The Rambam famously believed that sacrifices were given to ween people off idolatry.

Therefore, it can be assumed that when Mashiach comes, there won't be a need for sacrifices. Yet, the Rambam doesn't mention that in the Mishnah Torah.

There are many other places where "rationalistic" Taamei Torah (reasons behind Mitzvos) contradict Halacha.

How are these resolved?

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    Did you mean wean?
    – MTL
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 17:18
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    Rambam in end of Hilchos Me'ila seems to say differently than what he famously believed, in a way which would suggest that it won't become obsolete. Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 17:22
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    Too broad? Isn't every case different?
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 17:39
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    @YEZ how does that comment contradict what he says in the Moreh Nevuchim? In Hil. Meilah he doesn't give any actual explanation, he just says that God's commands are worth studying, thinking about, and finding the reasons for them. The reason might still be that they were made to 'wean' the Jews off of idolatry Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 17:54
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    "rationalistic" I'm not sure what you mean by this. Are you contrasting to "Kabbalistic"? If so then I'm confused because plenty of "Kabbalistic" reasons contradict Halacha too.
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 17:54

2 Answers 2


Rambam In Igeret Teman states that every mitzvah has two 'parts' , or, 'aspects' , the one that benefits you (being away of idolatry, or In forbidden meals there is a health benefit to your body ) , and the part that you are fulfilling the will of god weather that brings your body or mind some physical or spiritual benefit, or not. Rab Elchanan Waserman writes about two aspects in one of his responses in Kovetz Hearot in the section of באורי אגאדות על דרך הפשט . Rambam writes specially about that second aspects in Peirush Hamishnayot in Berachot (don't remember exactly where). So, although is better to know the reasons , we don't need them to fulfill the commandments.


Rambam acknowledges that his reasons for mitzvot might be against the accepted halacha, and he notes that his purpose was not to give reasons according to accepted halacha, but to give reasons based on the Biblical text:

Guide for the Perplexed 3:41

And he who mutilated a limb of his neighbour, must himself lose a limb. "As he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again" (Lev. xxiv. 20). You must not raise an objection from our practice of imposing a fine in such cases. For we have proposed to ourselves to give here the reason for the precepts mentioned in the Law, and not for that which is stated in the Talmud. I have, however, an explanation for the interpretation given in the Talmud, but it will be communicated vivâ voce. (Friedlander translation)

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