The Midrash says that, in the messianic age, all sacrifices will be discontinued, except for the thanksgiving offering. רַבִּי פִּנְחָס וְרַבִּי לֵוִי וְרַבִּי יוֹחָנָן בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי מְנַחֵם דְּגַלְיָא, לֶעָתִיד לָבוֹא כָּל הַקָּרְבָּנוֹת בְּטֵלִין וְקָרְבַּן תּוֹדָה אֵינוֹ בָּטֵל [Vayikra Rabbah 9:7]

But the Rambam says: The King Messiah … will build the Holy Temple and gather the dispersed of Israel, and reinstate all the laws of the Torah as before. The sacrifices will be offered, and the Sabbatical year and the Jubilee year will be instituted as outlined in the Torah. [Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings 11-12]

So, what is the mainline thinking about sacrifices in the Messianic Age?


3 Answers 3


There certainly will be karbanos in the Messianic age. Our prayers are full of the expectation that we shall sacrifice karbanos upon the end of the Exile with the rebuilding of the beis hamikdash. For example, we pray in Musaf:

יְהִי רָצון מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה' אֱלהֵינוּ וֵאלהֵי אֲבותֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ רַחֲמָן שֶׁתָּשׁוּב וּתְרַחֵם עָלֵינוּ וְעַל מִקְדָּשְׁךָ בְּרַחֲמֶיךָ הָרַבִּים וְתִבְנֵהוּ מְהֵרָה וּתְגַדֵּל כְּבודו אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ. גַּלֵּה כְּבוד מַלְכוּתְךָ עָלֵינוּ מְהֵרָה וְהופַע וְהִנָּשא עָלֵינוּ לְעֵינֵי כָּל חָי וְקָרֵב פְּזוּרֵינוּ מִבֵּין הַגּויִם וּנְפוּצותֵינוּ כַּנֵּס מִיַּרְכְּתֵי אָרֶץ וַהֲבִיאֵנוּ לְצִיּון עִירְךָ בְּרִנָּה וְלִירוּשָׁלַיִם בֵּית מִקְדָּשְׁךָ בְּשמְחַת עולָם וְשָׁם נַעֲשה לְפָנֶיךָ אֶת קָרְבְּנות חובותֵינוּ תְּמִידִים כְּסִדְרָם וּמוּסָפִים כְּהִלְכָתָם:

Not only will we sacrifice the timely tamid and mussaf offerings, but we will also bring chatas offerings to atone for our sins. The Gemara (Shabbos 12b) relates about R' Yishmoel ben Elisha who inadvertently desecrated Shabbos, and wrote a record of his sin to bring a chatas upon the rebuilding of the temple.

קרא והטה, וכתב על פנקסו, אני ישמעאל בן אלישע קריתי והטיתי נר בשבת לכשיבנה בית המקדש אביא חטאת שמנה

The Gemara specifically discusses the Messianic age, and according to most interpretations, it is implied that sacrifices will be relevant then (Zevachim 45b).

When the Gemara posed a halachic question about an intricacy in the laws of pigul, the Gemara responded with 'הילכתא למשיחא' - are you asking questions about something only relevant with the coming of Mashiach?

There are numerous explanations to this passage in the Gemara - primarily Rashi, who explains that although these laws will be relevant with the coming of Mashiach, the Gemara still doesn't discuss these laws.

Tosfos cites R' Chaim who explains that the Gemara refers specifically to laws with circumstances based on sin.

והר"ר חיים מפרש דלא פריך הלכתא למשיחא אלא היכא דאיכא תרתי שהוא למשיחא וגם עושה איסור דליכא נפקותא בהלכתא אלא על ידי איסור לא שייך לפסוק למשיחא

Tosfos Yeshanim (Yuma 13a) and Ritva add an explanation to this qualification.

דלא פריך תלמודא הלכתא למשיחא אלא בדבר שיש בידו עבירה ולא תנהוג לימות המשיח כדכתיב ועמך כולם צדיקים

According to this interpretation, the Gemara has no reason to codify laws based on sin in the Messianic age, for there will be no sin. However, the general laws of karbanot will be relevant.

This is explicit in the Rambam (Melachim 11:1):

המלך המשיח עתיד לעמוד ולהחזיר מלכות דוד ליושנה לממשלה הראשונה ובונה המקדש ומקבץ נדחי ישראל וחוזרין כל המשפטים בימיו כשהיו מקודם מקריבין קרבנות ועושין שמטין ויובלות ככל מצותה האמורה בתורה


Yes, and there's no contradiction:

All the relevant [for the WTC] sacrifices will be reinstated, as in the WTC there will be no sinning, no sacrifices resulting in sinning will be brought (like Asham).

  • 2
    That’s the usual abbreviation for ‘World Trade Center’; just sayin’. Also, World To Come is not when OP asked about.
    – Oliver
    Jan 30, 2019 at 19:02
  • What about the vast majority of korbanos which are not brought due to sins?
    – user6591
    Jan 31, 2019 at 0:20
  • What about all the korbanot people prayed that they would bring when the Temple is rebuilt? And the Korban of all Gerim that was never brought to complete their conversion? Mar 1, 2019 at 21:27
  • @YaacovDeane I think I was clear consolidating the two approaches, your examples fall under the first category and I don't see any problem in sacrificing Nedavot. I only claimed that no sin-related Korbanot will be reinstated as there'll be no sin.
    – Al Berko
    Mar 2, 2019 at 17:22
  • @AlBerko You seem to be confusing the term “עולם הבא” with “ימות המשיח”. See the הכל יודוך prayer said after Barchu on Shabbat for clarification. TWC, as you call it, is a generic term which refers to one of two specific ideas, the World of Souls (עולם הנשמות) which one enters after death in this world (עולם הזה), or the most commonly used meaning referring to after the resurrection of the dead. The לעתיד לבא used in the question is referring specifically to the Days of Moshiach. Mar 3, 2019 at 17:26

In light of my previous answer, sacrifices will certainly be relevant in the Messianic age. How to reconcile this with the Midrash quoted in the question?

Avudraham (Shaar Sheni, Tikun Tefilla) understands this Midrash to be referring to karbanos which are brought due to sin. Although the korban chatas and asham will still be relevant for sins committed prior to this era, at that point sin will be obliterated and there will be no new obligations to bring sin offerings.

ופירש החכם ר' דוד קמחי שרצה לומר באמרו כי התפלות בטלות שלא יצטרכו לשאול צרכי העולם הזה כי בטובה גדולה יהיו כל הימים. ואין להם אלא שבח והודאה לשם ית' וכן לא יהיו חוטאים לעתיד לבא ואז לא יצטרכו לקרבן חטאת ואשם כי אם קרבן תודה שאינו בא על חטאת

Accordingly, the generalization 'כל הקרבנות' must be referring to personal sacrifices - the tamid and mussaf and other communal sacrifices will still be relevant. [Essentially similar to this answer from @AlBerko, although I don't think the 'כל' refers to 'relevant' sacrifices as he suggests, and the 'חוץ' doesn't quite work either.]

Alternatively, as mentioned in numerous comments [@Shmu, @YaacovDeane], the period of לעתיד לבא is not necessarily referring to the Messianic Age. See, for example, Sanhedrin 99a which differentiates between the two times. [See here]

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