6 For I desire goodness, not sacrifice; Obedience to Hashem, rather than burnt offerings.
KEE KHE-sed kha-FATZ-tee v’-lo ZA-vakh v’-DA-at e-lo-HEEM may-o-LOT
ו כִּי חֶסֶד חָפַצְתִּי וְלֹא־זָבַח וְדַעַת אֱלֹהִים מֵעֹלוֹת׃
6:6 For I desire goodness, not sacrifice
Chapter 6 explains Hashem’s reluctance to answer His people in their distress, despite their apparent repentance (6:1-3). God points to the fleeting and superficial nature of their request, stating, “your goodness is like morning clouds” (6:4). Hoshea then makes one of his most revolutionary declarations: Sacrificial acts alone, the basis of all ancient religions, have no value without an accompanying commitment to living a moral life. He says “For I desire goodness, not sacrifice, obedience to Hashem rather than burnt offerings.” Although we no longer offer sacrifices, to this day there are those who get caught up in the superficial, ritual aspects of religion at the expense of ethical behavior. In this verse, Hoshea calls on us to act properly in our dealings with other people and to strengthen our awareness of, and commitment to, Hashem. Once these values are ingrained in us, then rituals become meaningful.