(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c) Project Genesis

Date: Mon, 6 Jul 1998 20:39:50 -0400
From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel)
Subject: RE: Kosher Home

I thank both Lazar and Yitzchak for their comments on my article on Rambams
view on korbanoth(sacrafices)--that he didn't really believe what he said
in the Moreh Nevuchim (Guide for the Perplexed) and he really agreed with
ramban and Rav Hirsch on the symbolic meaning of korbanoth. (Incidentally I
believe this is the second time that Lazar has made his excellent points to
me...in the future when I cite my ideas I will incorporate his points (in
his name) --that the Rambam was just answering ACCORDING to that view and
showing that Torah values remain)

Anyone who wants a copy of the article, simply write me off list with an
address (I don't anticipate asking for postage).

But what is bothering me? I must answer Lazar and Yitzchak.

Suppose we believed as Yitzchak that if the Torah was given say in the
Persian period then korbanoth(sacrifices) might not have been there (since
there original purpose was to wean Jews from Idolatry). Suppose as Lazar
suggests that even if that was the reason now they are eternal mitzvoth (so
the ORIGINAL reason was to wean us from idolatry and now we accept them as

I could of course protest that it is purer to believe that the Torah is
time independent and that korbanoth(sacrifices) would be given in all
periods. But is there a reason to say this? What is bothering me???


Who in our readership gets "excited" about a detail of
korbanoth(sacrifices)? Who has a chevrutah(a set time to learn with a
partner) not in bracoth(blessings), shmirath shabbath(laws of Sabbath),
kiddushin but in korbanoth? Indeed, if their original purpose was to wean
the Jews away from idolatry than there would be a reason to ACCEPT these
mitzvoth but no great urge to get EXCITED ON THEM.


Suppose as Rav Hirsch spends 500 pages eloquently defending...suppose
korbanoth mirror all of human psychology. Suppose a sin offering is really
a symbolic enactment of therapy from a guilt feeling, suppose that the
Burnt Offering is a symbolic enactment of a person who wants to zoom up and
overflow with his communal work, suppose that the Peace offering is a
symbolic enactment of therapy for the person saved by a miracle, suppose
the child bearer offerings and others are symbolic enactments of therapies
for these people

If we do suppose this then how different would our attitude towards
korbanoth (sacrifices)would be. Every detail COULD solve another problem.
An obscure tosafoth (Talmudic commentator) might solve my friends marriage,
an obscure Rosh (Talmudic commentator) might help a friend in poverty who
doesn't think he can help the community, a minute detail might relieve my
friends who have sinned from guilt!!!

Look how different our attitude would be. And if our attitude would be
different then we would get EXCITED on every minute detail of korbanoth. No
longer would korbanoth be an orphan child or learning... >  >  Well I am
learning Smirath Shabbath because it is practical and I have to know it <  <
On the contrary we could say... >  >  I am learning Korbanoth because I see how
to help my friends in their variety of psychological situations<  <

Anyway...that is what is bothering me. BITUL TALMUD TORAH(CESSATION OF
LEARNING)...the lack of excitement on minutiae of Korbanoth.

And to anyone who is skeptical that Korbanoth can be learned like this I
richly invite them to read Rav Hirsch's beautiful commentary on the
subject...for that is exactly what he does

I hope this posting incites people to increase their Talmud torah in the world

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA
RHendel @ mcs drexel edu