There were two Mizbachos/altars in the Mishkan [Tabernacle]. One was outside, filled with earth, on which the animals were brought as Karbanos. It was made of Nechoshes – copper. Inside the Tabernacle was the Zahav/gold one which was not used for the animal sacrifices. We have to realize that there is an outside physicality to us and an inner spirituality. And both have to be addressed in a spiritual way.
We take base physicality and uplift it to a higher sphere (the copper altar that hosted the animal sacrifices). Let us use the example of Shabbos for this concept. You buy a nice juicy steak to eat at your Seudah, bite into it with gusto and say Lekovod Shabbs. You wear fancy clothing just for Shabbos. You take all that physicality, the outside, and uplift it and consecrate it. You make it more than a steak.
However, we can’t forget that inside the Mishkan there was another altar used for Ketores, for incense. Smell is not an outside thing, it’s a taking in to ourselves (intake of breath AHH). So too, in our Mitzvos there is an inwards part of it to – and that is the focus and the thoughts. Shabbos, yes, we have the outside trappings of Challah, but we also have to have an inside service…we have to be thinking of connecting with G-d (intake of spiritual concepts AHHH). Time for meditation, time for learning, time for prayer — all these are thoughts and feelings, the inner spirituality.
So, my friends, enjoy your tasty food this Shabbos. Ah, delicious physicality that has now taken on spirituality. But don’t, for one second, forget the inner dimension too.