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photo courtesy of Ezra HaLevi

On Sunday, April 6, Rosh Chodesh Nisan, (the first day of the month of Nisan), called by Torah, "the first of your months," (Exodus 12:2), at the conclusion of a full day of divrei Torah and explication on the practical considerations of performing the korban Pesach - Passover offering - in our day, the gathering of students and Jews desirous of being as ready as possible for the renewal of the korban Pesach came together one more time in a courtyard of the Old City of Jerusalem, to take part in what may best be described as a Passover offering rehearsal.

Led by the Director of the Temple Institute, and Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, the Institute's Founder, with the assistance of licensed experts in the practice of shechitah - Jewish ritual slaughter - the purpose of the event was two-fold: to perform a kosher shechita of the year-old lamb, while providing a detailed explanation to the students as to the intricacies and necessities of the kosher slaughter, which began with the inspection of the lamb for physical blemishes, the presence of which would render the lamb unqualified for kosher shechita, and concluding with the actual slaughter of the animal, in a precise and Biblically mandated fashion that ensures a quick and painless demise.

The second aspect of the instruction, and what made this lesson unique, was the in-depth explanation by the Director of the aspects of the avodah - ritual service - that would accompany the shechita, if this were, in fact, a korban Pesach. To this end, two silver mizrakim - vessels designed to contain the blood of the lamb, (and created by the Temple Institute), were employed. In an actual Passover offering these vessels, once filled with the blood of the lamb, would be handed by one priest to the next, as the last in line would dash the blood against the Temple altar, as commanded in Torah.

Silver trumpets, also produced by the Temple Institute, were blown, in simulation of the actual Passover offering service, and the special Hallel (Psalms of praise) were sung, just as the Levites would have sung them in the courtyard of the Holy Temple, after the offering of each korban Pesach.

The entire teaching, which concluded with the dressing of the lamb, was conducted in a hushed and introspective atmosphere. Although it was but a demonstration of a korban Pesach, nevertheless, the awesome responsibility of taking the life of G-d's creature, as He has commanded us to do, filled us with contrition and humility. The fleeting nature of our physical life and the recognition of the Divine image in which we human beings are created, filled our hearts.

Against this, and in contrast to the sobriety of the lesson, were the events of the past few days, in which representatives of a local animal rights group twice brought the organizers of the symposium into court, in an attempt to prevent the Passover offering rehearsal from taking place. In an effort seemingly more geared toward publicity than protest, their attempt to turn the teaching into a gruesome spectacle failed utterly. Exposed only was their unfortunate ignorance of Torah, and we can only hope that they take stock of themselves and begin to learn the traditions of our people. But in successfully flouting the politically correct doctrine of the post-modern godless humanism they were attempting to foist not only upon us, but upon the entire Jewish nation, we did experience an inkling of what the Israelites must have felt when, while still in Egypt, they performed the original korban Pesach in full view of the horrified Egyptians, who worshipped as gods the very lambs that were being slaughtered.


Full Day Symposium
Animal Rights Protest
The Temple Institute's Response
The Judge's Ruling




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