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VayikraRead / Listen to Portion
Paul urges us to present our bodies as a “living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God.” Is Paul asking us to build altars and literally sacrifice ourselves upon them? Of course not. Paul is using the sacrificial language as an illustration for obedience. He is urging us to set aside our stubborn wills.
Traditional Jewish teaching says that every home is as a small temple. The table within the home corresponds to the altar. On every Sabbath and festival, we place bread and wine before the LORD. We pronounce blessings over the wine, and over the bread, salt it, break it, and share it. These simple covenant rites have survived over 3,000 years.
When the prophets seem to speak against the sacrificial system, they are not condemning the mode of worship, they are condemning the worshippers. In every instance the prophetic rebuke is directed toward the immoral, disobedient people among the Israelites who were violating the covenant of Torah while continuing to go through the motions of the sacrificial system.