VI. The Zevach Shelamim
VI-A. The Source Texts
When his offering is a
sacrifice of a peace offering, if he offers it of the herd,
whether male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the
L_RD. And he shall lay his hand on the head of his offering, and kill it
at the door of the tabernacle of meeting; and Aaron's sons, the
priests, shall sprinkle the blood all around on the altar. Then he shall
offer from the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by
fire to the L_RD. The fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that
is on the entrails, the two kidneys and the fat that is on
them by the flanks, and the fatty lobe attached to the liver above
the kidneys, he shall remove; and Aaron's sons shall burn it on the altar
upon the burnt sacrifice, which is on the wood that is on
the fire, as an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the L_RD.
If his offering as a sacrifice of a peace offering to the L_RD
is of the flock, whether male or female, he shall offer it
without blemish. If he offers a lamb as his offering, then he shall offer
it before the L_RD. And he shall lay his hand on the head of his
offering, and kill it before the tabernacle of meeting; and Aaron's sons
shall sprinkle its blood all around on the altar. Then he shall offer
from the sacrifice of the peace offering, as an offering made by
fire to the L_RD, its fat and the whole fat tail which he shall
remove close to the backbone. And the fat that covers the entrails and
all the fat that is on the entrails, the two kidneys and the fat
that is on them by the flanks, and the fatty lobe attached
to the liver above the kidneys, he shall remove; and the priest shall burn
them on the altar as food, an offering made by fire to the L_RD.
And if his offering is a goat, then he shall offer it before the
L_RD. He shall lay his hand on its head and kill it before the tabernacle
of meeting; and the sons of Aaron shall sprinkle its blood all around on
the altar. Then he shall offer from it his offering, as an offering made
by fire to the L_RD. The fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that
is on the entrails, the two kidneys and the fat that is on them
by the flanks, and the fatty lobe attached to the liver above the
kidneys, he shall remove; and the priest shall burn them on the altar
as food, an offering made by fire for a sweet aroma; all the
fat is the L_RD's. This shall be a perpetual statute
throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall eat neither
fat nor blood.
(Lev 3:1-4:1, emphasis added)
This is the law of the
sacrifice of peace offerings which he shall offer to the L_RD: If
he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer, with the sacrifice
of thanksgiving, unleavened cakes mixed with oil, unleavened wafers
anointed with oil, or cakes of blended flour mixed with oil. Besides the
cakes, as his offering he shall offer leavened bread with the
sacrifice of thanksgiving of his peace offering. And from it he
shall offer one cake from each offering as a heave offering to the
L_RD. It shall belong to the priest who sprinkles the blood of the
peace offering. The flesh of the sacrifice of his peace
offering for thanksgiving shall be eaten the same day it is offered.
He shall not leave any of it until morning. But if the sacrifice of his
offering is a vow or a voluntary offering, it shall be eaten the
same day that he offers his sacrifice; but on the next day the remainder
of it also may be eaten; the remainder of the flesh of the sacrifice on
the third day must be burned with fire. And if any of the flesh of
the sacrifice of his peace offering is eaten at all on the third
day, it shall not be accepted, nor shall it be imputed to him; it shall
be an abomination to him who offers it, and the person who eats of
it shall bear guilt.
(Lev 7:11-18, emphasis added)
He who offers the sacrifice of his
peace offering to the L_RD shall bring his offering to the L_RD
from the sacrifice of his peace offering. His own hands shall bring
the offerings made by fire to the L_RD. The fat with the breast he shall
bring, that the breast may be waved as a wave offering before the
L_RD. And the priest shall burn the fat on the altar, but the breast shall
be Aaron's and his sons'. Also the right thigh you shall give to the
priest as a heave offering from the sacrifices of your peace
offerings. He among the sons of Aaron, who offers the blood of the
peace offering and the fat, shall have the right thigh for
his part. For the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the
heave offering I have taken from the children of Israel, from the
sacrifices of their peace offerings, and I have given them to Aaron
the priest and to his sons from the children of Israel by a statute
(Lev 7:29-34, emphasis added)
VI-B. Important Terms
Zevach Shelamim ( ): An offering,
signifying a celebration of the goodness of the Holy One, and expressive of a
desire to share some kind of good news relating to Him. This offering
resolves to a celebratory feast, revolving around the eating of the meat of
Zevach ( ): An offering that has been
ceremonially slaughtered. The meat, provided in this manner is intended to
serve as a ceremonial "food."
The Passover feast is a special zevach shelamim, which proclaims
and celebrates our deliverance, from slavery in the days of Moses, and
from sin and death in our Messiah.
Then Y'Shua said to them,
"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son
of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My
flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the
last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He
who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the
living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds
on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from
heaven not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats
this bread will live forever."
(Jn 6:53-58, emendation added)
Shalom ( or
): Shalom is generally translated,
"peace." But, as we have previously seen, a better word for "peace"
is "menuchah." Shalom actually derives from a root
that means wholeness, completeness, perfection, etc. It speaks to a state of
being, where nothing is missing, and all is as it should be: health,
prosperity, favor, peace, etc.
Shalom can also speak to a state of relationship, where one is in
right relation, or has been reconciled to a right relation. Shalom
does not mean "peace," but peace is a natural, and desired,
Shalam ( ): to reward, to cause to be
finished, to make complete, to make restitution, to make perfect (as in
nothing is missing or incomplete), etc.
Y'shalem ( ): means to restore, to
replace what is missing, or (legally) to make whole, from some sort of
Mizbeach ( ): altar, or literally, the
"place where zevachim (plural of zevach) are
Note that the mizbeach is to be constructed only of
avanim sh'leimot ( ), whole,
uncut stones. Notice the use of the root shared with shalom.
Terumah ( ): Literally, that which has
been "raised up" or "lifted," from ruum ( ), which means to "raise," "lift" or
"exalt." It speaks to the idea of offering a "gift" or
Terumah is the portion of the zevach shelamim that is given
to the officiating priest.
Aggadah ( ): the "telling" of a
story, or commenting on an activity or account. More succinctly, an
aggadah is a "proclamation," or wide distribution of some
knowledge or information, to the benefit of the hearers.
In association with the zevach shelamim, the aggadah is the
explanation, to the gathered assembly, relating the reason that the feast
has been called and prepared.
For I received from the L_rd that
which I also delivered to you: that the L_rd Y'Shua on the same
night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks,
He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is
broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same manner
He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is
the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in
remembrance of Me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink
this cup, you proclaim the L_rd's death till He comes.
(1Co 11:23-26, emphasis and emendation added)
This portion of the service is still operating in the celebratory feast
that follows a wedding. At some point, near the end of the meal, the
guests indicate their desire for a "telling": addresses by the
bride, groom, and their representatives, the topics being, "How did
you meet?", "How did you determine that he/she was the
one?", "How have you changed each other's
The intention expressed in the "telling" is to cultivate a
desire, in the hearers, to obtain, or to gain access to, what is being
I say then, have they stumbled
that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall,
to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the
Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their
failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! For
I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I
magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy
those who are my flesh and save some of them. For if their being
cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their
acceptance be but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit
is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root
is holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches
were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among
them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the
olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast,
remember that you do not support the root, but the root
(Rom 11:11-18, emphasis added)
Cheilev ( or )
means a specific kind of fat, associated with a korban. This fat is
separate from the meat (typically by a membrane), and not joined to it.
Cheilev is easily pealed away from the korban.
The cheilev, along with the complete fat tail (present only on
goats and sheep), constitutes the memorial portion of the zevach
that rises to the Holy One, by being converted to smoke (katar)
on the altar. This memorial portion represents the very best of the
korban, hence the very best of the one offering the korban.
VI-C. The Missing "Process" Elements
The cheilev must be distinguished from shuman (), which is the fat that is intertwined
with meat and cannot be separated from it. We have already seen, in
action, the root that shuman is built upon, in the shemen
of the minchah offering. Shuman may be eaten, while
cheilev, being what is offered to the Holy One, may never be
eaten, in the same way that blood may never be eaten.
The term cheilev can also be used figuratively, in reference to the
very best of some provision. Here we see that Pharaoh is not actually
speaking of eating fat, per se, but was speaking of partaking of the very
best that his empire could offer.
And Pharaoh said to Joseph,
"Say to your brothers, 'Do this: Load your animals and depart; go to
the land of Canaan. Bring your father and your households and come to me;
I will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you will eat the
fat (cheilev) of the land. Now you are commanded do
this: Take carts out of the land of Egypt for your little ones and your
wives; bring your father and come. Also do not be concerned about your
goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.'"
Then the sons of Israel did so; and Joseph gave them carts, according to
the command of Pharaoh, and he gave them provisions for the journey.
(Gen 45:17-21, emphasis and emendation
As stated in the introduction to this series, there are five types of
korbanot, only two of which have anything whatsoever to do with sin.
The other three are making completely different statements, expressing
completely different ideas. Unfortunately, the only thing that most believers
know, about our Messiah's korban, is that it atones for sin. As we
shall see in the next section, if that is all our Messiah has done for us, we
have only been brought back to where we first came in, and there are three
essential korbanot still due. Actually, only one of the
remaining korbanot is actually an offering made to the Holy One. The
korban olah is an expression of whole-hearted, unreserved devotion and
dedication to the Holy One, including all that one is, and all of that one's
potential. The korban minchah, is an expression of relief, quietness of
spirit, and peace that ensues when one has laid his own agenda at the altar,
and has set off on G_d's path, responsible only for faithfulness. The
korban in view, the zevach shelamim, is actually a celebration
of the state of intimacy with our Creator, as well as an expression of our
desire to share what we have gained with others.
We all know that our Messiah voluntarily laid down on that wood, and
yielded up His life, while suspended between heaven and earth, like smoke, in
order to fulfill for us all of the temple korbanot. His korban
also represents the victory over strife and struggle, as well as the
peace we have with our beloved Creator, which comes as result of our
complete surrender to Him, and to His ways. If all we know about His
korban is the propitiatory aspects of it, we are missing out on our
very reason for living, as well as the very best of what He has provided and
accomplished for us, thereby. The very goal of the process lies well beyond
propitiation, with the "end" or "goal" of the law, for
those that believe, being fellowship and intimacy with our loving Creator,
and with those created in His image.
VI-D. The Zevach Shelamim's Position in "The
The following diagram shall serve to encapsulate our study of this
The relationship status, with the Holy One, where the zevach
shelamim becomes available is indicated by the highlighted area on the
map. Representations of previous korbanot were presented as highlighted
boundaries between various relational areas on the map. This situation is not
applicable with the zevach shelamim, since the relational status,
where the offering is available, is the goal of the entire process. The
zevach shelamim is not an offering that provides access to the next
desired state of relationship with the Holy One. Rather, it is an expression
of joy and appreciation that one has arrived at the destination of the
journey. In this area of relationship, one is free to make the zevach
shelamim whenever one is moved to do so.
As we shall see, in our study of the other offerings in this series, the
highlighted area represents a relational state where there is no sin, nor its
stain, associated with the individual. If sin, or its stain, would be present,
the area of the map then occupied would be farther from its center. Also, as
we shall see, the zevach shelamim would be unavailable to that
individual, until the prohibiting conditions have been properly dealt
The zevach shelamim is unavailable to one who has not rectified any
and all existing sin-related conditions, who has not been purified from any
and all related impurities, and then, who has not yet made a full dedication
of self to the Holy One. Without such a dedication, the celebratory
statements, relating to the ensuing intimacy, would be disingenuous and
devoid of any true meaning.
VI-E. The Preparation of the Zevach Shelamim
The zevach shelamim must, generally, be prepared as follows. There
are variations, according to specific type.
VI-F. The Essential Zevach Shelamim
- The zevach is to be brought to the kohen with one's own
hands. It cannot be offered by a designated proxy.
- Unlike the korban olah, which must always be male (significant
of the kind of effort one is committing to), the zevach shelamim
may be male or female (signifying that the intimacy being expressed is no
respecter of gender).
- The officiating priest is to inspect the zevach, to ensure that
it is not flawed or blemished. For the zevach to be devoid of
imperfections speaks to the holiness and perfection of the true
zevach, Messiah Y'Shua. If blemishes would be present, the coming
establishment of mutual agency would only serve to be a mutual exchange
- Along with the zevach, the one making the offering is to bring
a certain minimum amount of food, which is to include leavened and,
frequently, unleavened loaves of bread, in various permissible forms. The
unleavened bread represents the pure production of our Messiah, and the
leavened loaves represent the less than perfect production of His earthly
agents. In this way, we are able to see that the Holy One recognizes that
whatever we can produce, regardless of effort or intent, will be always be
mingled with some amount of human self-interest and intervention.
- The one offering the zevach then performs the rite of
s'michat yadayim (the laying on of hands), establishing the
relationship of mutual agency. The one making the offering shall
henceforth act in and through his korban, and vice-versa.
- The officiating priest then performs the rite of sh'chitah
(ceremonial slaughter), and the korban symbolically lays its life
down in the presence and service of the Holy One, in this case, toward
the goal of feeding the hearts, minds and spirits of those in the sphere
of influence of the one making the offering.
The zevach is divided into its distributional elements:
- The memorial portion for the Holy One (the cheilev and
complete fat tail, if present), which is converted to smoke on
the altar, rising symbolically to the Holy One. In this case, the
portion converted to smoke is referred to as
- The terumah (also a gift to the Holy One, but resolving
to the possession of His interface) for the officiating priest,
who must eat it in a holy place, and in a holy state. This portion
consists of specified amounts of the leavened and unleavened
loaves, as well as the breast and right thigh of the
zevach, speaking of the heart and strength of the one
- The rest of the korban, is designated for the one
making the offering, and his invitees.
- The memorial portion for the Holy One is converted to smoke on the
altar, rising symbolically to Him, as His portion of the feast, His
"food," if you will.
- The terumah, is offered as a "wave" or
"heave" offering. This portion of the zevach shelamim is
also given as a gift to the Holy One. The terumah is placed
on the palms of the one making the offering, supported (from below) by the
palms of the officiating priest. It is then "lifted and waved"
as an expression of thanks and appreciation. The terumah is then
given to the Holy One's interfacing agent, the officiating kohen
(priest), who must eat it in a holy place, and in a holy state.
- The rest of the zevach, the bread loaves, and other provided
feast foods are to be eaten by the one making the offering, and his
invitees. This is the "feast" portion of the korban
- At some point, near the end of the meal(s) of the feast, the one
making the offering obtains the attention of the participants, and shares
the aggadah, a proclamation of the goodness of G_d, and
specifically, sharing the circumstances giving rise to the offering and
its feast. There are many types of zevach shelamim: a free-will
gift, the fulfillment of an articulated vow, the completion of a period
of special dedication (such as a nazarite vow), an expression of
thanksgiving for some kind of special mercy or provision on the part of
the Holy One.
- Depending on the specific type of zevach shelamim, there is a
specified time limit (one to two days), after which, the remaining
elements of the feast that have not been eaten must be consumed out of
existence by fire. This signifies that opportunity to be influenced by the
aggadah is limited, and will definitely pass from
Like the korban olah and the korban minchah, the zevach
shelamim has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with sin. Rather, it is
expressive of the goal of the entire process: intimacy with our Creator. It
is essentially a shared meal, the participants being: the one making the
offering, our Creator, His interfacing agent (our Messiah in effigy), those
who share in the joyful intimacy with Him, as well as those who
"could" share in that joy, if they would only make the right
decisions and take the commensurate actions to make it so.
Sharing a meal is more than simply eating food. It is a symbolic joining of
the participants, in that, the same food goes into the mouths of each, and
becomes part of the bodies of each. Since G_d also partakes of a portion of
the "food," He is also sharing this meal. As such, the zevach
shelamim speaks beautifully of the relationship referred to by the Greek
word, koinonia: fellowship, through common participation and
That which was from the beginning,
which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have
looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life-the
life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to
you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us
" that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also
may have fellowship (koinonia) with us; and truly our
fellowship (koinonia) is with the Father and with His
Son Y'Shua the Messiah. And these things we write to you that your
joy may be full.
(1Jn 1:1-4, emphasis and emendation added)
This symbolic, intimate "joining" of participants is the reason
that we are admonished not to eat with certain individuals. We ought not be
joined, yoked together, or identified, with such folks.
But now I have written to you not
to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or
covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner
not even to eat with such a person.
A zevach shelamim is intimately shared, where, sometimes,
participants will dip into the common food pot, scoop up some of the contents
with bread, and hand it to another participant, or, more intimately, actually
place the food directly into the mouth of the other. It is a great honor when
it is the sheikh, or leader, who is the one sharing his food in this
manner, such as Boaz did for Ruth, or as Messiah did for His disciples, even,
and most especially, with Judas, whom He did dearly love.
And Boaz answered and said to her,
"It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your
mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your
father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a
people whom you did not know before. The L_RD repay your work, and a full
reward be given you by the L_RD G_d of Israel, under whose wings you have
come for refuge." Then she said, "Let me find favor in your
sight, my lord; for you have comforted me, and have spoken kindly to your
maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants." Now
Boaz said to her at mealtime, "Come here, and eat of the bread, and
dip your piece of bread in the vinegar." So she sat beside the
reapers, and he passed parched grain to her; and she ate and was
satisfied, and kept some back.
(Ruth 2:11-14, emendation added)
Y'Shua answered, "It is he
to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it."
And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot,
the son of Simon. Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him.
Then Y'Shua said to him, "What you do, do quickly." But no one
at the table knew for what reason He said this to him. For some thought,
because Judas had the money box, that Y'Shua had said to him, "Buy
those things we need for the feast," or that he should give
something to the poor. Having received the piece of bread, he then went
out immediately. And it was night.
(Jn 13:26-30, emendation added)
Now, at a proper, intimate Passover seder, the leader, in order to ensure
that each person gets the required quantity of any particular ceremonial food,
dips for each participant, and hands it to each. Hence, Judas was not the only
one receiving the dipped food from the Messiah. To fully show this, none of
the other disciples knew that Judas was the betrayer. Y'Shua loved Judas, and
included him in his intimate last seder.
As the korban olah speaks to the new birth experience, where the
"prayer of salvation" should contain the essential element of
complete submission, dedication and devotion to the Holy One, so the zevach
shelamim speaks to the desire, yea even hunger, to share the gospel (good
news) with others. Such activity does not enrich us, in the worldly sense, but
it does fill us with great joy and celebration, especially when an invitee
responds to our aggadah.