"Command the children of Israel and say to them: You shall be careful to bring My offerings, the provisions of My sacrifices made by fire, for a sweet savor for Me at the proper times." (Num. 28:2) It is written: "Has G‑d as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of G‑d?" (I Samuel 15:22) From this verse we learn that G‑d does not desire that a man sin and then offer a sacrifice for his sin; a sacrifice without any iniquity is a sacrifice that is complete/shaleim and is called a "peace-offering/shelamim". The daily offering is also (complete/shaleim without any iniquity) even though it also atones for sins.1

Rabbi Aba opened
[his discourse with the verse]: "The sacrifices of Elokim are a broken spirit; O Lord, You will not despise a contrite and broken heart." (Ps. 51:19) This verse has been interpreted to mean that G‑d does not want a man to bring a sacrifice for his sin, but rather He prefers a broken spirit. [broken by a person having true remorse for his wrongdoing, doing teshuvah and returning completely to G‑d]. People do not understand what the words of this verse mean.

From the Holy Luminary
[Rabbi Shimon], I heard as follows: When a man becomes impure in his iniquities [meaning that he agrees with and decides to listen to the voice of his Evil Inclination], he draws down onto himself a spirit from the side of impurity and it dominates over that person and controls his will completely [for one sin brings on another]. That aspect of impurity grows more powerful in its strength and controls him to do what it wishes.[Through a transgression, the Evil Inclination takes the flow of holiness from a person, and this empowers his evil inclination even more to rule over him and cause him to sin again (in our times we could call this a bad habit that becomes ingrained in him)]. However when a person takes control over it [through teshuvah] and in so doing comes to purify himself [through sacrificing his evil impulses and not indulging them] in order to become pure, "he is helped" to be purified. (Yoma 38b)

In the period when the Temple was still standing, when a person would offer his
[sin offering] sacrifice, the acceptance of his complete atonement was dependent on his feeling remorse and breaking down that spirit from its pride and humiliating it. This is what is meant by the breaking down of that level of impurity [from which the spirit of further impurity is drawn down onto a person] and after that spirit of impurity is broken, and he offers his sacrifice, this is acceptable and proper. [An integral part of the sacrificial ceremony was that a person laid his hands on the animal – representing his animal soul - and humbly confessed in front of the priest.]

But if that spirit is not broken, then his sacrifice is worth nothing and is given to the dogs, for this is a sacrifice not for G‑d, but for the dogs.

And this is why it says that "the proper sacrifices to Elokim are a broken spirit", for that spirit of impurity has to be broken so that it will not be in control. It is about the one who breaks that spirit as it should be broken, that it is written: "A spirit that passes away, and comes not again." (Ps. 78:39) And that man can be assured that it will not come to him ever again. Hence "and comes not again."

"A broken and a contrite heart." (Ps. 51:19) This is a man who is not proud and does not take pleasure in the delights of the world, And "Elokim, You will not despisefor he has a place of honor with Him.

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Why did the Ari and Chida include this section? What do they want us to learn?

We have been presented with an anomaly: G‑d desires most the "perfect"/shaleim peace/shalom sacrifice offered freely, without thought of recompense for sin, and at the same time He desires a broken heart of teshuvah.

That does not mean depression, but a G‑d-shaped hole in one's heart. G‑d desires the heart, a "circumcised" heart in which He can dwell. "A broken and contrite heart....G‑d will not despise, ever.

You wanna talk about Teshuva? You wanna talk about service? First things first is to contemplate your heart, speak to it, know it well, and break open any hard shell that prevents you from seeing its light, and from G‑d from entering.

What does the above mean for your teshuvah, and why is it being revealed to you right now?

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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