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Why don't Jews sacrifice animals anymore?

From my reading of the Bible I understand that animal sacrifice was used to atone for one's sins.

Is this still practiced in modern times? And if it is, does it hold the same meaning and significance or have there been some changes in its theology over the past 2000 years?

  • 1
    By "blood offerings," you are referring to the blood of sacrifices, and not of people, right? "Don't cut yourselves" (Deu. 14:1)
    – b a
    Aug 16, 2012 at 17:07
  • @ba Correct I'm referring to animal blood only. Aug 16, 2012 at 17:08
  • I've edited it to clarify. @MonikaMichael, just so you are aware, there has long been something known as the "blood libel", which is an antisemitic claim that Jews use human blood (especially children's blood) for ritualistic purposes, and which has been used for centuries to justify killing Jews.
    – Seth J
    Aug 16, 2012 at 17:17
  • Dup? judaism.stackexchange.com/q/8862/472 (h/t Shalom below) Aug 16, 2012 at 17:44
  • @MonicaCellio Agreed. You can close this one. Aug 16, 2012 at 17:51

1 Answer 1


Since (approximately) the destruction of the second temple sacrifices have ceased. Even prior to that, there was no sine qua non nature to animal blood as it relates to atonement. Biblically, only a small selection of sins could be atoned for via sacrifice, and even those could be removed through other means. We take our cue from Hosea 14:3 (some have it as verse 2) where the words of our lips (prayer, and especially the verbal recitation of the sacrificial order) substitute for the actual sacrifice.

The actual requirements for repentance go far beyond a simple sacrifice even when a sacrifice is efficacious. Regret, recompense, confession, an acceptance of blame, a decision not to repeat the action are all necessary elements to a full repentance.

  • You just need to add that all of the sacrifices in the world mean nothing if the person doesn't also do teshuva -- show regret, resolve not to repeat the sin, and put in place measures to not repeat the sin.
    – Chanoch
    Aug 16, 2012 at 17:06
  • hope that's better.
    – rosends
    Aug 16, 2012 at 17:10
  • @Dan My followup question would be why these have been stopped. The temple is no longer there but these sacrifices were being offered before the temple was built. Aug 16, 2012 at 17:10
  • @MonikaMichael, see judaism.stackexchange.com/a/8876/21 and judaism.stackexchange.com/a/10178/21 and
    – Shalom
    Aug 16, 2012 at 17:17
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    the sacrifices were required under 2 conditions: a location delineated by god (and personal sites were invalidated with the building of a central temple, which was destroyed) and a certain type of spiritual purity (which we lack now that we have no red heifer to cleanse.)
    – rosends
    Aug 16, 2012 at 17:17

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