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Emor. Damaged Promises

Our parsha cautions the people of Israel that any sacrificial animal must be unblemished, without defect.

“Anything blind, or injured, or maimed, or with a cyst, boil-scar, or scurvy—such you shall not offer to the Lord.” (Lev 22:22)

Why is a blemish such a problem? Why are disfigured animals banned from becoming offerings to God? The prophet Malakhi explains:

“When you present a blind animal for sacrifice—it doesn’t matter? When you present a lame or sick one—it doesn’t matter?

Just offer it to your Governor!

Will he accept you? Will he show you favor?—said the Lord of Hosts.” (1:8)

Blind, lame or sick animals are disqualified because they would be rejected by the “Governor,” by a government official. In a national tax, damaged produce is unacceptable. Similarly, God says, whatever cannot be brought to a human as a gift, even as a tariff or tax, should also apply to God; and as such, animals must be intact and un-maimed.