For many years, millennia in fact, the 'story behind the story' was hardly relevant. People generally accepted what they saw without question, perhaps because just surviving was so difficult.

The earth was flat because so it seemed, economics were extremely basic, medicine was often more superstition than science, and government was primitive. Hardly anyone questioned these 'axioms', they were just part and parcel of life.

If we can try to pinpoint what caused humanity to shift into the modern age, it might be when people took interest in the 'story behind the story'; when humanity started to think and probe. Is the earth really flat? Is there a deeper science to economics? Can there be a rhyme and reason to medicine besides incantations? Can government be more efficient? When we collectively started to think critically, major discoveries were made, and have continued to be discovered ever since.

One of these major discoveries was cell theory. When Robert Hooke first discovered cells in 1665, with a most primitive microscope that used fire, he hardly realized what he had stumbled upon. It took nearly two more centuries until it dawned on people that everything in the universe was composed of cells.

One of the basic elements of cell theory is that cells reproduce and multiply. It's the reproduction of cells that drives life and growth. And one of the most important ways which we cause our cells to reproduce and reenergize, giving us life and growth, is food.

The Torah has a lot to say on food - both literal food (e.g. kosher), and spiritual food. Spiritual food functions exactly as regular food does: It makes us grow. 

What is spiritual food? The Torah speaks of many. Kindness, Torah study, prayer… and sacrifice. Sacrifice? Isn’t that the opposite of food? Food is enjoying, sacrifice is giving something up!

The Torah’s word for sacrifice (קָרְבָּן), which is the focus of this week’s Torah portion, actually doesn’t mean sacrifice at all - it’s better translated as elevation. When we’re able to elevate ourselves to be part of something bigger, something greater, or a meaningful cause, that is also spiritual ‘food’ for the soul. For just as food revitalizes us, down to our very cells, so does being part of something greater than ourselves fill us with energy, drive and focus. 

One of the most special causes is sharing Judaism with others. Judaism is far more than 'religion'. In many ways, like cells, Judaism is the 'story behind the story'. It sheds light on why we're here, how special we are, and how powerful of an impact we can have on the world around us. Judaism's warmth, empowering message, focus on family and unwavering insistence on the good embedded within everyone is a treasure which is as necessary and relevant than ever. This type of 'food' is invaluable. The more we 'eat', the more we grow.

Rabbi Avrohom