Monday, July 30, 2007

The Rambam on Sacrifices

R. Ahron Soloveichik, in a devar Torah on the Reishit Yerushalayim website (link - DOC):

We may consider an alternate understanding of the Rambam. Man has moral and spiritual needs, just as he has physiological ones. Among them is a profound, intrinsic need to sacrifice. Like other spiritual needs, this one has a positive outlet for it as well as a negative outlet. On the negative side, man has been willing from ancient times until today to sacrifice himself and his children to the various idolatries, such as the Molech. Hence the Germans were willing to sacrifice their lives for their F├╝hrer, and Arab terrorists readily volunteer for suicide missions. This illustrates an abuse of man’s need to sacrifice. The positive outlet of this need is the Torah mitzvah of bringing a sacrifice.

The Rambam implies that had it been possible, God would have removed the practice of sacrifices from the Torah. Abolishing the korbanos, though, would be as impossible as abolishing eating and drinking: The practice reflects a genuine need within man, a need to sacrifice.

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