I think it is very bold for the author to want you to share credit for Jewish progress (by planning ahead and not acting irrationally in that you stopped offering animal sacrifices [but really only because there is no temple at present or you would probably still be offering them?] ). God always says "I brought you out... I gave you... I will bring you... I will give you..." Do you think it really has anything to do with the fact that the Jewish people now act rationally (and it must be so because they've "moved beyond offering animal sacrifices?") I don' think Moses would have ever taken any credit for making it to the promised land. Can you imagine him saying, "There it is, I see it - the promised land. Now, Joshua, we've acted brilliantly in making it this far. You guys go on and do as we've been doing... plan ahead and act rationally." They did no planning ahead, God led them every step of the way. When they did act rationally and try to plan ahead it always ended miserably. They had to rely on God completely (and irrationally). I'm very surprised the author barely acknowledges Divine providence in the article.The world’s greatest civilizations have all, in time, become extinct while Judaism has always survived. In one sense that was surely Divine providence. But in another it was the foresight of people like Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai who resisted cognitive breakdown, created solutions today for the problems of tomorrow, who did not seek refuge in the irrational, and who quietly built the Jewish future.
When a temple is rebuilt will you still feel that God is fine with offerings by mind, heart and deed or will that change again? See, I think you also understand that God would rather we offer of ourselves righteous thoughts, prayers and deeds than for us to have to offer sacrifices for sin. And we should do those things. And if we always and only did those things a blood sacrifice would never be necessary. However, because we do also sin (even unintentionally), a blood sacrifice is necessary. Lev 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makethan atonement for the soul.
As you know, Christians believe Jesus was the sacrifice that the previous sacrifices had foreshadowed and symbolized. So, it's not really that we've moved beyond animal sacrifices, it's just that we understand that which they foreshadowed/symbolized has now been sacrificed and no other sacrifice is necessary (except perhaps as a memorial in the future temple).
I find it very interesting that you will accept these solutions:
But you won't accept that the unblemished lamb was symbolic of the Ultimate unblemished Sacrifice, Jesus? That may seem irrational, but so is thinking that because "going without food diminished a person’s fat and blood, it counted as a substitute for the fat and blood of a sacrifice."Since going without food diminished a person’s fat and blood, it counted as a substitute for the fat and blood of a sacrifice (Berachot 17a). A sixth was hospitality. “As long as the Temple stood, the altar atoned for Israel, but now a person’s table atones for him” (Berachot 55a)."
The Sages interpreted Malachi’s words (1:11), “In every place offerings are presented to My name,” as referring to scholars who study the laws of sacrifice (Menachot 100a). “One who recites the order of sacrifices is as if he had brought them” (Ta’anit 27b).
Hosea had said, “Take words with you and return to the Lord … We will offer our lips as sacrifices of bulls” (Hosea 14:2-3), implying that words could take the place of sacrifice. “He who prays in the house of prayer is as if he brought a pure oblation” (Yerushalmi Berachot).
Yet another was teshuvah. Psalms (51:19) says, “The sacrifices of God are a contrite spirit.” From this the sages inferred that “if a person repents it is accounted to him as if he had gone up to Jerusalem and built the Temple and the altar, and offered on it all the sacrifices ordained in the Torah” (Vayikra Rabbah 7:2).