Peace offerings are the sacrifices that are shared by the worshipper and the priesthood. In Leviticus 7, the Torah reiterates the laws of the peace offerings, adding details about which parts of the animal are to be retained by the priesthood, who is fit to eat a peace offering, how quickly the meat has to be eaten and what to do if not all the meat is eaten by the deadline. A peace offering could be eaten by anyone, anywhere, so long as that person was in a state of ritual purity when he or she ate it.
The Torah lists several different types of peace offerings, including votive offerings brought in fulfillment of vows, freewill offerings and the thanksgiving offering. The Passover Lamb was also a type of peace offering.
Peace offerings, however, were never brought for sin. They do not atone or expiate. Instead, the peace offerings represent relationship, fellowship and peace between God and man. Eating of the peace offering was like eating from God’s own table. When a person is not at peace with God, he has no peace. God is the absolute subject of reality, so to be at war with God is to be at war with reality.
Human beings often live unhappy lives as we flee from pain and pursue pleasure, trying to find comfort in the material world. A person does not realize that the reason for his constant angst is that he does not have peace with God. When a man does not have peace with God, he cannot have peace with himself or with others. He rages at those who tread on his dignity or offend his pride, and he justifies his own actions at the expense of relationships with his friends and family. He uses other people to try to prop up his fragile ego. He attempts to slake his thirsty soul with vices and to satisfy his fleshly appetites with indulgences, but all of it is useless.
Unless we have peace with God, there is no peace. “‘There is no peace for the wicked,’ says the LORD” (Isaiah 48:22). The good news is that there can be peace with God. The Apostle Paul says, “While we were [still God’s] enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son” (Romans 5:10). God wants peace with human beings more than human beings want peace with one another. That is why He gave His Son as a sacrifice—a peace offering between God and man.
How great is peace! Now I know that peace is the culmination of all things in this world; but how do I know that it is to be so in the World to Come? It is said, [in Isaiah 66:12], “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river.” The Rabbis said, “Great is peace, seeing that when the King Messiah comes, he will publish peace, as it is said [in Isaiah 52:7], “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace.” (Leviticus Rabbah 9:9)
Tzav – צו : “Command”
Torah : Leviticus 6:1-8:36 (6:8-8:36)
Haftarah : Jeremiah 7:21-8:3; 9:22-23
Gospel : Luke 4-6
Source: Torah Portion