The Oxford English Dictionary calls sacrifice:
An act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.
Sacrifice has been a part of human existence for at least the last 3,000 years. What did it mean 1500 years ago to give up an animal?
The Torah asked not for just any animal but those that are unblemished. The protected and loved sheep, the cattle raised from infancy. Not merely to bring it to the altar, but carry it great distances to the one proper temple. There, you would slit the animal's throat and watch the life leave it's eyes. You'd give up this precious source of food, power, and sustenance. To what? To something beyond you, something far larger than you. Sacrfice was a choice, a deeply personal and difficult choice.
The vast majority of humanity no longer does animal sacrifice, but what does that word mean today? What are we willing to give up for something or someone else?
Some people make daily sacrifices in their diet, or consumption choices (vegetarians, environmentalists etc) for social or political reasons.
Others make sacrifices for their religion: days of fasting, giving up part of their income to charity, or restrictions in clothing.
What sacrifices do we make for children? For family? I think of the mothers who have to choose between work and family. What do children lose when they have to take care of their parents?
How much is too much sacrifice? Is there ever too little?
Most importantly, what do we gain when we sacrifice? Is it worth it?
Created: Apr 08, 2014musing5225 Document Media