The daily tamid offering, as the Torah commands in Parashat Pinchas (28:1-8), consists of two sheep which were sacrificed each day, one in the morning and another in the afternoon.
Rav Eliezer Papo, in his Elef Ha-magein, views these two daily sacrifices as symbols of the two basic spiritual struggles that we are to wage in our effort to properly serve the Almighty. We must restrain our instincts to avoid violating the Torah’s prohibitions, and we must overcome our innate laziness to fulfill the Torah’s obligations. The two basic realms of religious commands – mitzvot lo ta’aseh (prohibitions) and mitzvot asei (required actions) – necessitate exercising two very different qualities: self-restraint, and energetic, proactive assiduousness. Rav Papo suggests that the word “keves” (“sheep”) is associated with the verb k.v.sh., which denotes “conquest,” and thus alludes to the requirement to seize control over our natural human tendencies. Two sheep are sacrificed, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, representing the two general stages in life which pose different challenges. Youth is characterized by energy and passion, thus necessitating self-restraint and self-control to comply with the Torah’s restrictions. Later in life, energy levels decline, and the greater challenge thus becomes driving oneself to act and achieve all that the Torah requires. And so one sheep is offered in the morning – symbolizing the need to overcome the spiritual challenges of youth – and another is offered late in the day, symbolizing the struggle that must be waged in our older years.
In a slightly different vein, we might suggest that these two sacrifices are offered daily to instruct that these struggles in truth present themselves each and every day of our lives. Even in our older years, we still have certain youthful, frivolous tendencies that need to be restrained, and even in our younger years, we at times experience a degree of lethargy that we must overcome so we can achieve and maximize our potential. Each day, we have both the challenges of “the morning” and the challenges of “the afternoon”; there are things we want to do which we should not do, and there are things we do not want to do which we should do. The tamid sacrifice signifies the need for consistent, ongoing work and effort to meet the different challenges that we invariably confront in our quest to live our lives in the devoted service of our Creator.