One of the first laws we learn about offerings is that the animal must be tamim — “whole.” An animal which has a defect — a “ba’al mum” — may not be brought to the altar. This includes an external defect that will not heal with time. Even though the animal may be healthy and hearty, a tiny defect such as a pierced eyelid or defective cartilage in the ear is sufficient to render the animal unfit.
Later we will learn of similar defects that disqualify a Kohen from serving in the Beit Hamidkash. What is the message conveyed by these criteria?
The prophet Malachi’s fiery condemnation of the offering of blind, lame and sick animals gives us a straightforward answer. (Malachi 1:8-12) Malachi censures the priests as representing the table of
A similar rebuke is given by the prophet Hoshea, where the priests would await misfortune and grief of their “believers.” (Hoshea 10:5). It was not the joyous and happy ones, but the blind, the lame, and the weak who would go on pilgrimages to the house of
Not so! Religion is not the opiate of the masses!
Our offerings must be whole, without blemish. We bring our complete (tamim) selves to the service of
In these trying days, where fear and illness has swept the entire globe, it is all too obvious Whose hands our lives are in. We turn to
Sources: Commentary, Vayikra 1:2