The ramp used to climb up to the top of the Mizbeach is called the Kevesh. On the Eastern side of the main ramp was a smaller ramp which went to the Sovev. The Sovev (literally to go around) was a ledge, 1 Amah wide, that went around the Mizbeach. The Sovev stood 6 Amos above ground-level.
The Kohanim would climb up to the Sovev and walk around it, to apply the blood of the Chatas offering to the 4 corners of the Mizbeach, starting at the South-Eastern corner and finishing at the South-Western corner. The Kohen would then descend from the Sovev via another minor ramp on the Western side of the Kevesh.
Our sages describe this Avodah in the Mishna; עלה בכבש ופנה לסובב, “He would go up the ramp and turn to the Sovev”. We read this Mishna each day as part of the Korbanos in davening.
The word Kevesh also means to conquer. Our sages teach איזהו גיבור הכובש את יצרו, “who is strong? One who conquers their evil inclination”. The ultimate Avodah is not to destroy or crush the Yetzer Hara, but rather to conquer it. Our Yetzer Hara remains present, but we strive to restrain its negative expressions and impulses and instead harness its positive qualities to use in the service of Hashem.
In Kabbalah, Sovev (meaning surrounding), refers to the essential light of Hashem called the אור הסובב כל עלמין. This light is so lofty that it cannot be contained and manifest within the order of created worlds. Instead, it remains hidden and transcendent. Only a contracted ray of light (ממלא כל עלמין) filters into the worlds in the process of creation.
The inner meaning of the Mishna is; עלה בכבש, through every effort and ascent that a person climbs in conquering their Yetzer, פנה לסובב, they access and draw down Hashem’s transcendent light that would otherwise be beyond the worlds.
Our Yetzer Hara challenges us with negative impulse, including; anger, jealousy and unholy desires. Each time that we conquer one of these urges by not acting upon them and giving them expression, we connect ourselves to the highest levels of G-dliness and infuse them into our soul and into our world.
¬ Based on Maamarim Kuntreisim Beis ד"ה איזהו גבור