The entire tribe of the Levites served in the Holy. They were divided into 24 groups, changed every week. Each group served about twice a year. It was a great merit to serve the holy with the priests and all Levites desired to have the merit. Their duties were to prepare and help the priests in their work. The Zohar adds that they did their work with prayers and singing, two aspects that when added to the 24 comes to 26 as the numerical value for YHVH that brings unification of the upper and lower.
When the sacrifices were put on the Altar a fire comes from above to burn the animal. The animal replaced the soul of a person and the process purifies his sins similar to the Kaparot that we do just before Yom Kippur.
“וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה, אֵלָי: מִצָּפוֹן תִּפָּתַח הָרָעָה, עַל כָּל-יֹשְׁבֵי הָאָרֶץ”
“Then YHVH said to me, “Out of the north the evil will break forth on all the inhabitants of the land.”
Some of the sacrifices were left on the Altar to be burnt all night long when the sins to be purified were of a type that affected the entire soul. Different types of sacrifices/offerings handled differently because of different cleansing process. Some animals needed to be slaughter in north because the evil side is in the north.
The directions related to different levels of lights. The north is Gevurah and south is Chessed.
אמר רבי יצחק הרוצה שיחכים ידרים ושיעשיר יצפין, וסימניך שלחן בצפון ומנורה בדרום, ורבי יהושע בן לוי אמר לעולם ידרים, שמתוך שמתחכם מתעשר, שנאמר (משלי ג, טז) “אורך ימים בימינה בשמאלה עושר וכבוד”.
The sages say the those who wish to be rich should go north and those who seek wisdom should go south. Physical north and south is relative and spiritually we understand is that in order to be rich we need to overcome the evil that controls the material world.
South is Chessed and when we choose actions of kindness and study of the Torah, which is also aspect of Chessed (Proverbs 31,26), we achieve great wisdom.
Some sages say that those who seek wisdom also get rich because wisdom draws everything into it.
Rabbi Shimon that we celebrate his Hillulah on Lag B’Omer was the example of going ‘south’
Before you choose to ‘go north’, here is a story about Rabbi Shimon from the Talmud.
One of Rabbi Shimon’s students left his studies, did business and became rich quickly. The other students tempted to follow that students. Rabbi Shimon took his students out of town to a place where he filled the entire area with gold coins. He offered them to take as much as they want from the gold under one condition; whatever they take now will be ‘deducted’ from the spiritual wealth they earned for the world to come. None of them took from the gold and they went back to their studies.
The lesson is not to follow desire for money and if God placed us in the ‘north’ we still need to follow the ways of the ‘south’ in order to earn the world to come.
Rabbi Shimon went ‘south’ all the way and controlled the ‘north’ when he stayed in the cave for 13 years focusing on the study of Torah and burning all desires for the self. He let his body ‘burn’ in the ground without clothes just to achieve the highest spiritual level.
“וְאֶת-הַצְּפוֹנִי אַרְחִיק מֵעֲלֵיכֶם, וְהִדַּחְתִּיו אֶל-אֶרֶץ צִיָּה וּשְׁמָמָה–אֶת-פָּנָיו אֶל-הַיָּם הַקַּדְמֹנִי, וְסֹפוֹ אֶל-הַיָּם הָאַחֲרוֹן; וְעָלָה בָאְשׁוֹ, וְתַעַל צַחֲנָתוֹ–כִּי הִגְדִּיל, לַעֲשׂוֹת”
“”But I will remove the northern one far from you, And I will drive it into a parched and desolate land, And its vanguard into the eastern sea, And its rear guard into the western sea. And its stench will arise and its foul smell will come up, For it has done great things.””