Will There Be Korbanot (Animal Sacrifices) in the Third Beit HaMikdash?

In this week’s Haftara we read the words from Yishayahu 40:1-2: “Comfort, comfort My people says your God. Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and proclaim to her that her time (of exile) has been fulfilled...”


After a difficult day of mourning for both the First and Second Beit HaMikdash (Temple) we are told that the exile will come to an end. At that point the Third Beit HaMikdash will be built.


Will there be kornabot at the time of the Third Beit HaMikdash?


The Rambam (Maimonides) in The Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Beit HaBechira opens with the words: “It is a positive commandment to make a house for God where we can bring sacrifices.”


Each day, in the Shmoneh Esrei we ask God to restore the sacrifices to the Beit HaMikdash when we recite the words in the 17th Bracha : Retzei- “Be favorable, God towards Your people Israel and their prayer and restore the service to the Holy of Holies of your Temple. The fire-offerings of Israel and their prayer accept with love and favor and may the service of Your people Israel always be favorable to You.”


Rabbi Munk explains that since we don’t have the Beit HaMikdash today, studying about the Korbanot and praying about the Korbanot takes the place of bringing the offerings. However, these are only temporary substitutes and once the Beit HaMikdash is built we will go back to the act itself, we will once again bring the Korbanot.


Ramban (Nachmanides) explains that animal sacrifice is the most meaningful form of Divine service since the transgressor designates an animal, brings it to the Temple, leans on his head and declares: “My intellect failed to control my impulse and I behaved like a senseless beast, not a Godly human being. When I sinned, I resembled the animal upon which I am leaning. I will therefore slaughter this animal to symbolize that in the future I will overcome and slay the animal impulse that attacks me.”


In Moreh Nevuchim, Rambam rationalizes why there are Korbanot in order to help those estranged from Judaism understand their purpose. He explains that the different nations brought sacrifices to different Gods wherever and whenever they wanted while the Jewish people were only commanded to bring them at certain times and in certain places with the supervision of the Kohanim and Leviim. Once the Beit HaMikdash stood, they were only allowed to bring the sacrifices there and the “bamot”, private places where people brought sacrifices were no longer allowed to be used. Rambam explains that the sacrifices are important. However, prayer is more important. He also explains that God does not want sacrifices from people who do not believe in one God and who bring sacrifices to other Gods (a major problem during the time of the prophets). He describes the fact that when B’nai Yisrael left Egypt, they were given the first commandments at Marah- Shabbat and civil laws.  The laws of the Korbanot were only given later and therefore they were of secondary importance.


We see from here that the sacrifices will be restored when we rebuild the Third Beit HaMikdash but prayer will still be more important.


May the Third Beit HaMikdash be rebuilt speedily in our days.