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Offering Up Your Ego

The material contained in this blog post comes from the writings of Rabbi Avigdor Miller and comes from סעפער ויעקרא (the book of Leviticus) and deals with the subject of "Korbanos". In the Gospel of Matthew, 15:5 Jesus said, "But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, it is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; and honor not his father r his mother, he shall be free. Thus ye have made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition". The Greek word translated 'gift' is 'doron' (meaning: a sacrifice offered to God) and its Hebrew equivalent is קורבנ (Korban). Thus, we will be talking here about offering our egos to God as an offering.

Rabbi Miller writes that if a man slaughters an animal and offers it to God as a gift or sacrifice, the scripture considers it for him as if he honored God in two worlds - in this world and in the world to come. From the Hebrew words that a man says over the slaughter we derive that it is his 'inclination' and it discusses the 'evil inclination'. Why evil? Because the sacrifice is meant to atone for evil. Rabbi Miller points out that all people, as long as they are on this side of the grave, have to struggle with this 'evil inclination' and while on this side of the grave, it is impossible to overcome.

Rabbi Miller points out that the driving force behind the 'evil inclination' is none other than pride. As Proverbs says, pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirity before a fall. So, what is pride? At its most basic definition it is self-importance and is the cause of all misdeeds. The true root of the evil inclination is the desire to do what "you" wish to do, meaning "you" desire to do "your" will. In Latin, the word Ego means "I" - so the evil inclination is the Ego's desire to do the will of the "I". Rabbi Miller concludes his treatise by saying that the greatness of a person is when he or she takes that ego and offers it up to God as קורבנ (a sacrificial gift)> If we want to live free of the perils of pride and ego we must surrender them to God on the alter of repentance.

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