Parshat Vayikra: Modern-Day Sacrifice

“Speak to the Jewish people, saying to them, ‘When one of you brings an animal as a sacrifice to God, bring it from the cattle, the sheep or the goats’” (Vayikra 1:2).

For many us, the idea of sacrificing animals on an altar is a very foreign and abstract concept. Since the Temple was destroyed long ago, the closest we come to experiencing this mitzvah is when we actually arrive on time to minyan and recite the Korbanot! Although there are many mitzvot that we can’t keep for various reasons, the Kabbalah and Arizal revealed to us various ways that we can still tap into their spiritual power and relevant advice.

Rebbe Nachman explains a practical way that each one of us can offer the sacrifices on a daily basis – even without the Temple:

When people want to become truly religious and serve God, they seem to be overwhelmed with confusion and frustrations. They find great barriers in their path and cannot decide what to do. The more they want to serve God, the more difficulty they encounter.

All the enthusiasm that such people have when trying to do good is very precious, even if their goal is not achieved. All their effort is counted like a sacrifice, in the aspect of “For Your sake, we are killed each day; we are counted like sheep for the slaughter” (Psalms 44:23). The Tikkuney Zohar (#21, 59a) states that this verse speaks of prayer, which is considered like offering a sacrifice to God.

When a person wants to pray, he encounters many distractions. Still, he should give himself over entirely to the task, exerting every effort to pray properly. Even if his prayer is not perfect, his every effort is like bringing a sacrifice.

The same is true of all devotion. You may wish to perfect and sanctify yourself, but find yourself unable to do so. Still, the effort and suffering involved in the frustrated attempt are not in vain. They are all an offering to God.

Therefore always do your part, making every effort to serve God to the best of your ability. Whatever task is at hand, do it with all your might (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Keep it up even when all your efforts seem to be frustrated and all your attempts in vain. Do everything in your ability, and God will do what is good in His eyes (I Samuel 3:18).

Based on Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom #12