Byzantine era statue of lamb found in Caesarea.
(photo credit: VERED SARIG)
At a “Passover sacrifice” ceremony held Monday at the Beit Orot Yeshiva on the Mount of Olives attended by some 400 people, several public figures expressed the hope that the Dome of the Rock shrine and al-Aksa Mosque would soon be removed from the Temple Mount.
Far-right Jerusalem city council member Arieh King said he hopes that the Temple Mount would soon be free of what he termed “the abomination” currently at the site, while Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, head of the Temple Institute and a former Knesset candidate for the banned Kach Party, said the event was preparation for when the Temple Mount would be “flattened and cleaned,” and the Temple rebuilt.
The ceremony reenacted ancient Temple rites prescribed by the Torah, when kohanim – members of the priestly caste – ritually slaughtered a paschal lamb.
Following the ritual slaughter, the kohanim sprinkled its blood and burned its fat on a model altar, then recited the Hallel prayer service. They blew shofarot and ceremonial silver trumpets belonging to Jerusalem’s Temple Institute, which designs implements fit for use in a future Temple.
The Passover sacrifice is a religious commandment detailed in the Torah (Exodus 12:1-28) obliging Jews to sacrifice a lamb on the day before the Passover pilgrimage holiday and to eat it on the first night of the festival.
The ceremony’s organizers, the Joint Staff of Temple Organizations, emphasized the event was a simulation and not supposed to represent the actual sacrifice.
Speaking before the ceremony began, King, who heads the United Jerusalem faction in the Jerusalem city council, decried the current situation, saying that Jews are still prevented by the government from going to the Temple Mount and performing the Passover sacrifice.
“We’re here opposite the Temple Mount,” he said. “We can see the abomination upon it, and we need to wish that even in our days we won’t see it anymore and we’ll see there the altar, the priests and Levites, and we’ll see ourselves there.”
Also addressing the crowd was Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, who expounded on passages from the Talmud relating to the Temple Mount.
He explained “We came here to say we are preparing for when the day will come, when they will flatten the Temple Mount, clean everything out, build the Temple, offer the Passover sacrifice, and all the Jewish people will come up in their droves for the pilgrimage, and we’ll see the priests and Levites at their service.”
Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, another leader of the religious far-right, emphasized the importance of prayers for the rebuilding of the Temple.
“When we talk of the Temple, we’re talking about something practical and not something imaginary,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “In order to feel how practical this is, we are doing this Passover sacrifice ceremony. All Jews, every day for 2,000 years, pray three times a day that this will be practical.”
MK Miki Zohar (Likud) told the crowd that there had been pressure on him not to attend.
“But I wanted to come to perpetuate the inheritance of the Jewish people,” he said. “My goal in the Knesset is to protect and strengthen the Jewish idea in the State of Israel. Strengthening this principle is an integral aspect of my work, because this is the only way to justify our rights to this land.”