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What exactly is the milah covenant and what does it signify? The founder of the Chabad movement, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, delivered the text of this discourse in 1802 to probe the deeper, mystic... more>
Chasidic discourses by the fifth leader of Chabad-Lubavitch, Rabbi Shalom DovBer Schneersohn, delivered during the year 5671 (1910-11). In the year 5672, Rabbi Shalom DovBer commenced his famous se... more>
Originally delivered by Rabbi Shalom DovBer Schneersohn, fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, on the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah in 5634 (1873). The discourse’s main theme is the cosmic impact of performing the m... more>
Chasidic discourses by the fifth leader of Chabad-Lubavitch, Rabbi Shalom DovBer Schneersohn, delivered during the year 5680 (1920). The discourses of Rabbi Shalom DovBer are distinctive in their sys... more>
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G-d said to Moses, "When someone brings a sacrifice..."
The notion of sacrifices seems to run counter to the Jewish conception of G-d: G-d has no need to "consume" or be "bribed" by our sacrifices. Yet we see in this section of the Torah that G-d not only accepts sacrifices but explicitly sets down the procedures for them, giving every indication that He actually wants them!
In fact, the Hebrew word translated as "sacrifice" or "offering"--korban--actually means "getting close." Although we generally associate sacrifices with atonement for sin, the first sacrifices mentioned in this section are voluntary offerings, which an individual brings to G-d not to atone for sin but out of the desire to draw closer to Him. Of course, some of the sacrifices are indeed sin-offerings. This simply indicates that G-d calls out to all of us to draw close to Him--not only to the guiltless among us--at all times.
Nowadays, in the absence of the Tabernacle (or its permanent successor, the holy Temple in Jerusalem), there are three ways that we draw close to G-d: through studying the Torah--particularly its teachings about sacrifices; through prayer, the liturgy of which is modeled after the sacrifices; and through acts of charity and kindness.
From Daily Wisdom