Lamb Symbolism and the Temple Service

Q: What is the symbolism of the lamb sacrificed at the Passover Temple service. I will appreciate any help you can give me.

A: The Torah refers to three pure animals which may be eaten when slaughtered in correspondence with Jewish law, and which are also sacrificed in the Temple service. In this case, the lamb was taken before the exodus from Egypt to be sacrificed as an offering to G-d.

When the life force in the animal, which is called the holy sparks, is properly sacrificed to G-d, it creates an elevation of all the life force in all the animal kingdom. It is all elevated to its spiritual source in heaven in order to draw down great influx and blessing to all Creation.

The three pure animals are the cow, goat and lamb. Our sages teach that these animals correspond to our three Patriarchs, or to the three properties which the Patriarchs symbolize. The power of the cow corresponds to Abraham, who represents lovingkindness. The power of the goat corresponds to Isaac, who represents awe. The power of the lamb corresponds to Jacob, who represents mercy. The very voice of the lamb arouses mercy. When the lamb is sacrificed it arouses the mercy of G-d to redeem his people from bondage and slavery. This is why the lamb was chosen especially to be the Passover offering.

Our sages also teach that the lamb was worshipped by the Egyptians. The very fact that the Jews were commanded to take a lamb on the tenth day, and to keep it for another four days to be sacrificed was a great trial for the Jewish People. The Egyptians were aware that the Jews intended to sacrifice their deity on the 14th day. By sacrificing the lamb, the Jews denied the idol worship of the Egyptians and all peoples. They negated the Divine source of the Egyptian deity by sacrificing it to the ultimate and infinite source. Then its life force is elevated and it draws down Divine influx.

All of Creation has to recognize the One G-d, and must be willing to be sacrificed for G-d. When a Jew sacrifices an animal, he must think that it is as though he is sacrificing himself. G-d commanded us to live, and not die, and therefore gave us the opportunity to sacrifice an animal instead of ourselves. The arousal in the heart is one of giving of oneself and returning to the infinite source, which brings down infinite influx.

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