A two-legged creature with a four-legged limp
Half skips, half stumbles at the fork in the road:
A vibrant heart beat to animal bliss;
A human mind dulled to an animal instinct –
A beautiful soul trapped in a beastly body.
It wishes to come loose, to come close, to come home –
And then it wishes to indulge in every hedonistic pleasure
Ever known to child or man.
It isn’t paranoia or paradox; it is life –
Part man, part animal.
Formed of earth;
Breathed of heaven.
A human creature with a divine soul.
But how to come home; how to come close?
How to make of an animated animal an emancipated man?
When you offer
From yourselves an offering to G-d
There are all kinds of people and all kinds of offers:
There are those that offer praise and those that offer advice.
There are those that offer on and those that offer off.
There are one-time offers and big-time offers.
There are offers for this and offers for that.
(Some even make offers one cannot refuse)
But all the offers refuse to offer what matters most:
An offer from the ever-selfish self.
Adam – you who are likened to the Ethereal
Ki yakriv – when you wish to offer, to come close
Mikem – from your selves, your depths
Karban la’Hashem – an offering, a sacrifice to (and for) G-d
An animal sacrifice isn’t some archaic ritual –
It is offering your animal so your human can
Be what it was meant to be – Divine – it isn’t
Slaughtering your beast; it is bringing it closer to
We are all holy temples, micro-homes for the Divine.
And we make sacrifices – some large, some small.
Sacrifices for things we wish to do; sacrifices for things
We wish we hadn’t done; sacrifices for the times that
Were; sacrifices for the times that will be; sacrifices for
Our guilt; sacrifices for our innocence. But the greatest
Sacrifice of all is really the simplest:
It is coming close; it is bringing the animal to the altar
It is altering our state, from a state of animal
To a state of man
We walk into our miniature temple, into our magnified soul
And hand our animal off to the priest…
Out of the crying man into the fire –
And a beast becomes a beauty.
Mendel Jacobson is a writer, poet and journalist living in Brooklyn. His weekly poetry can be seen at jakeyology.blogspot.com
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.