The portions Vayikra and Tzav speak about the priests who are to bring sacrifices and about the animals or meal offerings. The sacrifices whose function it is to help us obtain atonement for specific sins will rehabilitate us from the sin which resulted from the original pollutant of the serpent.

Aaron as well as his sons themselves served as sacrifices….

At the end of parashat Tzav the Torah mentions the spiritual stature of Aaron and his sons and how they were sanctified. The Torah writes there: "Moses offered Aaron and his sons [as a sacrifice]" (Lev. 8:6). The Torah had also commanded Moses to do just that in Exodus 28:1. The meaning of these verses is that Aaron as well as his sons themselves served as sacrifices, i.e. the mystical dimension of Adam, as we have explained at the very beginning of the Book of Leviticus. By the act of Moses "sacrificing" them to G‑d they ceased being "strangers", mundane, and became sanctified. At that time the status of Aaron and his sons was similar to that of Isaac after having agreed to have his father Abraham's offer him to G‑d. All our traditional sources describe Isaac as having been an "an unblemished burnt-offering to G‑d".…

Let us know return to our statement that parashat Vayikra and parashat Tzav speak about people offering the sacrifices, as well as about the objects of these sacrifices. Among the latter there are some which serve as atonement for their owners, such as the sin offering, guilt offering. There is the set sin offering ["kavuah"], the purpose of which is to obtain forgiveness for a kind of sin which has become second nature to us due to the pollutant from the serpent. There are also sin-offerings for various leaders of the community and the community as a whole respectively. In each of these instances different elements are at the root of the sin committed. This is why separate sacrifices are needed to secure atonement and absolution of the residual pollutant of the serpent. There is even a type of sacrifice called "asham taluy", a sin-offering of a suspended nature, which must be offered when the owner is in doubt whether he has become guilty of a certain transgression. One's duties were clear as the light of the sun, and being in doubt whether one had behaved in a circumspect manner or not is the kind of doubt that should never have arisen.

When a person has trespassed against property belonging to the Temple treasury he must not only make restitution and bring a sacrifice, but must also add 20% to the value of the property against which he has committed such trespass. This a precondition to the achievement of perfect harmony in the world that there has to be a perfect union in the spiritual world of the ten sefirot.

This union must be able to "flow" from the "top" downwards as well as in reverse from the "bottom" upwards. The "top" is the emanation keter, whereas the "bottom" is the emanation malchut. The mystical dimension of the sefirot is the yud, which has a numerical value of 10; when we spell yud as a word, i.e. yud + vav + dalet, we arrive at a numerical value of 20. This is the mystical dimension of "original light" and "reflected light", a concept familiar to the Kabbalists. The former originates in the sefira of keter, whereas the latter originates in the sefira of malchut. Between them, these two sefirot represent 20% [2 out of 10] of all the sefirot. If someone has made profane use of property designated as sacred he therefore has to atone for this by adding 20% to the value of the property involved. This is to encourage him to become penitent and thereby achieve atonement for his negligence.

[Translation and commentary by Eliyahu Munk]