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I seem to recall hearing that the Rambam stated somewhere that animal sacrifices were not necessary from G-d's point of view, but that He decided to institute them because of what the Israelites were used to. Anyone know which text this is or if I've miss attributed it?

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The Rambam writes as much in Moreh Nevochim 3:32. It is slightly expanded upon in 3:46.

As an aside, it should be considered with the Rambam at the end of Hilchos Me'ila, which many understand to be a contradiction to that. (For a brief discussion of this point, see here, although it's far from a complete treatment of the issue.)

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