The Center for
Messianic Learning 

Unapologetically Pro-Torah
Unashamedly Pro-Israel
Irrevocably Zionist
ב״ה
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)
Jew and Gentile (Synagogue and Church), one in Messiah. (Ephesians 2:14)
“For He is our peace, Who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition, …”
 

If your life is not in jeopardy for what you believe, you’re probably on the wrong side!

Like this page? Share it. MeWe Logo ParlerLogo WimKin Logo CloutHub Others:Bookmark and Share

Please Note: Nothing on this website should be taken as anti-Church. I am not anti-anything or anyone. I am only pro-Torah and pro-Truth. Sometimes the Truth upsets our long-held beliefs. Why isn’t my theology consistent throughout this website?

Mobile Users: The page will display properly if you hold your device in “landscape”
position and use your touch gesture to resize the page to fit your screen.

Developing a
Systematic Messianic Theology

“The purpose of careful theological formulations is not to put barriers in the way of people who are seeking salvation, but to define clearly the truths upon which genuine [Biblical] faith rests, so that people will not be misled by false doctrines.” [Robert M. Bowman, Jr. Why You Should Believe in the Trinity: An Answer to Jehovah's Witnesses. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989, p. 18.]
 

Under Construction
About Israel
The Levitical Offerings

High PriestThe sacrificial system was ordained by ADONAI and placed at the very center and heart of Jewish national life. Whatever the Jews may have thought of it at the time, the unceasing sacrifice of animals, and the never-ending glow of fire at the altar of sacrifice, there is no doubt that ADONAI was burning into the hearts of every man, an awareness of their own sin. An object lesson that would make your skin crawl was to be an age-long picture of the coming sacrifice of Messiah. The sacrifices pointed to Him and they were fulfilled in Him. Under the provisions of the Torah, there were one perpetual offering and five Levitical offerings of sacrifice to be offered in the Temple. The Hebrew word for sacrifice or offering (as related to the temple offerings and sacrifices) is brq (qorban or korban), which comes from the root word brq (qarab), to come near, approach, enter into, draw near.

It is evident that the Jewish concept of sacrifice as it existed in the Holy Temple is widely misunderstood. For this worship functioned on many levels: ethical, moral, philosophical, mystical... and in fulfillment of the word of G-d. For although the idea of the sacrifices may seem difficult for contemporary man to accept, it is the commandment of the Holy One.

Checking the definition of the word “sacrifice” in Webster's Dictionary, we begin to see a conceptual gap in our thinking which may help us expose the cause behind much of the misunderstanding. For the English the verb "sacrifice" means something entirely different:

sac.ri.fice \'sak-r*-.fi-s, -f*s also -.fi-z\ n [ME, fr. OF, fr. L sacrificium, fr. sacr-, sacer] 1: an act of offering something precious to deity; specif : the offering of a immolated victim 2: something offered in sacrifice 3a: destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else 3b: something given up or lost {the ~s made by parents} 4: LOSS, DEPRIVATION

However, the Hebrew word for “sacrifice” (korban, le-hakriv) is from the same root as … to come near, to approach. … to become closely involved in a relationship with someone.” For this is meant to be the essence of the experience which the bearer of the sacrifice undergoes. Indeed, it is unfortunate that no word in the English language can adequately render the idea behind the Hebrew word korban. We allow ourselves to use the word “sacrifice” for lack of a better word, but it is a highly unsuccessful attempt at translation; it could even be called unfortunate. The idea of a sacrifice or offering seems to indicate a gift or present; giving up something of value for another's benefit, or going without something of value yourself, for the benefit of that other.

None of this gift-giving idea is present in the idea of the korban. First of all, it is a word that never carries a connotation of a present or gift, and is used exclusively by the Bible in the context of man’s relationship with G-d. Thus its true meaning can only be grasped through its root... the concept of coming close.

If the definition of the korban is “to come closer,” then the goal of the Temple sacrifices is nothing less than the aim of dedicating human life to a higher sphere of awareness... closer to the Creator and the source of all life. The Temple sacrifice is not an idea of giving something up or losing something of value; it strives for nearness to G-d. For as King David prayed in the book of Psalms (73:28), “but as for me, nearness to G-d is good” - for the Jew, nearness to G-d is the truest, the highest, the only conception of what goodness really is. Without this aspect to his life, without this G-dly relationship which uplifts his physical existence and imbues his life with a sense of connection to the Divine, he feels himself to be like an animal, devoid of that which makes him into a human being: the spark of his G-dly soul... without this he feels similar to the animal before him, on the altar. In a sense, what happens to the offering is also taking place within the heart and mind of he who brings it.

… It was only in the Holy Temple that the full spiritual nature of this process could be appreciated. It is of crucial importance to be aware that by no means did the sacrifices serve as an end in themselves. For example, the sin offering, which was a minority of all the offerings brought in the Temple, was powerless to atone for sin unless it was accompanied by a thought of resolute, true repentance. Without repentance, the sacrifice was invalid; the korbon itself was only a means by which man could arouse himself to repent. We are likewise taught that G-d Himself did not require the sacrifice but for the betterment of the crown of His creation, man; however He would prefer that man not sin, and not be necessitated to bring any offering (BT Berakoth 22:A).

Today, there are those who refer disparagingly to the “cult” of Temple sacrifice; they find the concept repugnant. Their viewpoint is understandable, since their entire basis for understanding these lofty concepts comes from a standpoint that is totally pagan. Those of this ilk view the sacrificial system as brutal because they have no conception of a G-d who beckons to us to raise ourselves above the animals and dedicate ourselves to Him. For man is at the center of creation; all else which G-d created was brought into existence solely to help aid man in his quest for spiritual perfection. …
[Source: templeinstitute.org/sacrificial_service.ht; no longer found on the Internet]

Torah and Sacrifices

Under the Levitical priesthood, mercy and a temporary cleansing from sin existed through the Levitical sacrifices. The animal sacrifices provided a means whereby sin was temporarily “atoned for by offering a substitute” (כָּפַר). Most of the usages of the word involve the priest “making an atonement” for the individual. For example, in Leviticus alone there are 49 instances of this usage with no other meaning. The verb (always in the Piel stem, i.e., intensive action) is always used in connection with the removal of sin or defilement, except for Genesis 32.20; Proverbs 16.14; Isaiah 28.18 where the related meaning of “appease by a gift” is used. In other words, the life of the sacrificial animal symbolized by its blood was required in exchange for the life of the individual. It was a symbol of innocent life given or sacrificed for guilty life. Such symbolism was emphasized by the worshiper placing his hands upon the head of the head of the animal, confessing his sin, and killing the animal (Leviticus 1.3-9). These sacrifices were extensive and covered priest, rulers, the congregation in sins of ignorance (Leviticus 4); however, no sacrifice was provided for intentional sins. On the Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), the priest chose two goats. One was offered as a sacrifice and the other was taken into the wilderness. This “scapegoat” (Leviticus 16), i.e., the “escape goat,” symbolized the removal of sin from the congregation. These sacrifices were temporary measures and prefigured Yeshua’s sacrifice which truly and permanently atoned for sin.

Nobody understood this until after Yeshua was crucified and resurrected (cf. Luke 18.34). More precisely, nobody understood the significance of the sacrifices and the death and resurrection of Yeshua until Rava short form of “Rabbi” Sha'ula.k.a. Paul revealed its meaning. Luke’s record of the Pentecost event in Acts 2 reveals that Peter had no understanding of the significance of Yeshua’s death and resurrection other than the fact that He was alive and could establish Israel’s earthly kingdom. In the future, Israel will enjoy the New Covenant whereby the Torah, instead of being written on tablets of stone, will be “written on the heart” (Jer 31.33; Ezek 36.22-32). Much remains uncertain regarding life in the Messianic Kingdom, but Israel, under the New Covenant, will offer animal sacrifices (Ezek 45.15-25; cf. Ezek 43.18-27; Ezek 46.4-24).

The significance of these future sacrifices has been debated. Hebrews teaches Messiah’s death satisfied the justice of God and His sacrifice paid for man’s sin once for all (Heb 9.26, Heb 10.10). But Ezekiel wrote animal sacrifices continue to “cover” (כָּפַר) Israel (Ezek 45.15-20) in the Millennial Kingdom. Noteworthy is the fact that under the Levitical system animal sacrifices only “covered” sin. They could never satisfy the justice of God. The animal sacrifices under the Levitical system also served as indicators of faith. This may be their primary role under the New Covenant in the Kingdom to keep the Torah and be a nation of priests (Deut 30.8-16; Exod 19.4-6), or they may function as a memorial, as does the annual Passover Seder.

The Perpetual Offering

Because the very nature of God is absolute holiness, it is impossible for him to dwell where there is unholiness. In order for God maintain a physical presence in the Tabernacle and Temple, the premises had to be cleansed twice every single day through the blood of the Perpetual sacrifice, a yearling lamb without spot or blemished, offered every day at 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Although this was a burnt offering, it was not an offering for sin. Rather this was a sacrifice for the Tabernacle/Temple — the blood of this sacrifice was used to cleanse the Most Holy Place so the physical presence of God could dwell there.

Tell them, ‘This is the offering made by fire that you are to bring to ADONAI: male lambs in their first year and without defect, two daily as a regular burnt offering. Offer the one lamb in the morning and the other lamb at dusk, along with two quarts of fine flour as a grain offering, mixed with one quart of oil from pressed olives. It is the regular burnt offering, the same as was offered on Mount Sinai to give a fragrant aroma, an offering made by fire for ADONAI. (Num 28:3-6)

The Five Levitical Offerings

The Sacrifices

There are many instructions for sacrifice throughout the Torah, but Leviticus chapters 1-7 is completely dedicated to the 5 Levitical offerings which were the main sacrifices used in the rituals. They describe 5 kinds of sacrifices:

  1. the burnt offering
  2. the meal offering
  3. the peace offering
  4. the sin offering, and
  5. the trespass offering.

Each of the sacrifices were uniquely fulfilled in Messiah Yeshua.

The Burnt Offering

The burnt offering was a sacrifice that was completely burnt. None of it was to be eaten at all, and therefore the fire consumed the entire sacrifice. It is also important to note that the fire on the altar was never to go out:

Fire is to be kept burning on the altar continually; it is not to go out. (Lev 6:13)

The Israelite worshipper brought a male animal (a bull, lamb, goat, pigeon, or turtledove depending on the wealth of the worshipper) to the door of the tabernacle.

If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he must offer a male without defect. He is to bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, so that it can be accepted by ADONAI. (Lev 1:3)

The animal had to be without blemish. The worshipper then placed his hands upon the head of the animal and in awareness that this innocent animal was standing in for the sinner he would seek ADONAI for forgiveness and then killed the animal immediately. (I find it of extreme interest that anti-Messiah Jewish spokesmen claim, and very adamantly, that they object to Yeshua as the Messiah because in Torah there is no provision for the life of one being offered for the sins of another. That concept stands at the very core or the sacrificial system!)

He is to lay his hand upon the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him. He is to slaughter the young bull before ADONAI; and the sons of Aharon, the cohanimpriests, are to present the blood. They are to splash the blood against all sides of the altar, which is by the entrance to the tent of meeting. … and the cohenpriest is to cause all of it to go up in smoke on the altar as a burnt offering; it is an offering made by fire, a fragrant aroma for ADONAI. (Lev 1:4-9)

The priests were also responsible to wash various parts of the animal before putting it on the altar:

He is to skin the burnt offering and cut it in pieces. The descendants of Aharon the cohen are to put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. The sons of Aharon, the cohanim, are to arrange the pieces, the head and the fat on the wood which is on the fire on the altar. He is to wash the entrails and lower parts of the legs with water, (Lev 1:6-9)

The Perpetual Offering

Later In Israel’s history the “Perpetual Offerings” were made twice each day, one at morning and one at evening:

Tell them, “This is the offering made by fire that you are to bring to ADONAI: male lambs in their first year and without defect, two daily as a regular burnt offering. Offer the one lamb in the morning and the other lamb at dusk, (Num 28:3-4)

The Burnt Offering was performed to atone for the people’s sins against ADONAI and was a dedication offering of one’s life before ADONAI continually. But the Perpetual Offering was made for the cleansing of the Temple. Since HaShem cannot dwell where there is sin, the Temple was continually being cleansed so the Shikiinah could “dwell among the prople” (Exod 29:46).

The Grain Offering

The Israelites offered grains (cereals) or vegetables in addition to the animals. Leviticus chapter 2 mentions 4 kinds of cereal offerings and gives cooking instructions for each. The sinner could offer dough from wheat flour baked in an oven, cooked on a griddle, fried in a pan, or roasted to make bread (as in the offering of the first fruits). All meal offerings were made with oil and salt and no honey and leaven were to be used (oil and salt preserved while honey and leaven would spoil). The worshipper was also to bring a portion of incense (frankincense).

“‘Anyone who brings a grain offering to ADONAI is to make his offering of fine flour; he is to pour olive oil on it and put frankincense on it. He is to bring it to the sons of Aharon, the cohanim. The cohen is to take a handful of fine flour from it, together with its olive oil and all its frankincense, and make this reminder portion go up in smoke on the altar as an offering made by fire, a fragrant aroma for ADONAI. But the rest of the grain offering will belong to Aharon and his sons; it is an especially holy part of the offerings for ADONAI made by fire.

“‘When you bring a grain offering which has been baked in the oven, it is to consist of either unleavened cakes made of fine flour mixed with olive oil or matzah spread with olive oil.

“‘If your offering is a grain offering cooked on a griddle, it is to consist of unleavened fine flour mixed with olive oil; you are to break it in pieces and pour olive oil on it — it is a grain offering.

“‘If your offering is a grain offering cooked in a pot, it is to consist of fine flour with olive oil.

“‘You are to bring the grain offering prepared in any of these ways to ADONAI; it is to be presented to the cohen, and he is to bring it to the altar. The cohen is to remove the reminder portion of the grain offering and make it go up in smoke on the altar as an offering made by fire, a fragrant aroma for ADONAI. But the rest of the grain offering will belong to Aharon and his sons; it is an especially holy part of the offerings for ADONAI made by fire.

“‘No grain offering that you bring to ADONAI is to be made with leaven, because you are not to cause any leaven or honey to go up in smoke as an offering made by fire to ADONAI. As an offering of firstfruits you may bring these to ADONAI, but they are not to be brought up onto the altar to make a fragrant aroma. You are to season every grain offering of yours with salt - do not omit from your grain offering the salt of the covenant with your God, but offer salt with all your offerings.

“‘If you bring a grain offering of firstfruits to ADONAI, you are to bring as the grain offering from your firstfruits kernels of grain from fresh ears, dry-roasted with fire. Put olive oil on it, and lay frankincense on it; it is a grain offering. The cohen is to cause the reminder portion of it, its grits and olive oil, with all its frankincense, to go up in smoke; it is an offering made by fire for ADONAI. (Lev 2:1-16)

The grain offerings were brought to one of the priests, who took it to the altar and cast a “memorial portion” on the fire and he did this also with the incense. The priest ate the remainder unless he was bringing the meal offering for himself where he would burn the whole thing.

The purpose of the meal offering was an offering of gifts and speaks of a life that is dedicated to generosity and giving.

The Peace Offering

The peace offering was a meal that was shared with ADONAI, the priests, and sometimes the “common” Israelites. The worshipper was to bring a male or female oxen, sheep, or a goat. The ritual was closely compared to the burnt offering up to the point of the actual burning where the animals blood was poured around the edges of the altar. The fat and entrails were burned and the remainder was eaten by the priests and (if it was a free-will offering) by the worshippers themselves. This sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving was most of the time a voluntary act.

The Peace offerings included unleavened cakes. The priests ate all except the memorial portion of the cakes and certain parts of the animal on the same day the sacrifice was made, and when the worshipper joined in and the offering was free-will the worshipper could eat for two days of the whole animal except the breast and the right thigh which were eaten by the priests.

“‘If his offering is a sacrifice of peace offerings, then, if he offers before ADONAI an animal from the herd, then, no matter whether it is male or female, it must be without defect. He is to lay his hand on the head of his offering and slaughter it at the entrance to the tent of meeting; and the sons of Aharon, the cohanim, are to splash the blood against all sides of the altar. He is to present the sacrifice of the peace offerings as an offering made by fire to ADONAI; it is to consist of the fat covering the inner organs, all the fat above the inner organs, the two kidneys, the fat on them near the flanks, and the covering of the liver, which he will remove with the kidneys. Aharon's sons will make it go up in smoke on the altar on top of the burnt offering which is on the wood on the fire; it is an offering made by fire, a fragrant aroma for ADONAI.

“‘If his offering for a sacrifice of peace offerings to ADONAI is from the flock, then, when he offers it, no matter whether it is male or female, it must be without defect. If he brings a lamb for his offering, then he is to present it before ADONAI. He is to lay his hand on the head of his offering and slaughter it at the entrance to the tent of meeting, and the sons of Aharon are to splash its blood against all sides of the altar. From the sacrifices made as peace offerings, he is to present ADONAI with an offering made by fire; it is to consist of its fat, the entire fat tail, which he will remove close to the lower backbone, the fat covering the inner organs, all the fat above the inner organs, the two kidneys, the fat on them near the flanks, and the covering of the liver, which he will remove with the kidneys. The cohen will make it go up in smoke on the altar; it is food, an offering made by fire to ADONAI.

“‘If his offering is a goat, then he is to present it before ADONAI. He is to lay his hand on its head and slaughter it in front of the tent of meeting, and the sons of Aharon are to splash its blood against all sides of the altar. He is to present from it his offering, an offering made by fire to ADONAI; it is to consist of the fat covering the inner organs, all the fat above the inner organs, the two kidneys, the fat on them near the flanks, and the covering of the liver, which he will remove with the kidneys. The cohen will make them go up in smoke on the altar; it is food, an offering made by fire to be a fragrant aroma; all the fat belongs to ADONAI. It is to be a permanent regulation through all your generations wherever you live that you will eat neither fat nor blood.’” (Lev 3:1-17)

Ya'akovJacob (Israel) and LavanLaban offered a peace offering when they made their treaty (Gen 31:43 ff). It was required to make offerings while making a vow of ones life to God and thanking Him with praise while free-will offerings were voluntary.

The Sin Offering

The sin offering expiated (paid the debt in full) the worshipper’s unintentional weaknesses and failures before ADONAI.

ADONAI said to Moshe, “Tell the people of Isra'el: ‘If anyone sins inadvertently against any of the mitzvotcommandments of ADONAI concerning things which should not be done, if he does any one of them, then, if it is the anointed cohen who sinned and thus brought guilt on the people, he is to offer ADONAI a young bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he committed. He must bring the bull to the entrance of the tent of meeting before ADONAI, lay his hand on the bull's head and slaughter the bull in the presence of ADONAI. (Lev 4:1-4)

Each class of people had various ordinances to perform:

Sins of the anointed cohenpriest required the offering of a bull and the blood was not poured on the altar but sprinkled from the finger of the high priest 7 times on the altar. Then the fat was burnt, and the remainder was burned (never eaten) outside the camp "unto a clean place" where the sacrifice was made and the ashes were poured out.

‘… if it is the anointed cohen who sinned and thus brought guilt on the people, he is to offer ADONAI a young bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he committed. He must bring the bull to the entrance of the tent of meeting before ADONAI, lay his hand on the bull's head and slaughter the bull in the presence of ADONAI. The anointed cohen is to take some of the bull's blood and bring it to the tent of meeting. The cohen is to dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle some of the blood seven times in the presence of ADONAI in front of the curtain of the sanctuary. The cohen is to put some of the blood on the horns of the altar for fragrant incense before ADONAI there in the tent of meeting. All the remaining blood of the bull he is to pour out at the base of the altar for burnt offerings, which is at the entrance to the tent of meeting. He is to remove from the bull for the sin offering all of its fat — the fat covering the inner organs, all the fat above the inner organs, the two kidneys, the fat on them near the flanks, and the covering of the liver, which he will remove with the kidneys as it is removed from an ox sacrificed as a peace offering; and the cohen is to make these parts go up in smoke on the altar for burnt offerings. But the bull's hide and all its flesh, with its head, the lower parts of its legs, its inner organs and dung — in other words, the entire bull — he is to bring outside the camp to a clean place, where the ashes are emptied out. There he is to burn it on wood with fire; there, where the ashes are emptied out, it is to be burned up. (Lev 4:3-12)

Sins of the entire community required a young bull and was very similar to the offering required for an anointed priest.

 “‘If the entire community of Isra'el inadvertently makes a mistake, with the assembly being unaware of the matter, and they do something against any of the mitzvot of ADONAI concerning things which should not be done, they are guilty. When the sin they have committed becomes known, then the assembly is to offer a young bull as a sin offering and bring it before the tent of meeting. The leaders of the community are to lay their hands on the bull's head and slaughter the bull in the presence of ADONAI. The anointed cohen is to bring some of the bull's blood to the tent of meeting. The cohen is to dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle it seven times in the presence of ADONAI in front of the curtain. He is to put some of the blood on the horns of the altar before ADONAI, there in the tent of meeting. All the remaining blood he is to pour out at the base of the altar for burnt offerings, which is at the entrance to the tent of meeting. He is to remove all its fat and make it go up in smoke on the altar. This is what he is to do with the bull - he must do the same with this bull as he does with the one for the sin offering. Thus the cohen will make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven. He is to bring the bull outside the camp and burn it as he burned the first bull; it is the sin offering for the assembly. (Lev 4:13-21)

Sins of the leaders required the offering of a male goat. the blood was sprinkled only once and the remainder was poured around the altar as with the burnt offering.

22 "'When a leader sins and inadvertently does something against any of the mitzvot of ADONAI concerning things which should not be done, he is guilty. If the sin which he committed becomes known to him, he is to bring as his offering a male goat without defect, lay his hand on the goat's head and slaughter it in the place where they slaughter the burnt offering in the presence of ADONAI; it is a sin offering. The cohen is to take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar for burnt offerings. Its remaining blood he is to pour out at the base of the altar for burnt offerings. All its fat he is to make go up in smoke on the altar, like the fat of the sacrifice for peace offerings; thus the cohen will make atonement for him in regard to his sin, and he will be forgiven.

Sins of the individual required female animals, goats, lambs, turtledoves, or pigeons and in the case of the very poor an offering of grain was acceptable just like a meal offering.

Unintentional sins were difficult to identify and could happen at any time and therefore the priests worked closely as mediators with God and the people and were there to instruct the people as they sought ADONAI. In case any sins were not brought before ADONAI there were offerings for the nation and for the high priest which covered them all in a collective way. On the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) the high priest sprinkled blood on the mercy seat for his own sins and the sins of the nation.

“‘If an individual among the people commits a sin inadvertently, doing something against any of the mitzvot of ADONAI concerning things which should not be done, he is guilty. If the sin he committed becomes known to him, he is to bring as his offering a female goat without defect for the sin he committed, lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and slaughter the sin offering in the place of burnt offerings. The cohen is to take some of its blood with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar for burnt offerings. All its remaining blood he is to pour out at the base of the altar. All its fat he is to remove, as the fat is removed from the sacrifice for peace offerings; and the cohen is to make it go up in smoke on the altar as a fragrant aroma for ADONAI. Thus the cohen will make atonement for him, and he will be forgiven.

“‘If he brings a lamb as his sin offering, he is to bring a female without defect, lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and slaughter it as a sin offering in the place where they slaughter burnt offerings. The cohen is to take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar for burnt offerings. All its remaining blood he is to pour out at the base of the altar. All its fat he is to remove, as the fat of a lamb is removed from the sacrifice for peace offerings; and the cohen is to make it go up in smoke on the altar on top of the offerings for ADONAI made by fire. Thus the cohen will make atonement for him in regard to the sin he committed, and he will be forgiven. (Lev 4:27-35)

The Trespass Offering

The trespass offering was very similar to the sin offering but the main difference was that the trespass offering was an offering of money for sins of ignorance connected with fraud. For example, if someone unintentionally cheated another out of money or property, he was to repay the person who was defrauded the entire amount plus one-fifth (20%).

“If someone sins and acts perversely against ADONAI by dealing falsely with his neighbor in regard to a deposit or security entrusted to him, by stealing from him, by extorting him, or by dealing falsely in regard to a lost object he has found, or by swearing to a lie - if a person commits any of these sins, then, if he sinned and is guilty, he is to restore whatever it was he stole or obtained by extortion, or whatever was deposited with him, or the lost object which he found, or anything about which he has sworn falsely. He is to restore it in full plus an additional one-fifth; he must return it to the person who owns it, on the day when he presents his guilt offering. He is to bring as his guilt offering to ADONAI a ram without defect from the flock, or its equivalent according to your appraisal, to the cohen; it is a guilt offering. Thus the cohen will make atonement for him before ADONAI, and he will be forgiven in regard to whatever it was he did that made him guilty. (Lev 6:2-7)

Decorative Horizontal Bar

Jewish Tradition:
The Treatment of Animals

images/JEW1.gifEven though ADONAI prescribed the slaughtering of animals for sacrifice and for food, the treatment of animals is of the utmost importance in Judaism. The Talmud describes with minute care and detail how an animal is to be slaughtered for food, and the regulations are given mainly because of the desire to inflict as painless a death as possible. The slaughterer could not be a deaf-mute, or a minor, and he must be of sound mind (Chul. 1. 1). The knife must be perfectly smooth without the slightest perceptible notch and “the knife must be tested as to its three sides upon the flesh of the finger and upon the nail” (ibid. 17b).

There are five causes of disqualification (ibid. 9a):

  1. Delay (Heb. shehiyah), there must be a continuous forward and backward motion of the knife without any interruption.
  2. Pressure (Heb. derasah), the cut must be made gently, without the exercise of any force.
  3. Digging (Heb. chaladah), the knife must not be inserted into the flesh instead of drawn across the throat.
  4. Slipping (Heb. hagramah), the cut must not be made except through a prescribed section of the neck.
  5. Tearing (Heb. ikkur), the cut must be done without dislocating the windpipe or gullet.

Any one of these actions would render the animal unfit for consumption, because it would have inflicted pain upon the animal.

Judaism teaches proper care of animals and a love and respect for them.They were to be properly fed (p. Jeb. 14d), and “a man must not eat his meal before giving food to his cattle (Ber. 40a). This was taken from the Scripture:

He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. (Deut 11:15)

Judaism teaches man to praise the animals because they are models for humans to imitate. “Had the Torah not been given to us for our guidance, we could not have learnt modesty from the cat, honesty from the ant, chastity from the dove, and good manners from the cock” (Erub. 100b). ADONAI taught Moshe to care for sheep before he would care for and lead his fellow man (Exod. R 11.2).

Originally posted Shabbat, 25 July 2020

Page last updated on Tuesday, 09 February 2021 01:20 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)