By: Rabbi Ari Enkin
The korbanot are a vital component of the Shacharit service and it is only the korbanot that the Shulchan Aruch twice instructs us to recite. As such, there is no room to suggest that the recitation of korbanot is merely a custom or a meritorious practice. At the very least, one should recite the ‘Tamid’.
One who properly recites korbanot is regarded as one who had actually offered them in the Beit Hamikdash and all of one’s sins are forgiven. Furthermore, it is taught that one who recites the entire korbanot section, including the accompanying mishnayot, assists in destroying the powers of impurity in the world. The recitation of the Ketoret, the incense component of the korbanot, is reputed to serve as a segula for many blessings.
It is especially important to recite the korbanot each day as the actual liturgy makes no mention of them. As such, perhaps one can forgo the recitation of the Mussaf korbanot as unlike Shacharit or Mincha, the Mussaf prayer includes the corresponding scriptural verses. Indeed, there exists a custom based on Kabbala to never recite the Mussaf korbanot passages. According to some sources, one who does not recite the korbanot has not created the necessary spiritual pipeline required for one’s prayers to effectively ascend to God. One who was unable to recite the korbanot before praying may do so afterwards.
The korbanot of Shacharit should not be recited while it is still night, as in the Beit Hamikdash the korbanot could not have been brought before the crack of dawn. However, if one did recite it before dawn, it need not be repeated. It is preferable that one recite the korbanot while standing, similar to the korbanot of the Beit Hamikdash which had to be offered while standing. Some authorities recommend that only Kohanim need stand when reciting the korbanot, but that all others need not be particular about this. There is also a view that the korbanot of Shacharit should be recited standing while those of Mincha can be recited while sitting. Some say that the korbanot should always be recited while sitting as it is essentailly more of a Torah study than a prayer.
It is preferable for one to recite the korbanot in the synagogue along with everyone else which symbolizes and recalls the communal nature of the korbanot in the Beit Hamikdash. Common custom is to be wearing one’s Tallit and Tefillin when reciting the korbanot, though some have the custom to only put them on immediately prior to Pesukei d’Zimra. Women are not required to recite the korbanot, though there are some authorities who encourage them to do so.
It is a matter of debate whether or not sacrifices will return in the Messianic era. It seems that the halachic literature supports the notion that korbanot will once again return while the Midrashic texts seem to suggest that there will be no animal sacrifices in the future. Rav Kook was famous for his opinion that only grain sacrifices will be offered in the future. Although the future of korbanot is uncertain, what is certain however is that a life of prayer and good deeds have the ability to accomplish everything that that korbanot were able to and much more.
 O.C. 48:1
 O.C. 1:7-9
 Shulchan Aruch Harav O.C. 48:1
 Ta’anit 27b, Menachot 110a, Aruch Hashulchan 48:1
 Piskei Teshuvot 1:note 4
 The recitation of Ketoret, especially when recited from a parchment written in Torah script is cited by a number of sources as a segula for: eliminating sickness, saving the nation from foreign aggression., blessing in one’s work, saving one from Hell, warding off Evil Spirits, inheriting the World-to-Come, granting one favor in the eyes of others, and becoming wealthy.
 Piskei Teshuvot 48:note 1, Kaf Hachaim 48:6
 Kaf Hachaim 48:6
 Piskei Teshuvot 48:1
 Shraga Hameir 7:132
 O.C. 1:6, Mishna Berura 1:17, Aruch Hashulchan 1:25, 48:1
 Piskei Teshuvot 48:note 32
 Magen Avraham 48:1, Kaf Hachaim 48:2
 Aruch Hashulchan 1:26
 Siddur Ya’avetz
 Kaf Hachaim 48:2, Sha’arei Teshuva 48:1, Aruch Hashulchan 1:26
 Rema O.C. 48:1, Be’er Heitev 48:1
 Sefer Haminhagim Chabad
 Beit Yosef 47
 It is interesting to note that according to the Rambam, sacrifices were only implemented in order to imitate the foreign style of worship that the Jews had become accustomed to while in Egypt. Therefore, God arranged it, so to speak, that the Jewish people would be able to serve Him in a familiar manner. As such, considering that animal sacrifices are no longer a feature of daily religious worship in most of the world, it is conceivable to suggest that God will do away with korbanot in the Messianic Era. (Rambam, Moreh Nevuchim 3:46). Other authorities vehemently disagree with this hypothesis however. (Ramban, Vayikra 1:9)
 Rambam Melachim 11:1
 Vayikra Rabba 9:7, Tanchuma Emor 19
 See however: http://www.geocities.com/m_yericho/ravkook/VAYIKRA58.htm for more on Rabbi Kook’s approach to korbanot in the future
 Avot D’rabbi Natan 4:5, Sukka 49a
 Menachot 110a