Let us begin with a better understanding of the role of the Beis Hamikdosh itself. Why is such a fuss made of its destruction and its imminent restoration? After all, a building is a building. And isn’t it true that Judaism never put such an emphasis on shrines?
Furthermore, why do we grieve for the destruction of the Temple when it would be more appropriate to mourn the loss of millions of Jewish lives throughout our history? And if G-d is everywhere, why does He need a Temple?
The Beis Hamikdosh was obviously more than just a building. It was the place on earth through which the presence of G-d was radiated to the entire world, much as the brain is the place which generates the soul’s energy to the entire body.1
When the Beis Hamikdosh was destroyed, it meant the withdrawal of G-d’s presence from the consciousness of the entire world. As a result, people became less spiritually sensitive. This loss of sensitivity led people to commit more crimes.
The death of millions and the degradation of the Jews were all the inevitable result of the removal of the medium through which G-dliness was channeled into the world.
Our hope for the restoration of the Beis Hamikdosh and incidentally the reason why we cannot do it ourselves without Moshiach2 is not for the mere reconstruction of a magnificent edifice, but to facilitate G-d’s “return” into the consciousness of the world.
An animal (as everything else in existence), is here to be elevated to a higher sphere of life. Utilizing the animal for a higher spiritual purpose can do this. The consumption of meat by humans, although a physical act and process, inasmuch as it leads to better health and vigor, and our ability to do good deeds, helps to elevate the animal to a higher G-dly sphere. However, the effects are limited to the particular animal, time and degree of spirituality of the individual who eats the meat.
The offering of a sacrifice in the Temple, the place where G-dly energy is dispersed to the entire world and where the G-dly energy is most potent, is the ultimate act of elevation, whereby every animal in the world is elevated to the very highest and most sublime G-dly levels.
1. See Tanya, Ch. 51-53.
2. Maimonides, Hilchot Melachim 11:1,4.