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Rambam writes that the purpose of the beis hamikdash is specifically for offering sacrifices and for pilgrimages (Sefer Hamitzvos: Shoresh 12):

שיהיה לנו בית מוכן יבאו אליו ויחוגי בו ובו תהיה ההקרבה ובו יהיה הקבוץ במועדים

He implies as much elsewhere as well (sefer Hamitzvos pos. 20 (with a slight twist), Hil. Beis Hab'chira 1:1)

Two question:

A) What is his source that these particular purposes are the primary purposes for which we are commanded to build it?

B) Why doesn't he mention it as a place of prayer as God refers the (future) beis hamikdash as a place of prayer (Isaiah 56:7)

כִּי בֵיתִי בֵּית תְּפִלָּה יִקָּרֵא לְכָל הָעַמִּים


Please cite sources.

  • 1
    Regarding B at least, that's a quote taken out of context. The full quote makes clear that this is a future messianic event. When "I will bring them to my Holy Mountain (Jerusalem)" is when the Beis Hamikdash will be transformed into a "place of prayer for all the nations." Also, keep in mind that the Rambam's definition of prayer involves more than just what we typically label as such. And for A, the commandment is to have a mishkan/mikdash to fulfill the connected korbanot. I think you're mixing things up here... – Isaac Kotlicky Feb 20 '15 at 1:13
  • @IsaacKotlicky you are right. I will edit accordingly. – mevaqesh Feb 20 '15 at 1:19
  • For the latter point, I think that mentioning how other people/nations will use the Beis Hamikdash in the future is outside the scope of what he's trying to accomplish - namely a clear and clean description of halacha. Rambam states what we must do, irrespective of how other people will or won't act. Whether people from other nations come to pray in the Beis Hamikdash is immaterial to our obligations there. – Isaac Kotlicky Feb 20 '15 at 12:40

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