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Section: Parshas HaShavua   Category: Quick Vort
Parshas Vayikra: Rambam And Ramban On Why We Bring Korbanos
The Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim writes that the reason we slaughter animals as an avodah for Hashem is to counteract the influence and the practice of the Mitzrim and Kasdim who worshipped animals.  This would provide a kapara for this aveira and cure the evil ways of these nations, since all diseases are only cured by doing the exact opposite of the disease.

The Ramban, in a very strong language, dismisses the Rambam's opinion.  "Do we make Hashem's table disgusting in order to change the hearts of the wicked and foolish people in the world?  The pasuk calls Korbanos, "Lechem Isheh Rei'ach Nichoach La'Shem!"  Furthermore we see that Hevel brought a Korban and Hashem accepted it.  Noach brought a Korban and because of it Hashem promised never to bring another Mabul.  Both Noach and Hevel were alone in the world, what influences were they counteracting?  Bilam brought Korbanos to appease Hashem.  Surely he meant no evil to the animal worshiping nations.  "Chalila" says the Ramban to think that there is no intrinsic worship of Hashem from Korbanos.

The Ramban says that there is a deep secret to the avodah of the Korbanos and he writes about it at length for those capable of grasping these ideas.  However he also gives another pshat and explains that a person's capability lies in three areas, thoughts, speech, and actions.  When a person does an aveira he must purify all of these.  Through the Korban he can accomplish this.  Smicha, leaning on the Korban is the ma'aseh.  Then Viduy is said on the aveira and that is the speech.  The thought is when each part of the animal is burned the owner of the Korban should think that whatever is happening to the korban should really be happening to him.  This is the meaning of a Korban and true Avodas Hashem, says the Ramban.
RELATED ARTICLES:korban  Moreh Nevuchim  Parshas Vayikra  Ramban

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