Friday, March 31, 2006

Think Your Dog is Smart? Parshas / Sefer Vayikra

First of all, apologies for the lack of blogging in the last week – I am taking a pretty big standardized test on Monday that I have been studying (read: procrastinating) for.

Anyway, Parsha and Sefer Vayikra deal heavily with Karbanos, sacrifices. In the times of the temple, people would be sin-offerings, voluntary-offerings, Passover-offerings, etc. The animals were brought to the Mizbeach, to the altar, where they were sacrificed to Hashem. To some, this seems barbaric. To these people, they grapple with what will be in the times of Moshiach when sacrifices are again brought. I can only imagine the amount of cognitive dissonance that a Kohen that is a member of PETA would have when he is killing an animal. Well, the truth is, according to many, in the times of Moshiach, these PETA people won’t have much to worry about, as there will be no more Karbanos. The question is….why no more sacrificing?

Rav Kook dealt with this question is his commentary on the Siddur regarding the little paragraph said after Shemonah Estrai where we talk about the times of Moshiach – a paragraph that ends “…Then the Mincha offering of Yehuda and Yerushalayim will be pleasing to Hashem…”. Rav Kook wonders why this paragraph singles out the mincha (afternoon) sacrifice as the one that will be pleasing in the times of Moshiach. He answers that the Mincha sacrifice will be the only one that is around, which leads us to our same question…why no more sacrificing (except for the mincha)?

Rav Kook explains what exactly we’re doing when we bring a sacrifice, and through his explanation we can understand why there will be minimal sacrificing in the times of Moshiach. He says that when we bring an animal sacrifice, we are raising the status of this animal. What, 10 seconds ago, was a grass-eating cow, is now a holy utensil for strengthening the connection between man and Hashem. And why can’t an animal raise its own status to that of a higher level? Answers Rav Kook, because animals don’t have daas (wisdom). Animals, which lack daas, are sacrificed because they can only elevate in status as a result of our actions to them – however, humans, which have daas, are not brought on the alter, as we are able to do things to elevate our status and relationship with Hashem. So what will change in the times of Moshiach? Rav Kook says that daas/wisdom will be rampant in the Messianic era. No longer will humans be the only ones with this wisdom; animals will have it as well. Therefore, they will then be in a position to elevate their status and relationship with Hashem, and we will no longer need to elevate their status for them by sacrificing them.

This is precisely the reason that the wise elders chose to single out the mincha (afternoon) Korbon in the paragraph that discusses Messianic times following the Shemonah Esrai. This sacrifice was not an animal sacrifice. Therefore, we will still need to bring it to the altar to elevate its status.

While I already believe that certain human beings I have met are less intelligent than some animals that I am familiar with (both as a result of the level of intelligence of the person and the animal), it appears this phenomenon will become more and more common in the times of Moshiach. Good Shabbos.


Blogger aishel said...

Very interesting, thank you!

10:33 AM, March 31, 2006

Anonymous Greg said...

That's a weird pshat. But you are right that many say that there would be no need for animal sacirfices in the times of Moshiach.

I think when we are talking about a mincha offering, mincha means a meal/grain offering, not the afternoon korbon (tamid shel bein ha'arbaim), which was an animal just like the morning tamid.

11:59 AM, March 31, 2006

Blogger jewchick said...

kinda creepy, but very interesting.

12:37 PM, March 31, 2006

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