Peninei Halakha

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05 – The Reason for the Tamid Offering

As we learned (in halachah 1), one should be meticulous in saying the verses of the Tamid offering and the Ketoret daily; therefore, we will somewhat clarify their subject matter.

The Tamid offering is the most important of the korbanot since it is the most constant; every day of the year it was brought, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. For that reason, it is the korban that represents the continuous connection between the nation of Israel and our Father in Heaven.

All of Israel participated in the bringing of the Tamid offering, since it was bought with the money collected from the half-shekel that every Jew, rich and poor alike, donated each year to the Temple. It therefore symbolizes the unity of Israel.

Because Israel is the heart of the nations, Hashem’s unity is expressed through the bringing of the Tamid offering, for the entire world connects to the Source of Life via that single Tamid offering (see Maharal Netiv HaAvodah 1).

The course of life consists of birth, development, and eventually death. Every day, people die, some due to old age, others as a result of accidents or diseases. In the animal kingdom as well, myriads of living creatures die daily. The same holds true for plant life; every day millions of trees, bushes, and flowers wither and wilt. The big question is: what is the significance of this whole process? Is this an inconsequential cycle of life and death, lacking purpose and meaning? Or perhaps there is a general direction towards which all life aspires? An answer to this question lies in the Korban Tamid. The entire world strives towards elevation and perfection. Part of this elevation is accomplished through growth and development; another part is achieved through death. This cessation of physical life is not for naught. In actuality, it is a sacrificial offering, which expresses the endeavor towards perfection. Because it is impossible in this world to achieve perfection, after completing all the possible actions and feasible elevations, one’s spirit continues to yearn for ascent but his body ages, his vessel becomes worn out, and his spirit detaches from his body and rises, returning to its origin. That is why the Kohanim would bring the Tamid offering in the most sacred place in the world, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. This korban was representative of all physical life that had ceased to exist in this world on that day. The bringing of the Korban Tamid gave that life meaning, the significance being its return to its origin and its spiritual ascent as a pleasing fragrance to God (see Maharal Netiv HaAvodah 1).

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Translated By:
Series Editor: Rabbi Elli Fischer

The Laws of Shabbat (1+2) - Yocheved Cohen
The Laws of Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Women’s Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Pesach - Joshua Wertheimer
The Laws of Zemanim - Moshe Lichtman

Editor: Nechama Unterman