“For the life of the flesh is in the blood…”

In this week’s Torah portion (Achrei-Mos – Kedoshim) we observe the verse (Leviticus 17:11):

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have assigned it to you for making expiation”

The great middle ages scholar Rashi explains that when the verse states “for the life of the flesh in the blood” it is namely that of every creature.

In other words, it is not only the blood of animals that are brought as sacrifices, rather all living beings are dependent on their blood, and it is for this reason that God has commanded us that the blood of the sacrifices are to be placed on the altar, in order to make expiation for the life of man, that is, let life come and expiate for life!

We learn from here an important lesson in recognition of the power of blood, and the symbolism behind it as the source of all life. Clearly by recognizing this, the Torah can help us appreciate life in all its manifestations, and through sacrifice recognize the loss of blood and its replacement of our own. May we recognize that all living things are precious, and through that recognition achieve a greater level of commitment and devotion to the creator of all living things.