Since we are now embarking on Korbanot, and in fact, since the Daf probably is one third about the service in the Beis Hamikdash, could you put together a piece, preferably with sources as well, on the following:
(a) What did the Korbanot accomplish spiritually and how.
(b) How did the different Korbanot accomplish different spiritual ends, i.e. why a Par for this, an Ezim for that, etc.
(c) How does the physical construction of the Mishkan and Betei Mikdashim reflect the spiritual "universe" and/or physical universe.
(d) Why are there so many different combinations of Korbanot, differences in how they are brought, how they are handled, why they are brought.
The Daf extensively argues the details without really getting into this subject matter, which for me, as well as for many others, is the essence of Korbanot.
THanks for all the work ;you put in!
(a) See the Ramban in Parshas Vayikra (1,19), who speaks extensively on this point. See also Sefer Hachinuch (Mitzva 95), who also elaborates.
(b) The Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim (3,46) explains that the Korban is commensurate with the sin: the greater the sin the more degraded is the Korban. Therefore a sheep -which is lesser than a bull or a ram -is offered for a sin of "Kares" done b'Shogeg (inadvertently) e.g. "Chatas" or "Asham".
Similarly each sin is "eaten" by the Altar and the Cohanim in inverse proportion to its severity. For example, the Par brought when all of Klal Yisrael sins is not eaten but burned completely. The Sa'ir ha'Mishtale'ach is not even burnt on the Mizbayach (Altar) but is thrown off a mountain, since it atones for such a great number of sins.
(c) It is quite clear that the structure of the Mishkan (and Mikdash) reflects the form of a face of a person:
1. The Aron being in a concealed place represents the brain/mind. It is the dwelling place of the Shechinah.
2. The Shulchan and the Menorah represent the two eyes (bread "enlightens the eyes"- see Rashi in Parshas Miketz 41:2; when a person is famished he can lose his eyesight, "Bulmos").
3. The Mizbe'ach on which incense is offered represents the nose.
4. The beard surrounds all of the face from the eyes to the nose, which is underlined by the mustache. Similarly the Mishkan itself encompasses all the above parts.
5. Outside, at the door to the Mishkan, is the Mizbe'ach, which corresponds to the mouth and "eats" the korbonos ("Achilas Mizbe'ach"). The entire structure is surrounded by Yeri'os (corresponding to the hair).
There are many "Sodos" (hidden meanings) related to this, I understand.
(d) In the Moreh Nevuchim (3,26) The Rambam writes that anyone who tries to give explanations to all of the Mitzvoth will not be able to explain the reasons for which type of animal or the number of animals, that are offered in each sacrifice. Even if another type or number of animal was offered, we would ask the same question; why this type and this number? Therefore, trying to understanding why the Torah chose this animal and this number is pointless -- after all, it had to give some type and number of animals! The general principle that we can deduce is that we can only give explanations for Mitzvahs in general. The Rambam concludes that we do not know the reasons for the details of each Mitzvah. The Chinuch (that we quoted earlier), also says that with regards to the details of the Korbanos, he has no explanations for the type and number of animals offered on the non-Kabalistic level.
Hope this makes learning Chagigah easier for you, Neil!
Be well, Rabbi Kornfeld
I appreciate the answer and references. To take the discussion a level further: Adam brought a Korbon for his Chet, we find Kayin and Hevel bringing Korbonot. Obviously, there is some very fundamental connection that a Korbon makes in the world, What I am trying to understand is, what is this connection? Why is a Korbon the response of Adam, Kayin, etc, copied by the avodah zaraniks, used by the Avot, B'nai Yisrael, etc. etc.? The whole concept, spiritually (not technically), is elusive? Could you perhaps shed some light here?
The RAMBAN (Vayikra ) which we mentioned in the earlier letter writes about your point at length. He refutes the words of the RAMBAM based on the incidents of Korbanos that you mentioned. The Rambam wrote that the reason why a cow is offered as a Korban is to reject the beliefs of the heretics who used to worship the cow as Avodah Zarah -- but, asks the Ramban, in the times of Kayin there were no idol worshippers yet!
It could be that the Rambam's intention is that the reason why the early generations served cows as their idols is because they viewed cows as their source of sustenance, as the work of cows and what they produce provide much of man's sustenance (as mentioned in Mishlei 14:4). Thus, even in the times of Adam ha'Rishon, it was appropriate to offer a cow as a Korban for this reason, because by offering it as a Korban to Hashem, Adam ha'Rishon would be showing that he has no faith in the cow, but only in Hashem. (In addition, the idol worshippers never offered cows as Korbanos, and when they did, it was only to their "cow-god" with the intention to effect an increase in the power of the cow in the world so that their sustenance would increase.)
Other readers suggested looking in Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch's commentary on the Chumash in Parshas Vayikra for an excellent discussion of the points that you raise.