Saturday, March 16, 2013

Spiritual Blemishes

Dvar Torah: Lv 1:2 - one may bring offerings from the cattle, from the herds, and from the flocks.

Why three froms?  Rashi (from B. Tem. 28a-b, Toras Kohanim)- exclusions: not from animals that were used for bestiality, nor used or even just set aside for idolatry, nor a goring ox - but all of these are only for cases without sufficient evidence for conviction and execution.

What's the commonality?  They are all metaphysical/spiritual flaws in the animal.  I.e., not just physical blemishes can disqualify offerings, but also use of the animal for anti-holiness (big-3 prohibited behavior).

What's the takeaway? Just as animals used for anti-holiness but not convicted are still disqualified, so too when we do the wrong thing,  it has consequences beyond simple reward/punishment.  Which is why we pray to the Investigator of Failures and Hearts (bochein k'layot valeiv) for forgiveness.  Let's remember the spiritual meaning of chametz (leavened food) qua bad behavior, and remember to clean up our behavior while we're cleaning our houses of chametz.  Repentance/forgiveness are not just for the High Holidays, they're for every day, as we pray thrice.