the house of Israel, and to the house of   Yehudah. In those days at that time, I will cause an offshoot of righteousness to grow up for David and He shall execute   justice and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Yehudah be saved and Jerusalem shall dwell safely and this is   the name whereby she shall be called YHVH is our righteousness. Thus says YHVH David shall never lack a man sitting on   the thrown of the house of Israel. Neither shall the Cohen and Levites lack a man before me to offer Burnt   offerings and to burn Meal offerings and to do sacrifice for all days ”(33:14-18)   The Radak explains ”offshoot of righteousness” this refers to Messiah. The Metsudat David says we will call the place of Jerusalem when this prophesy is fulfilled YHV”H is our righteousness. This depicts a little how dramatic this time will be to Jerusalem. The Metsudat David teaches us from the words ” do sacrifice for all days” that there will not be cut off the sacrifice because there shall forever be this service. God will return the Cohaniam (Descendants of Aharon) and all their aspects as described in the Torah into action again as in days of old   In Marachot Elokim the main thing of גאולה (redemption) is in the night time so the corban pasach (pasach sacrifice) is only brought at night.