Parsha Mitzvot: Re’ei: Mitzvah 437 – Concept 367
“You shall not do this to God, your lord. Rather, only at the place that God, your Lord, will choose from among all your tribes to place His Name there, shall you seek out His Presence and come there. And there shall you bring your elevation-offerings and feast-offerings, your tithes and what you raise up with your hands, your vow offerings and your free-will offerings, and the firstborn of your cattle and your flocks.” (Deuteronomy 12:4-6) We are commanded to bring all avowed and freewill offerings to the Temple on the first subsequent festival. (Rambam, Hilchot Ma’aseh HaKorbanot The Sacrificial Procedure)
I imagine a section of a farm in Israel with different sections for different animals that the owner has set aside to bring as offerings the next time he goes to Jerusalem for a major Festival. Every time he glances at these animals, he is waiting to go to Jerusalem. He is connected to the Temple even when he is slaving away at his farm.
Each time he looks at these animals he sees his vows and the situations that led him to make the vow. He sees many of his important spiritual experiences with every glance at the animals.
The man understands that a visit to the Beit Hamikdash is not a single experience, but the place where all the different parts of his life connect with each other and with God. Jerusalem becomes the place where he becomes whole.
Our prayers, that take the place of sacrifices, are directed to Jerusalem. We too can connect all our experiences to each other and to God, and seek wholeness each time we pray.