The seventh annual reenactment of the Pesach (Passover) sacrifice took place on Monday, bringing the Nation of Israel ever closer to the Third Temple than before.
“We can see the Third Temple rising on the horizon,” Shimshon Elboim, one of the organizers of the event, told Breaking Israel News. “It used to be just a small group of activists who showed up, but this year, the Passover sacrifice reenactment went mainstream.”
Approximately 1,500 people, the largest crowd ever, gathered to watch some 20 Kohanim (Jewish men descending from Aaron the Priest) dressed in authentic priestly garments performing the full Passover ceremony as it was in Temple times.
The ceremony was accompanied by blasts from silver horns and other musical accompaniment. Two goats were slaughtered and their blood was collected in silver vessels to be spilled out on a model of the altar. The goats were roasted whole in the manner described in the Torah and served to the Jews gathered to witness the reenactment.
They shall eat the flesh that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs. Exodus 12:8
Mordechai Persoff, head of the Mikdash Educational Center, a non-profit organization for education about the Temple, spoke of the importance in performing the Paschal offering.
“This is the only sacrifice that if a Jew does not bring it, he receives the most severe punishment: Karet, being cut off from the people,” Persoff explained to Breaking Israel News. “Even though it is a personal sacrifice, it is brought as a nation.”
Persoff emphasized that this national aspect of the sacrifice was because the very nature of Passover required a consensus of the Jewish people. He referenced the section of Exodus in which Pharaoh offers to let the Children of Israel go to the desert to serve God as long as the kids remain behind. Moses however, refused.
Persoff said that the reenactment reflected the national aspect of redemption.
“Every branch of Judaism from Secular to Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox), Ashkenazi and Sephardi, young and old, were all at the event.” Persoff said with enthusiasm.
“That is how geula (redemption) happens: when all of Israel comes together. The Temple is, after all, where we get together because it is the source of true peace.”
Monday’s reenactment of the Passover sacrifice was held at the Davidson Center, an archaeological park on the southern wall of the Temple Mount. The park stands at the foot of the stairs where individuals walked up to bring their sacrifices to the Temple.
Reenacting the ‘House of Prayer For All Nations’
In previous years, the organizers received permits to hold the ceremony at this particular location only to have the Israeli police cancel the permit over security concerns. Previous reenactments were therefore held much further away from the Temple Mount.
“Many Arab language media carried threats from the Waqf (Muslim authority) should the Korban Pesach (Passover sacrifice) reenactment take place,” Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman for the nascent Sanhedrin, told Breaking Israel News.
“But the government decided not to give in to the rule of violence. The permit for the event was signed by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, and the police should be praised for their role in helping Jerusalem become a House of Prayer for all Nations.”
Many prominent rabbis attended, including Rabbi Aryeh Stern, the chief rabbi of Jerusalem as well as Rabbi Yehudah Glick, a Member of Knesset in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party and long-time advocate for Jewish rights on the Temple Mount.
Citing Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, the preeminent 11th century French Torah scholar who is known by the acronym, “Rashi,” Rabbi Weiss explained that the return of the Paschal offering is a significant marker in the Jews’ return to Israel
“According to Rashi, the Passover sacrifice was only performed once in the desert,” Rabbi Weiss explained. “Because of its nationalistic nature, it was not offered again until the Jews entered the land of Israel.
“The Jewish return to Israel and the end of exile will not be complete until the Passover sacrifice is reinstated in its proper place and at its proper time.”