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Parshat Tzav: Rectifying Pleasure and Will in our Soul
Two elements of the animal sacrifice brought in the Temple, the "choice fats" (חלב) and the "blood" (דם) are offered exclusively to God. We learn from this that anything that is choice should be given to our Creator. Neither the person bringing the sacrifice nor the priest can partake of them. This prohibition is eternal. Even today, Jews do not eat the choice fats or blood of the kosher animal. In order to understand the reason for this prohibition, we must explore the inner significance of these two elements of the sacrifice.
Two Dimensions of the Super-conscious Crown
Every Jewish soul has two levels: the natural soul (sometimes called the "animal soul") and the Divine soul (the inner soul). Each of these levels of soul has a super-conscious, called a "crown" (כתר). The crown has both an inner and an outer dimension. The inner dimension of the crown is super-conscious "pleasure" (תענוג). The outer dimension of the crown is "will" (רצון).
Both these forces are normally concealed from the consciousness. Ultimately, though, they motivate the ten conscious levels of the soul--intelligence and emotions. Intelligence and emotions are like the wheels of a machine that are dependent on an input of energy in order to revolve. This energy derives from the super-conscious crown. Pleasure motivates the conscious powers of the soul, while will, which enclothes pleasure, is for the sake of pleasure. (In certain cases, will can be the opposite experience of pleasure.)
The Temple Service: Rectifying Consciousness
God's Divine Presence was most manifest in the Temple. It was to the Temple that a person would go to meet with God. This meeting, as it were, necessitated that he explore the far reaches of his consciousness, rectify them and offer them as a sacrifice to his Creator. This process ensured the righteousness of all those who came to the Temple.
In Kabbalah and Chassidut, blood represents will and choice fats represent pleasure. When a person brought a sacrifice, first the blood of the slaughtered animal would be sprinkled on the altar. This would culminate the process of the person's offering up of his will to God. Afterwards, the priest would burn the choice fats on the top of the altar. This would culminate the process of the person's offering up of his pleasure to God.
Rectifying Consciousness Without Temple
When the Temple stood in Jerusalem, all of the service before God was actually reaching into the unconscious of man and rectifying it. To our sorrow, the Temple has not yet been rebuilt. Without the Temple, most people cannot access the far reaches of their unconsciousness. At best we can just control our consciousness. According to the Tanya (by the first Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi), the level that most people can attain today is that of the intermediate servant of God who is in complete control of His conscious thoughts, words and deeds. Nonetheless, the prohibition to eat the blood and choice fats of any kosher animal is still in place. On our own level, we must still rectify our will and pleasure, and offer them up to God.
The Hebrew word for "choice fats" (חלב) begins with the letter chet (ח). The Hebrew word for "blood" (דם) begins with the letter dalet (ד). These two letters form an acronym, chad (חד) which in Hebrew is short for the word "one" (אחד). If we contemplate this phenomenon, we can immediately induce that the two elements, pleasure and will, are actually part of a triplet of terms whose missing element must begin with the letter alef (the first letter of the word "one"). This would render the word chad a complete whole and transform it into the word "one" (אחד), as such.
The Choice of the Choice
Indeed, the inner dimension of the crown, pleasure, has its own inner dimension. The outer dimension of pleasure is experiential, while the inner dimension of pleasure is super-experiential. This super-experiential level of pleasure is referred to as "simple faith" (אמונה), and is the "unknowable head of the crown" (known as, reisha delo ityada).
There are different types of animals that are sacrificed (cattle, sheep, and goats). When a sheep is brought as a sacrifice, in addition to the blood and the choice fats, a third part of the animal is given exclusively to God. This third part is an even more choice level of fat, called the rump, located near the tail of the sheep (Leviticus 3:9). The rump is even more fatty than the fat, i.e., it represents even more pleasure than pleasure. Indeed, in accordance with our meditation, the Hebrew word for "rump" is אליה, which begins with the letter alef (א). Thus, the alef of rump completes the chet and dalet of "choice fats" (חלב) and "blood" (דם) to form the full spelling of the word"one" (אחד): two levels of pleasure and one level of will that form our complete Oneness of God.
The Mathematical Meditation
- The numerical value of "rump" (אליה) is 46.
- The numerical value of "choice fats" (חלב) is 40.
- The numerical value of "blood" (דם) is 44.
Their sum is 130. 130 is 10 times 13, but 13 is the numerical value of "one" (אחד). (13 is also the value of "love" (אהבה)). 10 times 13 represents the full manifestation of how the complete oneness of God manifests itself in all ten conscious levels of our soul.
By searching our consciousness to access the two dimensions of pleasure and the dimension of will in our souls, and offering them to God, we can achieve simple unity with our Creator on all ten conscious levels of our soul.