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Relearning the Passover Offering

 

This week, on the 10th of Nisan, (April 2), the Temple Institute, in conjunction with other Temple oriented organizations, conducted an afternoon seminar, all about the korban Pesach - Passover offering. Classes were held in which the commandment of the Passover offering, the halacha (laws) surrounding the offering, and the practical application of the performance of the Passover offering in our day, were discussed. Hundreds of interested men, women and children attended the sessions. At 5:00 PM the classes concluded and the audience and the organizers reconvened out of doors, where more than a thousand people had already gathered in anticipation of the day's main event: a live demonstration of the korban Pesach.

Two lambs had already been selected and a shochet, (ritual slaughterer) was present. A small mizbeach, (stone altar) had been constructed for the purpose of the demonstration. Kohanim, (priests), in priestly garments, (provided by the Temple Institute), were also in attendance. The reenactment involved the slaughtering of the lamb, the gathering of its blood in the mizrak vessel designed especiallly for this purpose, and the dashing of the blood by the kohanim against the altar. The lamb was then dressed by the shochet. Organs that would be burned upon the altar in accordance to biblical command, were removed and displayed. The lamb was put on a spit, as it was done during the era of the Holy Temple, and the lamb was roasted in a specially prepared oven, again, as it had been done in Holy Temple days. The meat was distributed to needy families. It was stressed throughout that this was only a demonstraion for educational purposes. This was not a korban Pesach offering, which can only be done at an altar which stands in the precise location of the Holy Temple altar, on the Temple Mount.

The two thousand plus crowd who attended was comprised of people of all stripes - ultra orthodox, modern orthodox, and secular. In truth, it was a cross section of the entire nation of Israel. The interest was so strong and the desire to see the demonstration so intense, that the reenactment couldn't proceed until a "steril area" around the proceedings could be established. Local and overseas, religious and secular media alike were enthusiatically covering the event.

Most astonishing and rewarding was the palpable excitement which filled the air and animated the attendants. This was not your average afternoon "entertainment." It was truly as if an ancient collective memory had been revived. A spirit of holiday joy and unity was kindled. As the reenactment wound down, many heartwarming calls of "Next year in the Holy Temple" could be heard from the crowd.

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