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The Korban System 

04/03/2020 07:45:25 AM

Apr3

I. Falkenstein

Question:

A person can easily afford an expensive korban (i.e., sheep or a goat), but instead this person brings a less expensive korban (i.e., 2 turtledoves or 2 young doves or a tenth ephah of fine flour).  Will HaShem accept the less expensive korban and provide this person with complete forgiveness, atonement, and closeness, even though this person could easily have afforded a more expensive korban?  HaShem knows what kind of a korban every person can afford at any given time.

 

My Answer:

HaShem is infinite so HaShem has infinite number of options, many more than I can ever image.  I do not know what the Rabbis have said about this situation, but below are eight possible options that I came up with.

 

  1. HaShem can in His Mercy accept the less expensive korban as if it was a more expensive korban and provide this person with complete forgiveness, atonement, and closeness.  In this case, this person will probably continue to bring the less expensive korban and expect to obtain complete forgiveness and atonement from HaShem, by assuming that HaShem will always be Merciful and that HaShem will always accept whatever korban this person offers.

 

  1. HaShem can take the difference from the expensive korban and the less expensive korban, by subtracting from this person’s earned merits.  Thereby providing that person with complete forgiveness, atonement, and closeness.  In this case, this person will probably continue to bring the less expensive korban and expect to obtain that complete forgiveness and atonement from HaShem.  This option will work as long as this person has excessive merits.   When this person no longer has any excessive merits, then this person may not be able to obtain that complete forgiveness and atonement and closeness from HaShem by bring a less expensive korban than he can afford. 

 

  1. HaShem will make this person poorer so that the less expensive korban would have been an appropriate korban.  Thereby providing that person with complete forgiveness, atonement, and closeness.  This person may believe that the korban system does not work because this person has become poorer since bringing a korban.  It is less likely that this person will continue to bring another korban in the future because becoming poorer has caused a lack of belief in the korban system.  However, if this person becomes so poor then this person may eventually start praying to HaShem for financial improvement, and thereby this person will become closer to HaShem (which is the essence of the korban system). 

 

  1. HaShem can take the difference from the expensive korban and the less expensive korban, by decreeing for this person the difference via suffering and illnesses.  Thereby providing that person with complete forgiveness, atonement, and closeness.  Like the person who becomes poorer, this person may believe that the korban system does not work because of suffering and illnesses endured after bringing the less expensive korban.  It is less likely that this person will bring another korban in the future because of a lack of belief in the korban system.  However, if this person suffering and illnesses is so bad then this person may eventually start praying to HaShem for relief, and thereby this person will become closer to HaShem (which is the essence of the korban system). 

 

  1. HaShem, in His Compassion, can partially accept the less expensive korban without making this person poorer, and/or without subtract any merits, and/or without decreeing any suffering or illness.  HaShem may only partially provide forgiveness, atonement, and closeness to this person.  In this case, this person will probably continue to bring the less expensive korban, or this person may realize that a more expensive korban is required in order to obtain complete forgiveness and atonement and closeness from HaShem.

 

  1. HaShem, in His Judgment, can reject the less expensive korban, and not provide any forgiveness, atonement, and closeness to this person.  Like the person who becomes poorer, this person may believe that the korban system does not work because of the lack of forgiveness, atonement, and closeness to HaShem.  This person may stop bringing a korban.  If this person continues to bring a korban it will probably be the less expensive korban, unless this person realizes why HaShem has not provided any forgiveness, atonement, and closeness.

 

  1. HaShem, in His Judgment, can make this person wealthier.  Although HaShem has rejected the less expensive korban, this person believes that HaShem has provided complete forgiveness, atonement, and closeness as shown by the blessings of increase wealth.  However, this increase in wealth will probably result in this person becoming more and more distant from HaShem because of the additional time and effort involved in managing and protecting this new wealth, as well as the increase power and responsibilities that this wealth brings.  In addition, this person may become arrogant and proud, since this person may believe that all this wealth and its associated power and prestige is deserved and a direct result of this person’s own efforts and abilities, and not a result of HaShem’s rejection of the less expensive korban.  Wealth and power and all the other blessings from HaShem may soon become expected, as an entitlement.  This person may even stop praising HaShem and thanking HaShem for all that the blessings that this person has received.  This person may continue to bring a korban, but the korban will probably be the less expensive korban than what is appropriate for a person with this wealth, because this person believes that the less expensive korban has worked very well in the past.   This person will probably continue to become more and more distant from HaShem the longer this person is wealthy.  It may be the case that sometime in the future this person may bring a more expensive korban, because a less expensive korban will be so obvious inappropriate for a person with so much wealth and power.  Another scenario is that sometime in the future this person will finally bring a more expensive korban because this person will finally thankful to HaShem for all the blessings of wealth.  If so, then this person will then become closer to HaShem.  If this does not happen, this person may become spiritually dead and almost totally distant from HaShem.

 

  1. HaShem could take a “wait and see” approach and make no changes in the areas of forgiveness, atonement, and closeness to this person.  This person may believe that the korban system does not work because there has been no change in forgiveness, atonement, and closeness to HaShem, and there have been no obvious change in this person’s life (status quo).  If, in the future, this person brings an appropriate korban, then HaShem may also accept the less expensive (past) korban(s) as if it was a more expensive korban(s) and provide to this person with complete forgiveness, atonement, and closeness.  If, in the future, this person continues to bring a less expensive korban or no korban at all, then HaShem may apply one or more of the 7 above options, or HaShem may apply any of the infinite other options I have not thought of.

 

Because of the many conditions necessary for an acceptable korban, it was very difficult to obtain complete forgiveness and atonement from HaShem via the korban system.  The korban had to be unblemished; the korban had to be appropriate according to one’s wealth; the intent of the person who brought the korban had to be proper; the intent of the Kohen who participated in the korban services had to be proper; and the Kohen had to be unblemished, etc.  If one or more of these conditions did not happen, then the complete forgiveness and atonement from HaShem as well as becoming closer to HaShem may not have been obtained via the korban system without counting on HaShem’s Mercy.  

 

Afterthoughts:

One can give because of an obligation to give, or one can give because of love, but one cannot love without giving.  Giving out of love is an expression of that love (and this kind of giving from love is what I believe the korban system was all about). 

 

If one gives all the time, then this giving is not generated by love, in fact it is not really giving at all.  This kind of giving is something quite different (a habit, or an automatic response, or a bribe, or a desire to please in order to be loved, or a control mechanism, or a desire to get something (or some type of approval) from the receiver of their gift). 

 

If one stops loving then this person may stop giving, unless this person gives because it is an obligation.  

 

If one stops giving, then this person will soon stop loving.

 

If the korban is giving as a bribe in order to receive something from HaShem, then this kind of giving is close to idolatry.   The giver thinks that HaShem can be controlled by gifts.  This kind of giver is only giving because of what this person is expecting in return from HaShem.  This kind of giving (bribes) has nothing to do with the korban system, since bribes, and not the love of HaShem, is the reason for giving.

 

If a person thinks that another person loves them no matter what (unconditionally), then there is no reason (incentive), besides love, for this person to give to the person who loves them unconditionally.  However, if a person thinks that another person does not love them, but they greatly desire for this person to love them, then there is almost no limit to what (or how often) this person will give in order to persuade the other person to love them.  This kind of giving is a bribe.  This person has the desire to please in order to be loved, or a desire to get something (or some type of approval) from the receiver of their gift.  If the korban is giving as a bribe in order to receive something from HaShem, then this kind of giving is close to idolatry.   The giver thinks that HaShem can be controlled by gifts.  This kind of giver is only giving because what the giver is expecting in return.  This kind of giving (bribes) has nothing to do with the korban system, since love of HaShem is not the reason for giving.

Mon, April 19 2021 7 Iyyar 5781