Don Isaac Abravanel, sometimes spelled Abarbanel (1437-1508) was a seminal Jewish thinker, penetrating scholar, and prolific Biblical
commentator. Leviticus (Vayikra) 1 deals with animal sacrifices, specifically burnt offerings. The wording,
Abravanel notes, “When any man of you brings an offering unto God”, appears clumsy. The words “of
you” seem superfluous. If we omit them, the verse would read succinctly: “When any man brings an

“And God called unto Moses, and spoke unto him out of the Tent of the
Meeting saying, speak unto the Children of Israel, and say unto them:
When any man of you brings an offering unto God, you shall bring your
offering of the cattle, even of the herd.”

Although the words “of you” address Jewish men and women, commanding them to bring offerings,
Abravanel adds that the verse does not negate Gentiles from also bringing animal sacrifices to
Jerusalem’s holy Temple. They certainly can, and did.

Abravanel elaborates, in the name of classic, medieval Biblical commentators. They explain that “of you”
rules out renegade Jews. Hebrew apostates are not permitted to offer animal sacrifices in the Temple,
for they have disowned their Jewish heritage.

Gentiles, on the other hand, didn’t disavow Judaism; they simply never embraced it. Hence, should a
non-Jew be inspired to draw closer to the Almighty – and bring an animal sacrifice as a means of doing
so – that would be perfectly acceptable.

When it comes to sacrifices and Hebrew renegades, however, it presents a different story, as
mentioned. Willfully, they rebel against God. Given their wretched conduct, why should the priests
accommodate them by accepting their offerings?

In sum, “When any man of you brings an offering unto God” reads quite well. The phrase, Abravanel
teaches, informs Bible students that some Jews, but not all of them, may bring sacrifices. Unequivocally,
the Bible conveys a powerful message to Jewish apostates. Either they mend their noxious ways, or they
become personae non gratae in the holy Temple.