Notwithstanding the importance of studying the laws of sacrifices, ever since the destruction of the holy second Beis HaMikdash, these laws, for the most part, have been neglected. The books containing these laws have not been opened and have been gathering dust.
The reason? Simple. People would rather study things that are “practical” and that they could relate to.
There was one great man, who lived in Egypt over 800 years ago, and he decided to take action. This venerable sage, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, known to all as the Rambam, wrote a commentary to the Mishnah, and decided to dedicate much of his commentary to explain all about Korbanos. He did this in his commentary on the fifth order of the Mishnah, called Seder Kodshim.
From the words he wrote in his introduction, we see how passionate the Rambam was about this subject:
Permit me to talk about a subject dear to my heart: the Korbanos. The laws of sacrifices have been lost and forgotten, slipping away from our order of learning. The obvious reason for this is because these Mitzvos are not applicable in our time, for we do not have a Beis HaMikdash with an altar on which to offer Korbanos.
Sadly, nobody is even interested in this subject, with the exception of a few unique individuals. The laws of Korbanos are ignored to such an extent that when it comes to understanding them, the great Torah scholars know just as much as the ignorant – absolutely nothing! Most people don’t even understand the many verses in the Torah which speak about Korbanos!
Rambam, Peirush HaMishnayos, Introduction to Seder Kodshim
And that’s not all!
The most famous work of the Rambam is his 14 volume book called Mishneh Torah. He began writing it in 1167, after arriving in Egypt, and shortly after completing his commentary to the Mishnah. Knowing how important the study of Korbanos was to the Rambam, it’s not surprising that two out of the 14 books in Mishneh Torah deal with Korbanos – the first one is called Sefer Avodah and the next one, Sefer Korbanos.
The Rambam was not the first person to write a commentary to the Mishnah.
However, the Rambam was the first to write a commentary on the entire 6 books of the Mishnah, including the fifth order, Seder Kodshim. The other commentators wanted to focus on the other books, which dealt with the “practical” laws.