Our Father In Heaven, Hashem Almighty, yearns and desires to share his wonders and miracles with His children. But we are only befitting and compatible to accept and see open and direct Divine intervention when it is suited and deserving for us to receive it. The Torah in this week’s portion of Emor relates several mitzvos that are related to the sacrificial service at the end of perek 22: “And Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying: When an ox or a sheep or a goat is born, it shall remain under its mother for seven days, and from the eighth day onwards, it shall be accepted as a sacrifice for a fire offering to the Lord. An ox or sheep you shall not slaughter it and its offspring in one day. And when you slaughter a thanksgiving offering to Hashem, you shall slaughter it so that it should be acceptable for you. It shall be eaten on that day; do not leave it over until morning. I am the Lord. You shall keep My commandments and perform them. I am the Lord. You shall not desecrate My Holy Name. I shall be sanctified amidst the children of Israel. I am the Lord Who sanctifies you, Who took you out of the land of Egypt, to be a God to you. I am the Lord” (Vayikra 22:26-33).
The Sforno has a lengthy commentary on the connection of each of these mitzvos, as well as the mitzvos discussed at the beginning of the portion discussing blemishes that prevent an animal to be offered on the alter: “’A bull or sheep,’ after mentioning the various types of blemishes which invalidate sanctified animals from being offered on the alter, even though at times the perfect animal may be worth a sela while the blemished one, because of size and fat, is worth two; and at times the blemish may even be considered an advantage, as when brought as a gift to a human king; still it is invalid as a sacrifice to Hashem because ‘The Rock His work is perfect’ (Devarim 32:4). He desires the perfection and completeness of the offering and of the one who offers it; the offering must possess its natural completeness and the one offering it must possess Divine completeness, to be like his Creator as much as possible. Now the Torah says similarly, regarding the limits of time which Hashem established, that one is not permitted to add or subtract from them. (A) The Torah mentions the prohibition of sacrificing an animal without waiting the minimum [of 7 days] period from birth, (B) the prohibition of slaughtering a cow and its young on the same day, (C) and the prohibition against intending to eat the sacrifices after the allotted time (pigul), which includes even sacrifices of lesser sanctity. (D) The Torah then mentions the thanksgiving offering, for even though it is included in the category of the peace offering, its time limit for consumption is only one day and one night, not two days and one night as is true by other peace offerings. ‘You shall sacrifice it, that you may be accepted… On the same day it shall be eaten.’ It must be your will and intention at the time you bring the sacrifice that it be eaten that day, and this is because ‘I am Hashem.’ I perform My deeds with perfection and set a limit to completeness without tolerating anything more or less. ‘And you shall not profane My Holy Name.’ Since you see the completeness of My work, therefore you who are sanctified to walk in My ways, ‘do not profane My Holy Name through faulty and disgraceful deeds, similar to, ‘And when they came to the nations, into which they came, they profaned My Holy Name’ (Yechezkel 36:20). ‘And I
will be sanctified among the Children of Israel’ to perform wonders for them as I vowed, saying, ‘Behold I make a covenant, before all your people I will do marvels’ (Shemos 34:20); the reason for this is because indeed, ‘I am Hashem Who sanctifies you. Who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your G-d’ to lead you without any intermediary, as is the rule with those ‘separated from corporeality’, providing you walk in My holy ways, as it says, ‘Learn not the ways of the nations and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven’ (Yirmiyahu 10:2). ‘I am Hashem’ Who is unchangeable, and I will act towards you as in the past as long as your sins do not create a barrier between you and your G-D, as it says, ‘As in the days of your coming out of the land of Egypt I will show him marvelous things’ (Michah 7:15).” (Click here for Hebrew text.)
Hashem, who is eternal and perfect, only expects perfection to be offered to Him, which mean an animal may not have a physical blemish. Though it might be less valuable, or the blemish might even be pleasing to some human beings who are even kings. Also, a lack of perfection in time, be it late or early, can disqualify a sacrifice. Even if this is an inconvenience to the one offering it; maybe he was in a rush and felt he had to bring a sacrifice which was born a couple of days ago instead of waiting the seven days before the animal is old enough to be sacrificed, or maybe after the sacrifice was performed and the rest is eaten by him or the kohen he wanted to share his holy food with more friends who would be coming in a few days but that would be beyond the allotted time of eating the offering. Either way, adding or detracting from the exact time Hashem, with His all knowing completely Divine knowledge, calculated and set, is a sin. Because it detracts from perfection, and Hashem by definition is perfect, and our goal must be to emulate Him and strive for perfection. We have to be very careful, for even when we are not just involved in Divine Holy service but we “see,” realize, and appreciate the value of following Hashem in His perfection, we still have to be extremely careful to not fall into the trap of being attracted to foreign influences. Though they might make sense andmight even be good intentions, it still by definition falls short of perfection since they are only using their finite understandings and beliefs to live their lives. They are not being guided by the Holy and Divine principles of perfection supplemented by the Torah. What is very important to note however, is that Hashem is unchanging. He is ready and yearning to show His wonders and inner secrets with those who are on the same wavelength, so to speak, as Him. If we act within the boundaries of holiness and not sin, Hashem will reveal Himself and his miraculous deeds at greater length towards us. Indeed, the opposite is true as well, as the Chovos Halevavos in the beginning of the introduction to his chapter on Trust in Hashem says: “The benefits in religious matters: Among them, peace of mind, and trusting in G-d as a servant must trust in his master. Because if one does not place his trust in G-d, he will place his trust in something else, and whoever trusts in something other than G-d, the Al-mighty will remove His providence from such a person, and leave him in the hands of the one he trusted…” Therefore one must expect that the more holy one is, meaning the greater trust one has in
Hashem, and the more careful he is to follow Hashem’s Torah and mitzvos, the more Hashem will “reveal” Himself to that person. But if one is not careful with his holiness, and he profanes Hashem’s name by sinning and not trusting in Hashem to the utmost, then Hashem puts him, or lets him fall into, the hands of those people or ideologies he chooses to follow. If one is seeking miracles and Divine interventions, or to know his prayers are answered with crystal clear clarity then one should strive for holiness and perfection, in order to be in synch with his Creator but if not… as it says in Makkos 10b, בדרך שאדם רוצה לילך בה מוליכין אותו “along the path a person wishes to proceed, He leads and assists him.”