Before G‑d communicated the laws of sacrifices to Moses, He called to him. Our Rabbis explain that this calling was not directly associated with communicating a message. Instead, it was a sign of closeness and love. G‑d wanted to make a point of showing how dear the Jewish people are to Him.

This theme is also reflected in the Haftorah , which begins with the verse: “I created this people for Myself, that they should declare My praise.” Every Jew, regardless of his background or way of life, exists for the purpose of expressing - and in actual fact, does express - G‑d’s praise.

In our relations with our fellow-man, we should mirror these ways of G‑d. We should always attune ourselves to appreciating how every one of our colleagues “declares G‑d’s praise,” and should work with ourselves and our colleagues to accentuate and increase that praise.

The Torah reading itself focuses on the sacrifices offered in the Sanctuary in the desert and later in the Temple in Jerusalem. The Hebrew term for sacrifice is korban which shares the root kerov, meaning, “close.” The sacrifices were a medium through which closeness and intimacy were established between G‑d and man, and in a larger sense, between Him and every aspect of the world at large.

When a person brought a sacrifice what he was doing was endeavoring to draw close to G‑d. Every person has a spark of G‑d within him, a spiritual potential that is infinite and unbounded, like G‑d Himself. And every person has an animal nature, a part of his personality which is concerned with taking care of its physical needs; eating, drinking, sleeping, and doing anything else that will make him satisfied.

Is that evil or even bad? No. But it would be a shame if that’s all a person did throughout his life. It would be a terrible waste if instead of adding something to the world and bettering it, a person did nothing but gratify his own wants and desires.

There has got to be a process of communication between the two. We need a meeting point, a meshing of paths that insures that our spiritual experience will not be otherworldly, and that our physical experience is permeated with the meaning and depth which spiritual awareness contributes.

This was the purpose of bringing a sacrifice. It was a process of growth, in which a person elevated the animal inside of himself, and taught it to look upward and appreciate a higher purpose.

On the altar was burning G‑dly fire - flames that miraculously descended from heaven. This is paralleled by the G‑dly fire which each of us possesses within his heart. Offering an animal on that altar and having it consumed by this G‑dly fire parallels our efforts to add the fire of spirituality into our everyday material experience.