What are “Korbanot”?

At the beginning of the Shaharit prayer, there is a section referred to as Korbanot which is recited. This is a generic term for a collection of Torah, Mishna and Gemara passages that discuss different aspects of sacrificial offerings and serve as an introduction to the morning prayer.  The Torah portion which is recited is that which deals with the Tamid offering (“Tzav Et B’nei Israel…”), which was offered every morning (and every afternoon). Following this is a section from the Gemara (Keritut 6a) which discusses the Ketoret, or incense offering. Finally, the fifth chapter of the Mishna in Zevahim, referred to as Ezehu Mekoman (since these are the first words of the chapter) is recited, and this discusses different aspects of the offerings.

It should also be noted that the Shulhan Aruch (O.H. 50:1) says that the reason that the Tamid, Ezehu Mekoman and, later on, the Baraita of Rabbi Yishmael are recited is so that every person is guaranteed the opportunity to learn at least some Torah, Mishna and Gemara every day. Interestingly, the section of of Ezehu Mekoman was chosen for the Mishna portion because this chapter contains no rabbinic disputes and is considered to contain clear Halachot directly from Mount Sinai. If one has limited time, it is preferable to recite the Tamid portion over Ezehu Mekoman or the Baraita.

Even though there is no opportunity to offer sacrifices nowadays, the Midrash (Midrash Rabba, Bamidbar 18) teaches that the recitation of passages which deal with the offerings is akin to actually participating in the sacrificial rituals. Indeed, the Magen Avraham (M.A., O.H. 48:1) says that since the sacrifices were performed standing up, the recitation of these passages should also be done while standing up. Nevertheless, the Mishna Berura (M.B., O.H. 48:1), cites the Sha’are Teshuva, who in turn quotes different Aharonim like the HIDA (Mahzik Beracha), who say that Korbanot are recited while sitting, and this is the common custom.

The Shulhan Aruch (O.H. 48:1) states that that on Shabbat, the verses dealing with the Shabbat Musaf offering (“Uvyom HaShabbat..”) are added to the Tamid portion. On the other hand, the Shulhan Aruch continues, on Rosh Hodesh and Yom Tov, the verses corresponding to those days’ offerings are not added to the recitation of the Tamid since they will be mentioned in the Musaf prayer. The Rama (ibid.) adds that on Rosh Hodesh, the verses for that day’s offerings (“Uvrashe Hodshechem”) are also said. The Kaf HaHaim (K.H., O.H. 48:5) says in the name of the Arizal, that even the verses of Shabbat are not recited, and th HIDA testifies that this was the custom in Israel also.

Nonetheless, Rabbi Moshe Malka (Mikve HaMayim, vol. VI, § 10:2), and Rabbi David Ovadia (Nahagu Ha’am) who cites Rabbi Ya’akov ibn Tzur, both write that the custom in Morocco was to follow the opinion of the Shulhan Aruch and only add on the verses for Shabbat.

Summary: There is great significance to reciting the Korbanot section at the beginning of Shaharit. The Moroccan custom is that on Shabbat the verses pertaining to the Shabbat Musaf offering are added to the Tamid, and all the Korbanot are recited while sitting.