03 Dec, 2020
JERUSALEM WEATHER

Last month, the Sanhedrin tasked Shimshon Elboim, head of the Temple Mount Organizations, with preparing the way for the korban Pesach (Passover sacrifice) to be performed in its proper place, the Temple Mount, and in its Biblically mandated time, Wednesday afternoon, the eve of the Passover feast. All of the practical arrangements were made and the kohanim (Jewish men descended for Aaron the High Priest) stood ready. 

Elboim forwarded a formal request from the Sanhedrin to Prime Minister Netanyahu who requested that Gilad Erdan, the Internal Security Minister, decide the issue. In addition to security concerns based on the potential for Muslim violence on the Temple Mount, Israel is currently shut down due to the coronavirus epidemic. Unfortunately, the request to perform the Passover service was denied. 

In light of the growing demand by the Israeli public, several major Israeli rabbis ruled on the subject and for the first time ruled that it was now permissible to begin the Passover Temple service. As a result of that ruling, the rabbis sent a letter to the Prime Minister requesting that he allow the korban Pesach to take place.

The Sanhedrin emphasized that the plan to bring the altar to the Temple Mount was entirely consistent with President Trump’s recently released Deal of the Century which recognized Israel’s full sovereignty over the site. 

“People of every faith should be permitted to pray on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, in a manner that is fully respectful to their religion, taking into account the times of each religion’s prayers and holidays, as well as other religious factors” the text of the deal reads.

The Sanhedrin recently performed an intense study concerning the current status of the Passover offering and concluded that at this juncture, one sacrifice made at the Temple Mount brought in the name of the entire Jewish people would suffice. 

Towards this end, they opened a website in which Jews could donate money to purchase a subscription to the sacrifice. The fund was intended as a practical method of creating a communal sacrifice.

Rabbi Kanievsky blesses korban Pesach (Photo via Shimshon Elboim)

This year, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, one of Israel’s most prominent and respected rabbis, purchased a subscription, thereby giving his tacit support for the reinstitution of the Temple service. Before the holiday, Rabbi Yehudah Glick, a former Likud Knesset member and Temple Mount activist, brought a lamb that would serve as the sacrifice to be blessed by Rabbi Kanievsky.

The effort has also been endorsed by Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the  Chief Rabbi of Safed and a member of the Chief Rabbinate Council, the rabbinical judge Rabbi Benayhu Brunner, Rabbi Gur Galon, and Rabbi Menachem Makover.

In a letter to the prime minister and ministers, the rabbis wrote that they are formally requesting  “to open the place of the Temple to any Jew who

wishes to observe the Passover mitzvah as commanded in the Bible, on the eve of the feast of unleavened bread.”

“We hereby appeal to all who are able to act and act for renewal of the Temple service in general, and the Passover offering in particular.”

Letter from Rabbis asking Netanyahu to allow Temple Service (Photo via Shimshon Elboim)

In the letter to the Prime Minister, the rabbis noted that the Pesach offering has special significance as there are only two mitzvot (Biblical commandments) for which non-compliance receives the most severe punishment mandated by the Torah, karet (being cut off from the community, or excommunicated): brit milah (circumcision) and the korban Pesach .

The rabbis also refer to the Corona epidemic and make it clear that “in a compulsory and more intensive way, we will endeavor to do so this year, in the face of the terrible epidemic.”

In their letter, the rabbis emphasized that the korban Pesach and the Temple service were a means of stopping plagues. For this reason, the decision to begin the Temple service would benefit the entire world in this time of a pandemic

“We know that it is in the power of the Temple service to remove God’s anger from Israel,” the rabbis wrote. “The merit of this mitzvah will save all involved from all tribulation, affliction, and disease, just as the first Passover offering in Egypt protected Israel from the Angel of Death.”

The request is to enforce equal freedom to all religions on the Temple Mount as legislated by Israeli and international law. Muslims are currently afforded free and unlimited access to the Temple Mount. Small groups of Jews are only permitted to enter the compound during restricted hours via one gate, and only after rigorous background and security checks. Once in the compound, Jews must follow a set route and are only permitted to stand in place for a few minutes at a time. Jews are not permitted to eat or drink and the water fountains at the site are for the exclusive use of Muslims.

The Sanhedrin emphasized that the plan to bring the altar to the Temple Mount was entirely consistent with President Trump’s recently released Deal of the Century which recognized Israel’s full sovereignty over the site.

“People of every faith should be permitted to pray on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, in a manner that is fully respectful to their religion, taking into account the times of each religion’s prayers and holidays, as well as other religious factors” the text of the deal reads.