In Hebrew the word used in the Torah is korban, usually translated as offering, and in a deeper meaning denotes what has to be returned to its Creator. Other Sages say that it derives from the semantic root karov which means being near. They suggest that it means to be close to the Creator.
This offering, understood as a return to be close to Him, occurs in a way of elevation because the Creator belongs to a higher place. This elevation takes place when the offering is burnt and transformed into smoke that reaches up to Heaven.
Mystic and Chassidic Sages explain that the animals that God indicates, including their blood and fat, refer to human traits such as passion (blood), pleasure (fat), emotional excitement (sheep and goats); taking what is not given to us, eating or consuming without discernment, and dumping everywhere without caring for others (pigeons) and egotistic, controlling and oppressive behavior (ox, bulls and bullocks).
The act of sacrificing these animals by burning them in the altar of the Tabernacle does not mean the actual elimination or destruction of the human traits they represent. Let's reexamine the message of this Torah portion, and take a closer look to the essential elements involved in the sacrifices requested from Israel by God.
It is there where the Creator dwells among us, therefore the most sacred dimension of our material consciousness.
“And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and [the Tent of Meeting] shall be sanctified by My Glory. And I will dwell among [in] the children of Israel, and I will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among [in] them. I am the Lord their God.” (Exodus 29:43, 45-46)
We refine them in order to redirect them according to His will, and what He wants us to be and do. This heavenly fire is nothing more and nothing less than God's Love, from which everything is created, nurtured and sustained. This is the same fire that welcomes us when we are humbled after taking off our shoes to step in His holy ground.
This is the fire that purifies and leads in the right direction our basic nature, our basic needs and instincts, according to God's will.
The yoke of true care and respect for our fellow man in all of our actions. By doing so we are truly fulfilling God's will, and also His promise to dwell among (in) us.
Also let's remind ourselves that, in order to rebuild that sacred place where God promised to dwell with us, first we have to rebuild Jerusalem, our consciousness of His Love. We pray for this three times every day, and let's not forget that we have to start this reconstruction now.
The Chassidic tradition teaches us that in Sinai the Divine Redemption came from Above to below; and the Final Redemption in our current times will come from below to Above. This means that with our basic, lower nature we have to reach up to Heaven, and be guided by God's Love to redeem ourselves from ego's fantasies and illusions, and be One again with God.