In “Sacrifice and the Weaning of the Primitive Jew,” I discussed two contrasting Jewish views of sacrifice. There is an embarrassment of Jewish views on the meaning of the Temple sacrifices. They all seem to be on a different literal page (of Torah). As long as there exists different levels of meaning – the “revealed” meaning (the grammatical historical meaning), the “allusional meaning” and the “secret” meaning (sod) – Jewish interpreters of the Torah, in their belief that God has ordained these three levels, can find themselves in more than deep water. How deep – and hot – is what I want to talk about here.
Baruch Levine writes:
“expiation addressed itself to the presence of impurity, the actualized form of evil forces operative in the human environment. This was the function of expiation as a phenomenon. It was not so much that Yahweh had to be appeased for the offenses committed. To the extent that this was the case, such mollification took the form of sacrifice, itself. The accompanying expiation through blood, as distinct from the sacrificial gift, itself, became necessary because Yahweh demanded that the forces of impurity, unleashed by the offenses committed, be kept away from his immediate environment” (p.62).
YHVH was wrathful, says Levine, not so much for being disobeyed, but mainly “for his own protection.”
How, asks Levine, does YHVH protect himself? Through the blood “offered to the demonic forces who accept it in lieu of God’s “life,” so to speak, and depart, just as they accept it in lieu of human life in other cultic contexts” (P.62).
So, the Holy One of Israel is relegated to the level of a whimpering Baal worshiper propitiating the demons through animal (and human?) sacrifice.
“What advantage then hath the Jew? …Much in every way: chiefly, because unto him were committed the utterances (logion λόγιον) of God” (Romans 3:2)
In Levine’s case, this cannot be true. Where does he get these allusions from? Not from the words on the page; not even from the allusions bouncing off the page. From the secret unwritten knowledge (sod)? Levine plunges the VAV o f Torah into the belly of demons. What does Levine discover in the entrails of Torah? The BLACK kABBAlah of demons!
 Baruch A. Levine. 1974. In the presence of the Lord: a study of cult and some cultic terms in Ancient Israel. Leiden: E.J. Brill, pp. 65 – 66. Baruch Levine is the Professor Emeritus of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at New York University