Rabbis endorse educational initiative on Pessah sacrifice

"Jews should live around the concept of waiting to reinstate bringing sacrifices on the holiday."

April 7, 2011 04:22
3 minute read.
RABBI CHAIM KANIEVSKY (left) and Rabbi Yehuda Glic

Pessah Sacrafice 311. (photo credit: Neriah Glick)


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An initiative to raise the awareness of the centrality of the Pessah sacrifice is gaining momentum, after central rabbis from major streams have endorsed the educational effort.

An unusual meeting took place Sunday night at the home of one of the leading figures in the haredi world, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, who invited Rabbi Yehuda Glick to his Bnei Brak home to hear more about Glick’s Pessah endeavor.

With two goat kids in tow, Glick – who established the Chafetz Haim Holy Temple Heritage Foundation two years ago – showed the senior Lithuanian rabbi that one of the kids had a standard tag clipped to its ear, while the other didn’t. Such clips are an Agriculture Ministry requisite, but Glick recently reached understandings with the ministry that a certain amount of kids would not be marked in such a manner until after Pessah, so that if the ancient sacrifice is miraculously reinstated by this year’s holiday, two weeks away, Jews might be able to fulfill that commandment.

Animals with a physical imperfection, even a minor one such as an ear clip, are disqualified as sacrificial material.

However, till the time for the sacrifices comes, Glick will not be conducting the ancient ritual.

In the interim, he is collecting NIS 12 donations from people that will be used to buy animals that can be sacrificed, if the opportunity rises. The commandment regarding Pessah sacrifices states that a sheep or goat aged up to one year may be used, so cattle raisers working with Glick can clip their livestocks’ ears once they reach that age.

“This is the first mitzvah in the Torah for everyone – men, women, children – that must be obeyed every year at the threat of karet [excommunication],” Glick said of the importance of the sacrifice on Tuesday.

“It is the foundation of the basic covenant between Jews and God, the very foundation of Torah. That’s why the Ten Commandments begin with ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt out of the house of slavery,’” he continued. “We are not slaves of Pharaoh, but of God.

“For the past 2,000 years or so, we haven’t offered Pessah sacrifices, but Jews should live around the concept of waiting to reinstate bringing sacrifices on that holiday. The original plan for that day was not the Seder we currently conduct, but a sacrifice,” he said.

The current reality is that police prohibit accessing the Temple Mount with an animal, so any notion of a sacrifice in the near future is unfeasible.

Glick’s petition to the High Court of Justice last year that he might be allowed there with an animal was rejected.

The modest donations being raised by Glick’s organization for buying an animal are due to the fact that in the biblical obligation of sacrificing a goat or sheep, each individual was obliged to eat only 30 grams of meat. Given the size of the young animals used, “one animal should suffice for 150 people or so,” Glick estimated.

He noted the wide support of leading rabbis for his initiative, including from Chabad-member and Kiryat Motzkin Chief Rabbi David Meir Druckman, Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliahu, Rabbi Benaya Shmueli, the Admor of Erloy Hassidic court, Rabbi Shmuel Shapira and of course Kanievsky. This is not the first time Glick’s organization, which primarily teaches and lectures in schools and seminars about the Temple, has undertaken this endeavor ahead of Pessah, but this year there seems to be extra interest, as evident in the invitation from Kanievsky, who endorsed the idea, while warning that one should not think that the animals are being dedicated as sacrifices, an act that would only happen when the time for sacrifices arrives.

To Glick, the act of collecting money and raising awareness could help bring a change in the reality in which sacrifices are not yet offered.

“We are calling on people to express that here we are, we are ready,” he said. “Anyone who wants to participate can do so by signing up.”

Asked what his organization will do with the money accumulated if redemption does not come in time for this Pessah and sacrifices are not offered, Glick said that half of the funds would go to charity, and half to yeshivas and kollels dedicated to studying about the Third Temple.

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