The Sacrificial System
By Richard Sison | 2016
Contrary to popular belief, the purpose of qorbanot (the sacrifices and offerings) is not simply to obtain forgiveness from sins committed. The purposes of qorbanot are pretty much the same as that of prayer. We offer qorbanot to praise G-d, to become closer to Him, to express our love and gratitude to Him. We also bring qorbanot to celebrate holidays and Feasts. Others are used to cleanse a person of ritual impurity, which does not necessarily have anything to do with sin. Many qorbanot, like many prayers, are brought for purposes of atonement.
However, the atoning aspect of sacrifices is limited. For the most part, it only expiate unintentional sins, that is, sins committed because a person forgot that this thing was a sin. No atonement is needed for violations committed under duress or through lack of knowledge, and for the most part, sacrifices cannot atone for a malicious, deliberate sin. In addition, qorbanot or sacrifices have no expiating effect unless the person making the offering truly repents from his actions before making the offering, and makes restitution to any person who was harmed by his transgression. Yeshua reflected this teaching in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:24).
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