Regardless of the many traditional approach to offering sacrifices in our day, there is no question that the Temple and its rituals once played an enormous role in Judaism, and that offering sacrifices was at the very center of its holy service. So, what was it that made sacrifices such an essential part of Judaism in bygone times? Was it merely primitivism? Or was it something that we are no longer connected to today and are missing out on? What holiness could there have been in the offering of sacrifices? And were we to discover this holiness, would that mean we should reintroduce the sacrificial rites in our own contemporary times?
It’s high time that we who consider ourselves religious have an honest look in the mirror and ask ourselves what brought us to this lifestyle. Was it a genuine longing for religion and mitzvah observance, or was it an insurance policy?
When a nation looses its sense of mission it turns against those who remind them of it. All too often, it is the Jewish nation that earns their hatred with their moral demands and teachings. As a result, these countries call for the destruction of this annoying nation. Its voice, reflecting the One Above, has to be silenced so that the uncertainty of these countries’ conscience and the reality of their guilt can be obliterated.
Joy is not a “peak experience” which climaxes and ends suddenly, but rather a plateau. It is not the ecstatic fire of the moment but the glow of growing from within.
The purpose of genuine religious life is to protest against this optical illusion and to teach us to refocus our spiritual spectacles. It is not that religion shows us something new. Rather, it shows us what we have seen all our lives but have never noticed, that there is dazzling goodness in this world. There is order instead of chaos; there is diversity, not just monotonous existence; and above all, there is the infinite grace of the human deed.