Thursday, March 15, 2018

the relationship between korbanos and mishkan

There seems to be a basic disagreement between Ramban and Rambam regarding the relationship between korbanos and the mikdash.  Rambam writes in hil beis ha'bechira (1:1) that there is a mitzvah "la'asos beis Hashem muchan l'heyos makrivin bo korbanos" -- korbanos are the goal, mikdash is the means or context.  Ramban, on the other hand, in many places compares the mishkan to Har Sinai.  Both are places where the Shechina rested and Torah was revealed -- this is the goal.  Korbanos are just a means of attaining kapparah to prevent the Shechina from departing, the means to the end.  (We've discussed this before here, here, here, here, here, here but you want new stuff, right?)

The truth is that how you view the role of korbanos and their relationship to the mikdash may depend on which korban you are talking about.  Chatas, asham, and olah to some extent, all serve a kaparah function.  On the other hand, what about the korban tamid?  In parshas Titzaveh it's noteworthy that the tamid alone is mentioned -- absent is any reference to those other korbanos that bring kaparah.  The placement of the tamid at the end of the Terumah-Titzavehm unit, after the instructions on how to build a mishkan and make bigdei kehunah, indicates that it is the end for which everything else is the means.  The pesukim that speak of the tamid closeswith the words, "V'no'aditi shama... v'shachanti b'toch Bnei Yisrael... v'yad'u ki ani Hashem..." (29:43-46) -- the tamid itself brings about hashrah'as haShechina.

Abarbanel comments that the opening words of the parsha of tamid, "V'zeh ta'aseh al ha'mizbeiyach," are suggestive of a miyut: "zeh" -- this is the korban everything was meant for, to the exclusion of other offerings.  The Torah is telling is not to think of the mishkan just as the place to go when you need forgiveness, to offer your chatas or asham.  Ideally we should never need a chatas or asham!  The mishkan ideally is meant to be the place you offer the tamid, a korban to praise G-d and come closer to him.

In contrast, Rashi (Yeshaya 1:1) comments on the words "tzedek yalim bah" that the righteousness of the city of Yerushalayim was preserved by the tamid.  The morning offering served as a kaparah for any wrongdoing done at night and the evening korban served as a kaparah for any wrongdoing done during the day.  Whether that was the primary goal of the korban or an ancillary benefit, the fact remains that according to Rashi even the tamid served a kaparah function.  

It is possible to iron out the differences between these approaches.  Parshas Titzaveh with its focus on the tamid may reflect the "ideal" role of the mishkan, pre-cheit ha'eigel, where Klal Yisrael at least potentially stood to achieve a lasting tikun where cheit/kaparah would be no more, or have a vastly diminished role.  The reality post-cheit is that korbanos primarily serve our need for kaparah, to remove the burden of sin. 

That sets the groundwork for us to appreciate a beautiful Shem m'Shmuel that I'm you will remember when you daven musaf on Rosh Chodesh in all the coming months.  "Roshei chodashim l'amcha nasata...  s'i'rei chatas l'chapeir b'adam..."  Nebach, what can we do -- need korbanos, we need the korban of Rosh Chodesh, to bring us kaparah.  However, "mizbeiyach chadash b'Tzion tachin..." we will one day have a complete geulah and we will return to the ideal state where we won't need constant kaparah.  When that happens, "... u's'i'rei Rosh Chodesh na'aseh l'ratzon" -- we will offer the korban not to atone, but "l'ratzon," simply to come closer to Hashem, for the sake of ritzuy, to increase our favor in G-d's eyes.

1 comment:

  1. the sinlessness of am Yisrael would bitul the old altar awaiting the old chatas of Rosh Chodesh, so beis din will switch* the he-goat for sin to an olah for favor, for kayitz ha'mizbeiyach, on a mizbeiyach chadash-- this discretionary power of the court (together with beis din's power to decide a new moon) will make each Rosh Chodesh Israel's all the more (u'b'rashei hadsheiCHEM, Bam. 28:11)

    *can not the beis din effect this change (the knife used for slaughter..., Zevachim 6b)? and though the rabbis decreed achar kaparah atu lifnei kaparah (Shavuos 12a), we speak here of achar geulah, not lifnei