Don Isaac Abravanel, sometimes spelled Abarbanel (1437-1508) was a seminal Jewish thinker, penetrating scholar, and prolific Biblical
commentator. Leviticus (Vayikra) 3 is devoted to peace offerings brought to the Tabernacle. Abravanel explains
the sequence, and importance, of peace offerings coming after the Bible speaks about burnt offerings
(Leviticus 1) and meal offerings (Leviticus 2).

“And if his offering be a sacrifice of peace offerings, if he offer of the
herd, whether male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before

Are some sacrifices holier than others? According to Abravanel the short answer is an emphatic YES.
Here is why.

If a man is inspired to bring an offering to the Temple, one that will be wholly dedicated to God, he
brings a burnt offering. If a man desires to bring an offering that is partly earmarked for the Maker, and
partly shared with the priests, then he’ll make it a meal offering.

Now we come to our chapter. If a man decides to bring an offering that will be split three ways –
between God, the priests, and himself (and family/friends), it is a peace offering.

When sacrifices are viewed along the lines of the recipient(s), Abravanel teaches, a picture of a clear-cut
hierarchy emerges. On top of the hierarchy is a burnt offering, seeing that it is the sole ownership of the
Creator. Beneath the burnt offering is the meal offering, as it is divided between God and the priests. In
Temple parlance, both the burnt and meal offerings get categorized as ‘holy of holies’ or ‘most holy.’

Third from the top of the sacrifice chart comes peace offerings. In the world of sacrifices, they are
designated as ‘holy light.’

Abravanel goes further in his discussion of ordering or sequence of offerings. Burnt offerings are
brought on the altar, God’s table, to use an anthropomorphism. The second table or offering domain
was found in the Tabernacle’s courtyard. There, the priests partook of their portion of the meal offering.
Lastly, certain sacrifices were enjoyed in Jerusalem – peace offerings. In the Holy City, the proprietors
(along with their guests) shared the meaty repast of peace offerings.

SeeAbravanel’s World for the full discussion of the sequence of animal sacrifices in the Temple,
including his Scriptural sources that bolster Abravanel’s findings.