The preparations for Pesach are approaching their climax and with them, a heightened awareness of the service of the animal sacrifices brought in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Our modern mentality, however, has a rough time digesting the thought of animal sacrifices.
Digesting? We have no problem eating a juicy steak (cruelty to animals in the era of modern manufactured food is the worst in history) but for most people – myself included – to mentally digest the slaughtering of animals as part of a spiritual process is beyond the pale.
There are many beautiful explanations for the animal sacrifices. But it is like playing Mozart to a person who has never heard classical music and expecting him to enjoy it. Our spiritual antennae have been folded up for 2000 years. The unmediated connection between the physical and the metaphysical, between our world and G-d’s Divine Presence – was lost when the Holy Temple was destroyed. We are fine with taking a bite of steak. But meat as part of a spiritual process? It doesn’t work.
To return to the authentic connection between the created beings and the Creator, between the material and the spiritual, the physical and the metaphysical – to return to the secret of the life of the body and soul together, to reveal the secret of love and peace – we have to begin to practice. And like any practice, the beginning is awkward, even repulsive.
It is like a child who begins to play the piano. At first, there is a lot of noise and dissonance. But the parents know that there is endless potential for music out there, an entire world of harmony. When the child’s fingers begin to fly on the keys with skill – they will no longer be an obstacle, but rather the tool that will connect the his soul to its musical expression.
Our Torah is also endless and encompasses all of creation. When we begin to practice the holy service, the unmediated connection between each and every one of us, between our Nation and our world – will return to its spiritual foundation. In the picture are the first steps of the Nation of Israel’s practice (Kohanim practicing Korban Pesach) for a spiritual expression that was destroyed and will soon shine once again.