It all began on the second day of creation, when G‑d separated the “lower water” —the water on earth, and the “higher water” —the water that is in the heavens:

And G‑d said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the water, and let it be a separation between water and water." And G‑d made the expanse and it separated between the water that was below the expanse and the water that was above the expanse, and it was so.1

The Zohar, the principal book of Jewish mysticism, explains that the “lower waters” were devastated by the separation, deeply hurt by what they perceived as rejection:

The lower waters cry and say, “We too want to stand before the King!”2

They cried because they sensed that they were about to be placed in a physical world where they would be terribly distant from their spiritual source. They cried because they felt that they were being cut off from their Divine reality, sent away to earth where they would be disconnected from the heavens.

The mystics teach that G‑d comforted the waters, reassuring them that they too would have a chance to reconnect to the Divine,3 that they would be an integral part of the offerings that the Children of Israel would bring in the Temple.

How so?

And you shall salt every one of your meal offering sacrifices with salt, and you shall not omit the salt of your G‑d's covenant from [being placed] upon your meal offerings. You shall offer salt on all your sacrifices.4

The salt offered on each and every sacrifice represents sea water, i.e., the “lower waters” being elevated and reunited with their Divine spiritual source in heaven. It is the fulfillment of G‑d’s covenant to the “lower waters,” and we are charged with the task of making it happen by uniting the physical and spiritual in our service of G‑d.

Leviticus is more than just a collection of laws pertaining to sacrifices that applied in Temple times almost 2000 years ago. In fact, it outlines the heart and soul of the Jew’s relationship with G‑d. While we are no longer able to offer sacrifices in the physical sense, we do continue to offer the figurative animal within man to G‑d. With all its technical details, Leviticus is in fact a roadmap for how one can become an offering, how any man or woman can “bring themselves close” to G‑d, which is the meaning of the Hebrew word for sacrifice. Reading the laws of the offerings gives us insight into the means by which we can reunite with our Creator.

“You shall offer salt on all your sacrifices”5 was the one thing all offerings—animal, bird, or meal offerings—had in common.

What is the message of the salt in our spiritual service?

There are many ways to connect to G‑d. We connect through acts of kindness, prayer, Torah study, or the fulfillment of any of the 613 commandments. Each of these is an offering, a way to bring ourselves closer to the Divine. The Torah teaches that no matter what the offering, it must be sprinkled with salt. Salt represents the tears of the “lower waters,” the yearning of the spark within every physical being, the cry of the inner soul of every creation longing for its Divine source.

This is the message of the commandment to offer salt on every sacrifice. The Torah is teaching us that it is not enough to give an offering. To connect to G‑d we must offer salt—we must yearn for a connection to the Divine, and long, as the “lower waters” did, to reconnect to our spiritual source. We must awaken the deep desire within our hearts to be close to G‑d. This “salt,” the yearning for the Divine, the longing for the spiritual, is what ultimately brings us close to Him.6