Our parsha cautions the people of Israel that any sacrificial animal must be unblemished, without defect.
Anything blind, or injured, or maimed, or with a cyst, boil-scar, or scurvy—such you shall not offer to the Lord. (Lev 22:22)
Why is a blemish such a problem? Why are disfigured animals banned from becoming offerings to God? The prophet Malakhi explains:
When you present a blind animal for sacrifice—it doesn’t matter? When you present a lame or sick one—it doesn’t matter? Just offer it to your governor: Will he accept you? Will he show you favor?—said the Lord of Hosts. (1:8)
Blind, lame or sick animals are disqualified because they would be rejected by the “governor,” by a government official. In a national tax, damaged produce is unacceptable. Similarly, God says, whatever cannot be brought to a human as a gift, even as a tariff or tax, should also apply to God; and as such, animals must be intact and unmaimed.
Click here to read more from Rabbi Alex Israel in this week’s Parsha Discussion: Emor — Blemished Motivation?
Please note that if you are printing The Parsha Discussion on US paper, please select the option “fit to print”.