Don Isaac Abravanel, sometimes spelled Abarbanel (1437-1508) was a preeminent Jewish thinker, scholar, and prolific Biblical
commentator. Toward the end of Exodus chapter 29, the Bible describes the inauguration of the
Tabernacle altar. Two acts readied the altar: anointing oil and the offering of two daily sacrifices.

“Now this is that which you shall offer upon the altar: two one-year-old
lambs each and every day. The one lamb you shall offer in the morning,
and the other lamb you shall offer at dusk.”

Abravanel questions: Why does the inauguration ceremony require only the daily sacrifices, but not
other sacrifices such as the sin or guilt offerings etc.? Abravanel also urges Bible students to pay close
attention to the daily sacrifices, one brought in the morning and one in the afternoon. Yet, when it
comes to the festival additional sacrifices, for example, they were brought to the altar at the same time.

See Abravanel’s World for the full discussion of the inauguration of the altar. For now, however, let us
address Abravanel’s questions raised above. His answers contribute to understanding an integral part of
Jewish belief and thought, or to restate, God’s mindset, per se.

The verses, Abravanel holds, come to disabuse a gross misconception regarding the Creator. That is, God
has not made man with an inclination to sin. Furthermore, the Maker does not desire a pattern whereby
man transgresses, begs God for forgiveness, and concludes the cathartic process with sin offerings.

Patently false. To be clear, the Creator did not establish a regime of sin/guilt offerings to be offered on
the altar after the Golden Calf affair, illustrating some inherent moral shortcoming which tilts people to
falter and stumble. And then, because man sinned, he needs sin/guilt sacrifices.

Such a mindset, Abravanel teaches, is fundamentally fallacious. Let us review this chapter, and put it in
the proper context. It begins with an overview of the induction of Aaron and his sons into the
priesthood. They were selected to serve in the Tabernacle. Next, we read about the inauguration of the
altar – its anointment and sacrifices. “Now this is that which you shall offer…The one lamb you shall
offer in the morning, and other lamb you shall offer at dusk.”

The takeaway: God would prefer for man not to err. How lovely it would be if people walked the straight
path, and not stray! How wonderful it would be if Aaron never had to assist his brethren in getting back
into God’s good graces, if you will! Had the consecration of the altar included sin and guilt offerings,
people would get the wrong idea. Hence, the dedication ceremony included only daily sacrifices.
Heaven’s sublime message rings clear: If only people would obey My commandments and not
transgress, My altar would be content with the daily offerings!