(Apropos of Parshah Terumah, in which the command to build the Mishkan and many of the necessary details are given, the rabbis did not think that the physical act of ritual sacrificing was in itself the highest form of devotion. Neither did they advocate ending sacrifices. They understood sacrifice, based on the prophets, as including something we gave God of ourselves: as needing to be accompanied by ever-increasing justice, kindness and perception of God.)
1. If people repent, it’s as if they’d gone up to Jerusalem, built the Temple and the altars, and offered all the sacrifices ordained in Torah. (Va’Yikrah Rabbah 7:2)
2. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai taught: Torah requires a burnt offering only as penance for sinful meditation of the heart. (Va’Yikrah Rabbah 7:3)
Studying Torah or reciting the laws of sacrifice
1. Whenever they recite the order of sacrifices, I [God] will regard it as if they offered them before Me and I’ll forgive them all their sins (Ta’anit 37b)
2. Rabbi Aha said in the name of Rabbi Hanina ben Pappa: G-d accounts studying the sacrifices as equal to offering them. (Va’Yikrah Rabbah 7:3)
3. One who intends to give wine for the altar should give it to those who devote themselves to learning Torah. (Yoma 71a)
4. If a man entertains a [Torah-] scholar in his house and lets him enjoy his possessions, Scripture accounts it to him as if he had sacrificed the daily burnt-offering. (Berachot 10b)
Words of Prayer
1. “…If a man has a bull, let him offer a bull; if not, let him give a ram, or a lamb, or a pigeon; if he can’t afford even a pigeon, let him bring a handful of flour. And if he doesn’t have even flour, let him bring nothing at all, but come with words of prayer.” (Midrash Tanchumah; Tzav)
2. “And we will render the prayer of our lips in place of the sacrifice of bulls” (Hosea 14:3)
3. “According to the Torah there are two stages to achieving atonement for sins:
a) Personal Teshuvah – i.e. repentance and confession to G-d.
b) Bringing an animal sacrifice.
The former can be done anytime and anywhere, and brings about ample atonement.
The latter can only be practiced in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, and brings about an additional level of atonement.
Thus, when the Temple stood, a physical animal sacrifice complemented and completed personal Teshuvah. Today, now that the Holy Temple is in ruins and we are not permitted to offer animal sacrifices, one still does Teshuvah, only now it is complemented and completed with the spiritual powers of (specific) prayers.” (AskMoses.com)
4. The reward for causing a groom to rejoice [at his wedding] is the same as if one had offered a Todah [thanks-offering] in the Temple (Berachot 6b)
5. “…Whosoever takes the lulav with its binding and the willow-branch with its wreathing is regarded by Scripture as though he had built an altar and offered thereon a sacrifice.” (Sukkah 45a)
6. “…If one consults nature and washes his hands and puts on tefillin and recites the ‘Shema’ and says the tefillah [Amidah], Scripture accounts it to him as if he had built an altar and offered a sacrifice upon it…” (Berachot 15a)
7. “…Prayer is more efficacious than sacrifice…” (Berachot 32b)
1. [Rabbi Joshua saw the ruins of the Temple and said], “Alas! The place where Israel’s sins found atonement is laid waste!” Then said Rabbi Yochanan [b. Zakkai, Rabbi Joshua’s teacher], “Don’t grieve. We have an atonement equal to the Temple – doing kind acts [g’milut chasadim], as it’s said, ‘I desire kindness [chesed], not sacrifice…’ (Hoshea 6:6).” (Avot d’Rabbi Natan)
2. R. Eleazar stated, “Greater is he who gives charity [tzedaka] than [he who offers] all the sacrifices, for it is said, ‘To do charity and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice (Proverbs 21:3)’.” (Sukkah 49b)
1. “When the Temple was in existence, if a man brought a burnt offering, he received credit for a burnt offering; if a meal offering, he received credit for a meal offering; but he who was humble in spirit, Scripture regarded him as though he had brought all the offerings, for it is said, ‘The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit’ (Ps. 51:19).” (Sanhedrin 43b)
2. “If one sanctifies himself with the Holiness of his Creator, even his physical actions come to partake of Holiness. This is illustrated by the eating of sacrificial offerings (itself a mitzvah) in relation to which our Sages of blessed memory have said (Pesachim), ‘The Priests eat and the owners are atoned for’.” (Rabbi Mosheh Chayim Luzzatto, known as the “RaMChaL”)
3. “Note the distinction between one who is Pure and one who is Holy. The earthy actions of the first are necessary ones…he is motivated by necessity alone, so that his actions escape the evil in earthiness and remain pure. But they do not approach Holiness, for it were better if one could get along without them. One who is Holy, however, and clings constantly to his God, his soul traveling in channels of truth, amidst the love and fear of his Creator – such a person is as one walking before God in the Land of the Living, here in this world. Such a person is himself considered a tabernacle, a sanctuary, an altar. As our Sages of blessed memory have said (Bereishith Rabbah 47.8), ” ‘And God went up from him’ (Bereishith 35:13) – ‘The patriarchs are the Divine chariot’ and ‘The righteous are the Divine chariot.’ The Divine Presence dwells with the Holy as it dwelt in the Temple. It follows, then, that the food which they eat is as a sacrifice offered upon the fire. There is no question that what was brought up upon the altar was greatly elevated because of its being sacrificed before the Divine Presence..In the same way, the food and drink of the Holy man is elevated and is considered as if it had…been sacrificed upon the altar. (RaMChaL; Mesillat Yesharim)