Why Korbanos? That’s Why…

March 12, 2018 at 2:51 AM , ,

“…A man who shall bring from you an offering to G-d…” – Vayikra 1:2

אָדָם כִּי יַקְרִיב מִכֶּם קָרְבָּן לַה’ – ויקרא א, ב

The significance that the Torah attributes to animal sacrifice is mystifying. Why would the physical slaughter and burning of an animal be our primary form of Divine worship (see Avos 1:2 and Yerushalmi, Taanis 4:1)? Would a spiritual form of worship, in which a Jew’s attachment to G-d is sensed and revealed, not be more suitable as the focal point of the service in the Mishkan and Beis Hamikdash?

Why Korbanos
In truth, however, the sacrifices’ significance lies precisely in their apparent lack of spiritual meaning. The word for sacrifice in Hebrew is קרבן, korban, from the word קרוב, meaning close. This means that the purpose of the sacrifices is to arouse and express the essential “closeness” of G-d and the Jewish people. This connection transcends even the attachment to G-d achieved by observing His commands. That is why the sacrifices atone for transgression of the Torah, for a sacrifice reveals the Jew’s essential and unbreakable bond with G-d, and thereby repairs any deficiency in their relationship caused by a lack of Torah observance.

An exercise in which the Jew’s unique spiritual capacities are prominently featured could not adequately express this bond, for this closeness is not the result of the Jew’s worship and efforts. It is purely the result of G-d’s existential choice in His beloved nation. The unbreakable bond between the Jewish people and G-d is therefore expressed through a Jew offering a korban, a service whose meaning is not obvious—but for the fact that G-d deems it desirable when a Jew offers a sacrifice.

—Likkutei Sichos vol. 22, pp. 3-4


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