My korban, My bread
The people of Israel provide nourishment for their Father in Heaven
Zohar, part III, 26b
The Talmud points to the relationship between the soul and the body as a model for the nature of G-d’s relationship with the world. The soul cannot be perceived by the senses, yet its presence and effect is keenly felt in every part of the body; so too, G-d, though He transcends our reality and is utterly beyond its perception, vitalizes the entirety of creation and is fully present in its every nook and cranny.
Chassidic teaching employs this analogy to explain the amazing statement by our sages that “The people of Israel provide nourishment for their Father in Heaven.” 1 Food is the glue that keeps soul and body together, sustaining the embodiment of the spirit within its material shell. By the same token, our service of G-d is what sustains G-d’s involvement with His creation, feeding His desire to continue to infuse it with existence and life.
Thus G-d refers to the korbanot – the animal and meal offerings brought in the Holy Temple – as “My bread.” The korbanot (and their present-day substitute, prayer) are the highest expression of our striving to serve G-d and come close to Him; as such, they are the “food” which sustains the life of the universe, the fuel that keeps the divine soul alight within the body of creation. 2