In the Torah portion of Pikudei, we find G‑d commanding Moshe to erect the Mishkan and place its vessels inside.1 In conjunction with this command, G‑d also told him to perform various services: In association with “You shall bring in the Table,” G‑d said: “You shall place upon it its prescribed arrangement [of bread]”; in connection with “bringing in the Menorah,” G‑d told Moshe to “light its lamps.”2 Yet with regard to the Gold Incense Altar and the Sacrificial Altar, Moshe is only commanded to put them in their proper place;3 the verse says nothing about performing services upon them.

However, when the verse describes how Moshe proceeded to do as G‑d commanded him, we are informed that not only was the Gold Incense Altar set in its place, but “he” offered incense on it;4 not only was the Sacrificial Altar installed in its place, “he” sacrificed the burnt-offering and meal-offering on it.5

Although the verse does not specifically state that the services on the Gold Incense Altar and Sacrificial Altar were performed by Moshe (the “he” may refer to Aharon,6), the simple meaning of the verse implies that these services were performed by Moshe.

Rashi in commenting on “and he sacrificed upon it the burnt-offering,” also notes that: “Moshe also served on the eighth day of dedication, the day during which the Mishkan was erected, bringing all the communal offerings, except for those that Aharon was specifically commanded to bring that day.”

We must, however, understand why Rashi first notes that these services were performed by Moshe only in the later verse that describes the service of bringing “the burnt-offering and the meal-offering” and not in the previous verse that describes the service on the Gold Incense Altar.

The Torah refers to these two offerings as “the burnt offering and the meal-offering” rather than “a burnt-offering and a meal offering” — “ha’olah” and “ha’minchah,” with a hei ha’yediah” — thereby implying that these offerings are well known because of their constancy — olas tamid and minchas tamid, the “constant burnt-offering and the constant meal-offering.”7

The term “constant” indicates that not only was the offering brought constantly, but that it had an effect throughout the day. This also explains why the incense offering is not referred to earlier as “the incense offering,” denoting constancy, although it too was offered on a daily basis, for “constant” refers mainly to the ongoing spiritual impact.8

In spiritual terms, the reason is as follows. The “constant offering” was wholly consumed by the altar9 — entirely served up to G‑d. The giving of one’s totality to G‑d is something that can be achieved by all Jews at all times, without special preparations or provisions.

This is not the case with regard to an offering that must be partially brought up to G‑d and partially consumed in a state of purity by the individual who brings it. In that instance it is difficult to achieve total spiritual dedication. It is natural for man to be aware of and take pleasure in the taste of the food he eats. It is therefore difficult in such a situation to bring about such a transformation within oneself that while eating the offering one will feel nothing but holiness, consuming the offering wholly for a spiritual purpose and not feeling physicality at all.10

But when we are dealing with a “wholly consumed offering,” i.e., an offering wherein the individual offers himself up totally to G‑d, then this is a level of service that can be expected on a consistent basis from every Jew. For the quintessential part of a Jew’s soul is constantly ready to offer itself up entirely to G‑d.

It is possible for a Jew’s physicality to obscure this kind of offering. This hindrance is removed by Moshe (the personification of self-nullification before G‑d), who makes it possible for all Jews, even while their soul’s are encumbered by bodies, to offer themselves totally to G‑d on a constant basis.11

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VI, pp. 225-234.