Further Instructions to the Priests

Leviticus 6:1-7:21

This lengthy passage deals with the details of several sacrifices discussed in last week’s Torah portion, Vayikra. Each section is introduced with the phrase “Zot Torat…”, or “This is the law of…”. God tells Moses that he is to teach Aaron and his sons what to do with the various offerings the Children of Israel will bring.

 

Of the burnt offering, God commands that its ashes be removed from the altar while the priest wears his holy garments, but then carried out of the camp while the priest wears other garments. The fire on the altar is to be kept burning at all times, a reminder, the Israel Bible points out, of God’s constant presence among the people. Today, this constant flame is represented by the eternal light hanging above the Torah ark in synagogues the world over.

 

Of the meal offering, God instructs Aaron, via Moses, precisely how to offer it, allowing him and his descendants to partake of it so long as it is not brought by a priest himself.

 

Regarding the sin offering, God commands that it be slaughtered in the same place as the burnt offering, and the portions which may be eaten are given to the priest who performs the service. The vessels in which the offering is prepared gain a special status of holiness and must be ritually cleansed before being used again, or, in certain cases, destroyed.

 

The guilt offering, too, is slaughtered in the same place as the burnt and sin offerings, but the priestly portions may be eaten by any priest.

 

The unique peace offering comes in a variety of forms. The thanksgiving offering must be eaten the same day, while the donation or vow offering can be consumed for two days, but not three. Leftovers must be burnt. Only one who is ritually pure may eat from this offering, and any portion of the meat which becomes ritually contaminated may not be eaten.

 

The Israel Bible discusses some of the reasons one might bring a thanksgiving offering, as brought by the Talmud. These include surviving a treacherous journey, a sea voyage, a serious illness or an imprisonment. These survivors would be imminently grateful for God’s grace. Today, in the absence of the sacrificial service, those who survive dangerous situations say a special prayer, called hagomel, to express their gratitude for God’s protection.

 

Virtual Classroom Discussion

Why do you think God allows the priests to partake of some offerings but not others? Why would some be for a specific priest, while others would be for any priest to eat?

Comments ( 12 )

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  • Thank you all again, I love the Israel Bible. The priests served on a rotating basis and also they had ranks.

  • The reason why some offerings are for a specific priest whilst others may be for any priest has to do with levels of consecration.. These levels are also reflected in the fact that some garments were for officiating and serving whilst others were only for Aharon and his sons to wear (Sm’mot 39:41). In the same way, there are still levels of sanctification now. You and I can be as close to Adonai as we choose to be.

    • Martin says, “In the same way, there are still levels of sanctification now. You and I can be as close to Adonai as we choose to be.”
      Would you like to add some more words to this thought?
      If it was up to me, I would be spending all of my time with Him in the Holy of Holies as I’ve longed to have the kind of relationship with Him that Moshe or King David did. When I was a child, I often disrupted my Sunday school classes with questions about how could we be His friend and walk and talk with Him like the people in the Book. It earned me a lot of scorn and rebuke.
      Eventually, I gave up and turned away from Elohim completely. Fortunately, He didn’t give up on me and He found a way to draw me back into His fold.
      Studying His Torah has given me the foundation for a right relationship with Him, but there’s still something missing for me.
      I welcome your thoughts, if you care to share more about this.
      Baruch Hashem.

      • I’m glad you asked, SueJean. After I had written that post, I had doubts about it being “in the same way” after all. Let me explain: Aaron and his sons were set apart for greater holiness than their compatriots by birth rather than by choice. By way of contrast, the Book which was written to Messianic Jews (Hebrews) in the ‘Brit Chadashah’ tells us that Yeshua ha Mashiach entered the Holiest Place once & for all. In doing so, He made a way for you and me to come into His presence (like Moshe) more fully than those who don’t enjoy a personal relationship with God. In other words, a human being can come to know his or her Creator at one level but only come into Him through Yeshua. This is the ‘scandal of the gospel’ expressed by the writer of Hebrews as follows: “He inaugurated it for us as a new and living way through the ‘parokhet’ by means of His flesh” (10:20) This is why Yeshua said that no-one could come to the Father but by Him. He did not say no-one could come to God. Coming to the Father speaks of coming into God – a more intimate relationship which was not accessible even to Aharon and his sons. Selah.

        • This is very rich midrash, Martin and SueJean, I agree with Martin’s answer, we can choose to be as close to Yahweh as we want to be and looking at the Torah (Pentateuch) in this angle makes me the more happy given that for years I used to find the 5 Books of Moshe quite obscure.
          Thank you all.

        • Thanks for taking the time to respond Martin. I’ve put some thought into this matter while waiting for your reply. My thoughts were about your words “different levels of sanctification”.
          The Torah teaches us “sanctification” means “holy and set-apart”. DannyLee and I discussed this at length and made some comparisons between our lifestyle and others that we know. This could be one way of finding choices that lead to different levels of sanctification.
          I also understand about Yeshua and the role HE plays as the “High Priest” in the tabernacle that is being built inside our hearts.
          As Angela noted, studying the Torah has given me a far deeper love and respect for the work that Yeshua did than I ever learned as a child in Sunday school or even most of my years spent as a missionary abroad.
          Unfortunately, I still have a deep longing for that greater intimacy and years of prayer, praise and worship and study has done little to dull that ache. I guess that’s something we all just have to bear until HE returns and sets things right.
          Baruch Hashem.

  • Kenneth Osterman

    verses 9-10
    ט וְהַנּוֹתֶרֶת מִמֶּנָּה, יֹאכְלוּ אַהֲרֹן וּבָנָיו; מַצּוֹת תֵּאָכֵל בְּמָקוֹם קָדֹשׁ, בַּחֲצַר אֹהֶל-מוֹעֵד יֹאכְלוּהָ. 9 And that which is left thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat; it shall be eaten without leaven in a holy place; in the court of the tent of meeting they shall eat it.
    י לֹא תֵאָפֶה חָמֵץ, חֶלְקָם נָתַתִּי אֹתָהּ מֵאִשָּׁי; קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים הִוא, כַּחַטָּאת וְכָאָשָׁם. 10 It shall not be baked with leaven. I have given it as their portion of My offerings made by fire; it is most holy, as the sin-offering, and as the guilt-offering.
    In a crude example, there is a law that you do not muzzle an ox but let it eat as it works. Even the animals have a right. De 25:4
    But the priestly relationship to God is very special and God provides a special blessing (a portion) to each priest. The primary import is recognition of it being holy. Eaten without leaven, eaten in a holy place and secondary, it is their portion and as they partake they commune with God and appreciate relationship with their Holy Creator. Each of the offerings have their peculiar characteristics and lessons that God unveils over time. Moses was instructed to make it after the pattern shown him in the mount. The Temple services magnified the lessons and the next Temple will possibly reveal the remaining lessons when full atonement is accomplished.

    • Danielle Reisman

      Every detail of the sacrifices represented some aspect of creation.
      The Elevation offering was a reminder of the intellectual boundaries of man, in order to keep him from thinking that he could grow beyond his human limitations.
      The fact this sacrifice was to burn all through the night, which is symbolic of exile, indicated the understanding of the limitations of man’s mind.

    • I like your thoughts as to the special relationship between Elohim and the Levitical priests that served in the Tabernacle/Temple. It’s right for them to have a set aside portion for themselves pertaining to the service that they performed.
      I also think it would be inappropriate to consume any portion of an offering made for sin. These offerings are burned completely to symbolize the removal of the sin from the person making the offering.
      The priests served on a rotating basis, but they would need to eat every day. Elohim has provided for everyone with HIS instructions.

    • Donald

      YESHUA HAMASHIACH YASHYAY, was and has completed the final atonement, and conquered death, by HIS resurrection. And those who put their faith in the Jewish MASHIACH will eternally be with HASHEM, HIS SON and THE HOLY SPIRIT and only by THEIR Promise and Power, as one of the thieves that was crucified with YESHUA, for HE too was from the beginning. Thank you Yisrael, for your MASHIACH, for all peoples.

  • Diana Brown

    In a sense, Leviticus shows us two things….how the Lord instructs the priests to receive the offerings from the people in a specific order that He can receive and thus decree atonement is made for the people in Tabernacle of Moses times. The priests may eat of the portions of the offerings that they also would make for themselves when they needed atonement, the burnt offering and the grain offering with oil, frankincense and NO leaven.
    The offering of Aaron and his sons on the day when Aaron was anointed was the only portion that Aaron and his sons could not eat. This ordination and memorial was a continual grain offering was most holy to the Lord. It also seemed to establish the Atonement Way if you will. The priests minister unto the Lord and mediate between the Lord and His Covenant People. This was a continual grain offering (half of it offered in the morning and half of it in the evening along with the continual fire).
    Throughout our history, people not of the Covenant thought they could separate Jews from their Lord if they stopped their celebrations and feasts and made it impossible for them for them to offer sacrifices. However, this special day of anointing Aaron and his sons with the continual fire and grain offering alludes to something eternal…Our God meets with us in our hearts. So even if the physical service to the Lord is temporarily stopped due to hate, our hearts will find a way to return to the Lord in love. He promises us in the TNK that if we seek Him with our whole hearts, then we will find Him.
    Christians are grafted into the Jeremiah 31 new covenant. We didn’t have a covenant before we came in. Now we are grafted in with the Covenant People, the faithful remnant. Can Israel that walked away, forsook their faith be re-grafted in? Yes. Jeremiah 31 is the way back and the way to stay and the way in for all. This is the way the Tabernacle of David will be rebuilt. The Tabernacle of Praise is what is really on the Lord’s Heart for us today I think. I pray Israel will be the Light to the Nations in this vein and show us Ruth’s how to pray and praise from our hearts and not just our heads.

    • Danielle Reisman

      Very well said Diana! I would like to reiterate your point that even “if the physical service to the Lord is temporarily stopped due to hate, our hearts will find a way to return to the Lord in love.”
      We have the opportunity to do that today through our prayer and connection with God. In Judaism the sages say that today, sacrifices can be given through our prayer – which is why it is traditional for Jews to pray 3 times a day.

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