Today we begin the book of Leviticus, so-called because it is concerned largely with the laws of the priesthood, the descendants of the tribe of Levi. The dominant theme, that of the sacrificial offerings brought on the altar, is introduced with these words: "A man who offers from you an offering to G‑d..." The sequence of the words seems incongruous — it should read, "A man from you who offers..."

Underlying the ritual of sacrifices, the ceremonial acts of the Kohen, there is the intent of the donor of the offering. The animal offering was symbolic of a greater sacrifice, that of the donor himself.

Underlying the ritual of sacrifices, there is the intent of the donor of the offeringThere is the animal and the divine within men, constantly struggling for domination. The "animal" takes a different form in each person, but universally urges man to earthly pursuits, physical pleasures, as opposed to serving G‑d and concern for the soul.

That Torah teaches us that the offering must be "from you," that every man must seek out and recognize clearly his own animal. He must know his feelings and actions for what they are, not disguising faults as virtues, but correcting them. The sacrifice is not the symbol of some incomprehensible; it is to emphasize to man what he must do with himself. The value of the offering is measured not by its costliness, but by how much of himself man offers to his Creator.