The peace offering is an animal offering of either cattle, sheep or goat. It may be either male or female, but it must be unblemished. The individual making the offering must bring it to the Tabernacle and rest his hands upon its head while it is slaughtered (as is mentioned for the burnt offering of the bull in 1:4). The blood of the animal is sprinkled on the altar, and portions of the animal are burnt. Although it does not state as much explicitly in our portion, other parts of the animal are consumed by the priests, and what remains is eaten by the one who offers the sacrifice, along with his family.
The peace offering is unique in that it is the only sacrifice which is shared between God (symbolically, through the burnt portions), the priests and the owner; and it is the only sacrifice which may be eaten anywhere in Jerusalem. The Israel Bible explains that according to the Sages, this is precisely why it is called a peace offering — it demonstrates and promotes the peace between the parties which share it. The name of Jerusalem, too, comes from the root word for peace, shalom, and it is therefore fitting that it may be eaten anywhere within the city.
Virtual Classroom Discussion
Why do you think there are so many options for voluntary offerings? What might be the differences between them?
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