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sacrifice

This wasn’t the planned “Part 2” – but it might be better for that. First, read Part 1. There, in the comments, Rev. Chris Spark highlighted that etymology does not always determine meaning. I would argue that it is regularly a great place to start in understanding a word to look at its origin – but, yes, the usage of a word might change away from its origin. In fact, sometimes a word can be used in the opposite meaning of its origin.

In Part 1, I contended that

Sacrifice, in the Hebrew Bible, is not so much about giving something up that is valuable; it is much more about a God-given means that draws us near to God, that gives us intimacy with God. Sacrifice is the word that applies to God taking into God’s possession; about growing union with God.

So, let’s take up the challenge and look at the actual examples of קָרְבָּן (qārbān).

It is used 82 times, the first (in the canonical order) in Lev 1:2, the last in Ez 40:43. You can check all the examples here yourself. In each example, the understanding of sacrifice קָרְבָּן (qārbān) as rooted in קרב (karev be near) is present and hence reinforced. Sacrifice קָרְבָּן is the God-given means to draw near קרב to God.

In order to draw near to God, we need a God-given means to draw near to God.

The essence of sacrifice is to bring a person closer to G-d.

Jewish Virtual Library

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