Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Avodah of Korbanos

Rabbeinu Yonah, zt”l, explains the way in which the avodah of korbanos relates to us during our lengthy exile. “When they slaughtered the sacrifice, the man who brought it would feel a powerful identification with the offering and would cry tears of pity while praising Hashem and declaring, ‘Master of the world! If not for Your great mercy it would have been me who was slaughtered just like my sacrifice. This would have been fitting since I have transgressed Your commandments. May it be Your will Hashem, my G-d and the G-d of my fathers, that slaughtering this sacrifice should be considered as if I myself had been killed for my sins. For is revealed to You that I would do this to myself to atone for my sins if this was Your will...’
“The penitent would react the same way when the blood was sprinkled, since he would feel as though it were his blood that was sprinkled. And the same was true of all avodos. The kohein was likened to the ministering angels who offer the nefashos of the tzaddikim on the supernal altar.
“Know that when we pray we are like one who brings a sacrifice to Hashem. Our souls are bound to the supernal world of neshamos and the shaliach tzibbur parallels the ministering angels who offer sacrifices to Hashem. Like Chana in her famous prayer, we must pour out our nefesh to Hashem, as the verse states, 'ואשפך את נפשי לפני ה''. She prayed with her entire heart and this was considered by Hashem as if she sacrificed herself to Him.
“This is the meaning of the verse, 'ה' צלך על יד ימינך'—‘Hashem is your shadow upon your right hand.’ Just as a shadow mirrors our actions, so too does Hashem act toward us as we act toward Him. If we cry to Him, He is right there crying alongside us. If we distance ourselves from Him, He distances Himself from us. And when we draw near to Him, He draws close to us.”

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