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    Does God want sacrifices? – Vayikra

    The sidra goes into great detail about the sacrifices.

    Clearly God wants sacrifices or else He would not have commanded them. But does He get any benefit out of them?

    There are many views. The prophet Isaiah opens his Book with this question. Jeremiah goes so far as to deny that God requires anything but obedience to His voice.

    The Talmud (M’nachot 110a) says that the important thing is whether a human being directs his heart to Heaven.

    Amongst the commentators, the B’chor Shor says that the sacrifices are a stage on the path to their abolition. Their purpose is to wean Israel away from offerings to idols.

    Ibn Ezra focusses on the psychology of the person who brings a sacrifice. Making a sacrifice and placing one’s hands on the animal’s head emphasise how deeply one must love God and wish to serve Him.

    Ramban links the sacrifices with the Akedah, the Binding of Isaac; the animal sacrifices are a substitute for the sacrifice of a human life.

    All this shows how significant the sacrificial system is. It is “pleasing” to God as a symbol of the human need to seek God’s forgiveness and blessing by bringing one’s thoughts, desires and feelings to His service.

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