297. "After these things..." On his way to visit Rabbi Elazar, Rabbi Chiya met Rabbi Chagai. He said to him, This route, which is set before you, Sir, where does it lead to? He answered, IT LEADS to my visiting Rabbi Elazar. He said to him, I shall go along with you. He said, If you will be able to understand the wisdom and the reason behind what you will hear, then come along. But if not, then turn back! He said to him, Sir, do not worry about this, because I have heard many secrets of Torah, and I was able to understand them.
298. Rabbi Chagai opened the discussion, saying, This is the meaning of 'My offering, the provision of my sacrifices made by fire...'" (Bemidbar 28:2). "My offering" refers to an offering of flesh, which is given for atonement: blood OF THE SACRIFICE for the blood OF MAN; flesh OF THE SACRIFICE for the flesh OF MAN. All sacrifices are offered only for the flesh, THAT IS, to atone for the flesh.
299. And I heard thus, if a man sinned, what is the sin of the animal, that the Holy One, blessed be He, said, "If any man of you bring an offering to Hashem, of the cattle..." (Vayikra 1:2)? AND HE REPLIES, The Holy One, blessed be He, formed the spirit of men and the spirit of animals, and then separated them from each other. Therefore, "the spirit of man goes upwards, and the spirit of the beast goes downwards," (Kohelet 3:21) so they are definitely separated from each other!
300. Before Adam sinned, it is written, "And Elohim said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed..." (Beresheet 1:29) and "to you it shall be for food" and no more THAN THIS. THEREFORE, HE WAS NOT PERMITTED TO EAT ANIMALS. But since he had sinned and the Evil Inclination was absorbed to his body and to all of his offspring, He passed His judgment over them; IN OTHER WORDS, HE BROUGHT THE GREAT FLOOD UPON THEM.
301. Later, Noah came and saw that the body is built by the Evil Inclination, so he offered a sacrifice as Adam did. And it is written, "And Hashem smelled a sweet savor...for the impulse of man's heart is evil from his youth." (Beresheet 8:21). The Holy One, blessed be He, said, 'From here onward, because the body is already absorbed by that Evil Inclination, let the body enjoy itself as much as it wants and eat meat.' HE SAID, "Even as the green herb have I given you all" (Beresheet 9:3).
302. When man eats meat, the flesh of man receives pleasure from that flesh, and they mix together - THE FLESH OF MAN COMBINES WITH THE FLESH OF THE ANIMAL. And the body grows and is built by it. But as a result of the pleasure, WHICH MAN RECEIVED FROM EATING MEAT, his body commits many sins. The Holy One, blessed be He, said, "The meat," REFERRING TO THE MEAT OF THE OFFERING, "shall be atonement for the body." Because one had eaten flesh, and had grown flesh through it IN THE BODY, and by it one had sinned, therefore the meat OF THE OFFERING shall be atonement for the body. So the meat - NAMELY THE FLESH OF THE BODY - that eats meat forms the blood in the body. And because of this, the purpose of the blood that remains outside of the meat OF THE OFFERING is to atone for the blood OF MAN, which was formed by that same meat OF THE ANIMAL. As it is written, "for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul" (Vayikra 17:11).
303. It is written, "My offering" and "your offering," as it is written, "shall you bring your offering" (Vayikra 1:2). What is the difference between these two phrases? AND HE REPLIES, "My offering" is like peace offerings that are brought for peace. "Your offering" is like sin or guilt offerings brought to ATONE for sin or guilt. Therefore, "My offering" is meat, "the provision" is bread and wine, "savor" is incense. "Sweet" (Heb. nichoach) is satisfaction (Heb. nachat) that the priest experiences when meditating on the Holy Name, WHICH HE UTTERS ALOUD DURING THE RITUAL OF THE SACRIFICE. And the Levites HAVE THE SAME EXPERIENCE when meditating during the songs and praises, WHICH THEY RECITE DURING THE SACRIFICE.
304. Of the verse, "Shall you observe to offer to me in their (lit. 'its') due season," HE ASKS, What is meant by "due season?" If you say THAT THE MEANING IS TO OFFER A SACRIFICE every day - morning and evening - why then is it called "its due season?" AND HE REPLIES, "its due season" APPLIES to the desire that rules at that certain moment - NAMELY, THE MOMENT OF THE SACRIFICE. This is the desire that prevails above in that certain grade, WHICH IS THE NUKVA. And for this reason, it is written, 'its due season.'
305. When an offering is sacrificed, all the worlds receive a part of it, and the Klipot are scattered in all directions. The unison OF THE MALE AND FEMALE grows closer and is completed, and the candles, WHICH ARE THE SECRET OF THE UPPER GRADES, shine. And there is one desire and full companionship in all the worlds. And the Holy One, blessed be He, is in a state of the secret of unity as should properly be. Rabbi Chiya came forward, kissed him, and said, You are more worthy than I to go and see him, REFERRING TO RABBI ELAZAR.
306. They went along. When they reached RABBI ELAZAR, he saw them sitting beside the gate. He said to his attendant, Go and ask them what is the significance OF EACH of the three legs of this throne? They told him, Go and tell our master that it is not in vain that King David, who is the fourth LEG OF THE THRONE, said, "The stone which the builders rejected" (Tehilim 118:22). AND WITH THIS VERSE, THEY GAVE HIM A HINT ABOUT THE THREE COLUMNS THAT PRECEDE DAVID, WHICH ARE CHESED, GVURAH AND TIFERET. He said to him, TO HIS ATTENDANT, Go and tell them, where David was 'rejected' BY THE BUILDERS, that he said, "The stone which the builders rejected?"