"Speak to the people of Isra'el; say to them, 'When any of you brings an offering to Adonai, you may bring your animal offering either from the herd or from the flock.
(Lev 1:2 CJB)
TRUE HAPPINESS DEPENDS ON OUR CL
FROM THE HEBREW.
In English, the word “sacrifice” refers to something that is very hard to give. “Offering” also refers to something we offer, or give. The problem is that the Hebrew word used in this text has nothing to do with the idea of giving something precious to HaShem. This actually resembles more the pagan ideas of ”bribing” God in order to have an audience with Him.
The words used in this text use the Hebrew root, “ק-ר-ב,” a root expressing the idea of nearness, closeness, or approachment. From it we get the verb, “lekarev לקרב:-to approach; the word karov קרוב:, which mean to be close; and the reflexive verb, lehakriv להקריב:to approach which is used in Leviticus 1:2. Notice the recurring verbal roo ק-ר-ב which I put in bold characters.
As such, if I were to translate our verse literally, it would read like this, “When a man desire to bring himself to approach HaShem, let him bring a token of approachment.”
Lev 1:2 דבר אל־בני ישׂראל ואמרת אלהם אדם כי־יקריב מכם קרבן ליהוה מן־הבהמה מן־הבקר ומן־הצאן תקריבו את־קרבנכם׃
A CONTINUING STORY.
Throughout the Book of Exodus, Moshe had access to the cloud of glory on the mountain. HaShem tells him that the Children were to build him a Tabernacle on earth, he would come live with them,. They build Tabernacle; then we are told that,
The cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of Adonai filled the tabernacle. Moshe was unable to enter the tent of meeting, because the cloud remained on it, and the glory of Adonai filled the tabernacle. (Exo 40:34-35 CJB)
It sounds like something went wrong. But this is not the end of the story. Leviticus continues with the protocol teaching us how to approach haShem while on earth. After all, we don’t go see a king, a president, or a magistrate without there be a certain protocol involved. The same goes with HaShem who is Spirit. Our sinful earthly nature forbids us from being in close proximity with HaShem. After all, He is a consuming fire!As Yeshua said, No man can see HaShem and live.” So HaShem who really really wants to be close to us anyways created a protocol, a system that allows us to communicate with Him and be close to Him. This is called the levitical system.
Our text today says,
Adonai called to Moshe and spoke to him from the tent of meeting. He said, "Speak to the people of Isra'el; say to them, 'When any of you brings an offering to Adonai, you may bring your animal offering either from the herd or from the flock. (Lev 1:1-2 CJB)
Literal translation: “When a man desire to bring himself to approach HaShem, let him bring a token of approachment.”
The whole levitical system is there to allow us to approach HaShem.
APPROACHMENT BY PROXY
What causes us not to be able to approach HaShem is our sinful nature. You might say, “But I am forgiven; Yeshua’s death and resurrection wiped away my sins!” Actually this is not what we are told. What we are told is that Yeshua’s death and resurrection “כפר/covers” our transgression. When someone “covers” for us, he takes our payments or responsibilities. The payments and responsibilities are not erased, they are only transferred on someone else.
This brings a solution to our problem of not being able to approach HaShem. Since life is in the blood, (Lev 17:11), the blood of a kosher innocent animal is brought forward to represent us to HaShem. We essentially only approach HaShem by proxy. We still do that today as we only approach HaShem through the “Blood of the Lamb/the Pesach lamb brought to Jerusalem every year for the Passover memorial.. Yochanan the Immerser who identified Yeshua as the Messiah did it by associating Him with this Pesach lamb.
That is the whole idea behind the levitical system and priesthood. To create a buffer zone between us and HaShem, like a “demilitarized” or a “sanctuary” zone in order to bring the “negotiating elements”: (i,e the blood of the required animal) to the table so to speak.
TRUE HAPPINESS DEPENDS ON OUR CLOSENESS TO THE ALMIGHTY.
Using these principles, in his commentary on Leviticus 1:2 in Growth Through Torah, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin brings up Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch who used Ps 73: 28 to define that “Closeness to the Almighty is the highest and only conception of what is “good.” True happiness in life life is dependant on our closeness to the Almighty.”
Here is Psalm 78:28,
But for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made Adonai Elohim my refuge, so that I can tell of all your works. (Psa 73:28 CJB)
It should give you the shivers to understuod the depth of this statement by King David within the ideas of the wording of the Levitical system that we are starting to study. Here is the verse in Hebrew with the root of the verb to approach in bold.
ואני קרבת אלהים לי־טוב שׁתי באדני יהוה מחסי לספר כל־מלאכותיך
HE TOOK THE FIRST STEPS.
The reason HaShem created us is that He loves us. As such, He wants to be near us and have interaction with us just like we love to be near and have interaction with the people we love.
In knowledge of the “logistical problems” which would involve our closeness together with Him, He took the first steps towards us.
The whole levitical system is inter-meshed with the ideas of repentance and Messiah. The Talmud teaches that even before creation HaShem created repentance and the Name of Messiah. In essence, He knew we were going to “blow it” and prepared “Plan B.” The Texts of the Tanach and the Brit often compare Messiah with each of the Levitical offerings. Plan B is therefore Messiah illustrated in the levitical system. What does it mean for us?
PSALM 73:28. THE TEMPLE SACRIFICES, AND YESHUA.
The psalm alludes therefore that our happiness depends on pour closeness to haShem. Our closeness to haShem is understood through the lenses of the levitical offerings.
Today we do not have a temple and a priesthood to do these offerings.
In an ancient midrash collection of midrashes on the Book of Exodus called Midrash Rabbah: Shenot we read a speculative story in these words,
Moses said to God:
Will not the time come when Israel shall have neither Tabernacle nor Temple? What will happen with them then? ‘
The divine reply was:
‘ I will then take one of their righteous men and retain him as a pledge on their behalf, in order that I may pardon all their sins.
According to the sages of Israel, The sacrifices and death of the righteous was mor efficacious to atone for sins than the Temple sacrifices. (Daniel Lancaster; Messiah Journal 107, page 17)
MAY WE LEARN TO FIND THE GOODNESS OF LIFE BY COMING CLOSE TO HIM, OFFERING THE SACRIFICES OF OUR LIPS THROUGH OUR PRAYERS
MAY WE LEARN TO FIND THE ALMIGHTY THROUGH OUR DEVOTION AND SERVICE TO YESHUA THE KING OF KING AND LORD OF LORD.
R' Gavriel Lumbroso