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Sacrifice and Worship of God in Rabbinic Thought after the Destruction of the Temple / עבודת הקרבנות בהגות חז"ל שלאחר חורבן בית-המקדש

נפתלי גולדשטיין and Naftali Goldstein
Daat: A Journal of Jewish Philosophy & Kabbalah / דעת: כתב-עת לפילוסופיה יהודית וקבלה
No. 8 (חורף תשמ"ב), pp. 29-51
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24178949
Page Count: 23
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Sacrifice and Worship of God in Rabbinic Thought after the Destruction of the Temple / עבודת הקרבנות בהגות חז"ל שלאחר חורבן בית-המקדש
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Abstract

The cessation of the sacrifices in the Temple services after the destruction affected Rabbinic thought in 3 primary directions: 1) Promulgating a kind of "sacrifices" by thought and speech in place of the actual one, viz. studying the laws of sacrifices and reading the Biblical verses concerning the same. 2) The idea expressed by mystics that the sacrifices have in fact not ceased but continue to be offered by the angels on Heavenly Altar. (Comparison with some apocryphal sources, e.g. Test, of Levi 111, makes it clear that the sages tend rather to degrade the importance of such descriptions). 3) Stressing the value of various alternatives, which were also to be considered "service of God" and would achieve atonement for sining. Whereas the first two trains of thought are rooted to the ideal of the sacrifices and continue to contemplate and deal with them, the latter led to the development of various forms of worshipping God not dependent on the Temple and sacrifices. This process was accomplished by increasing the relative importance of other forms of worship which had existed previously side by side with the sacrifices, and also by imbuing certain actions and commandments with a ritual character or by increasing the ritual component which they already possessed to a lesser extent. Every one of the functions presented by the Sages as a "replacement" to sacrifices contained some of the ideological principles contained in them. Against this background, the principal "alternatives" to sacrifice appearing, in Rabbinical literature are discussed in detail.

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