As Hashem describes the Kedusha which would surround the Mikdash where the Shechina would rest, there is a clear Tziva and change in the manner in which Korbonos were to be brought.  Until now, discretionary Korbonos could be brought anywhere at any time on what was referred to as a “Bama”.   These makeshift alters were the accepted way to bring a Korbon until such time as the Mishkan found a fixed place in Shilo.  From that point on and certainly with the building of the Beis Hamikdash, we were instructed that Korbonos could only be brought in the Mishkan or Beis Hamikdash.  What was significant about entering Eretz Yisroel that such a change was deemed necessary?  If Bama’s were good enough for Adam, Hevel, Noach, Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov and  Klal Yisroel in the midbar, why must Bnei Yisroel now bring their Korbonos to this fixed location?

The greatest challenge which would face Klal Yisroel once they entered the land was maintaining their Achdus.  When being attacked by Amalek and fighting wars with Sichon etc., it was much easier to understand it was “us against them”.  Once an enduring Malchus was formed, it was much easier to argue over who and what was most important.  Indeed, we saw precisely such infighting in the succession to various Kings and among the Shevatim in general.  By ordaining that all Korbonos would have to be brought in one place it guaranteed that at least semi-frequently Klal Yisroel would have to appreciate the value of each Jew.  Consider that bringing a Korbon automatically meant enlisting the Kohen to Shecht the Korbon, listening to the Leveyim sing Shira and do everything necessary to maintain this special house of Hashem.  It also meant arranging for overnight lodging at the house or inn of a fellow Jew.  This was perhaps Hashem’s way of helping us cultivate this necessary sense of achdus.

When I shared this idea with my mother, she posited another possibility which imparts another important lesson.  My mother points to the various minhagim which developed and indeed preserved Klal Yisroel through the extended Galus.  If Bama’s were the norm, one can only imagine the divergent traditions which would have evolved in the Arba Kanfos HaAretz.  Today we have “Chasidish” shechita and others where the knife and method of shechting can vary.  Imagine what would have occurred if individual Korbonos were the norm.  Does one play Mordechai Ben David or Klezemer when Shechting?  Should we dance as a group or family or perhaps only while maintaining social distancing and wearing masks.[1]   Or even having Bama’s sponsored this week by the _____ family.  By restricting Korbonos to Hashem’s house it ensured a level of uniformity in our Avodas Hashem.  As great and needed as minhagim were and are, there is no truer or higher method of our Avoda than what we do as an Am.  One need only harken back to Machtzis Hashekel to see Hashem’s love for all of us doing things the same way.  We all come from different places, doing different things by day but all recognize that Hashem’s Torah instructs how to do our Avodah.  As an Am.  Each of us exactly the same. 

[1] It’s only a matter of time before today’s preschoolers assume that the “new normal” is in fact the way things have always been