As per Trump’s Deal of the Century, the Sanhedrin petitioned the Israeli government, filing to receive permits that would allow priests to perform the ritual of the Pesach (Passover) sacrifice temporary altar that will be transported to the temple mount and removed immediately after the ceremony. If the government grants the permits, as it should, based on Israeli and international law, this will be the first time since the destruction of the Second Temple that an altar has stood in its proper place on Judaism’s holiest site: the threshing floor purchased by King David.
For the past eight years, the Sanhedrin has been conducting reenactments of the Temple service as a means of preparing for the actual reinstating of the service. These reenactments are held before each of the Biblically mandated feasts by kohanim (Jewish men descended for Aaron the high priests) dressed in the proper Temple garb.
The reenactment of the Pesach offering has special significance as the commandment has great import. 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 (Passover sacrifice).
“Despite various issues of Jewish law, such as ritual impurity and lack of a high priest, Jews are still required and technically able to bring the sacrifice,” Rabbi Hillel Weiss, the spokesman for the Sanhedrin told Breaking Israel News. “The only thing preventing the Jewish People from performing the Passover sacrifice is the Israeli government.”
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. The Sanhedrin held a special meeting on Wednesday to discuss the Pesach offering reenactment as well as contingency plans should the government permit the actual ritual to be performed on the Temple Mount at the proper time.
As they do every year, the Sanhedrin submitted requests for permits to perform the reenactment to be held on the Temple Mount three days before the holiday. They also submitted a separate request for the actual sacrifice to be held on the Temple Mount on the holiday. Included in this request is the plan to bring a stone altar to the Temple Mount.
The Passover sacrifice can only be offered in one place; on the Temple Mount. The sacrifice does not require an actual Temple structure but it does require an altar that is built to adhere to the Biblical requirements. Such an altar was constructed last year and stands ready.
The square altar is nine feet square and five feet high and is constructed of aerated concrete. The material was ruled to be fit for use in the Temple. In the Talmud, it is explained that steel may not be used to cut the stones of the altar since the Temple Service brings life into the world and steel, as it is used in war, takes life. Stones for the altar may not be cut using steel since the Temple service brings life into the world and steel though not ideal, it is light and easily transported and sized to be loaded onto a truck. The altar was constructed on a metal frame designed also for purposes of transportability. The intent was to create an altar that could be taken to the Temple Mount at a moment’s notice should the need arise.
Should the request to bring the sacrifice be granted, this would mark the first time an altar has stood on the Temple Mount in its proper place since the Second Temple was destroyed in 70 CE.
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.
“Just like King Cyrus, this declaration by Donald Trump opens the door for the Jews to build the Temple. It is now up to us to take the next step forward. This is a watershed point in history. Once we bring the altar to the Temple Mount, even for the sacrifice of one lamb, there is no turning back. The prophesied next step is inevitable.”
“This may have sounded drastic not so long ago but today, when faced with the coronavirus, climate change, and rogue nations, people of faith are certainly praying for the Temple service to begin immediately,” Rabbi Meir Halevi Hakaadded.
“According to Midrash (homiletic teachings), the Exodus from Egypt was for the sake of the entire world,” Rabbi Yoel Schwarts, the head of the Noahide court said. “God told the Children of Israel, ‘It is not for your sake that I am taking you out of Egypt. It is only so that you can tell of the Exodus and teach my Torah to all the nations.’”
Rabbi Shwartz cited another Midrash which explained the three times oaths are mentioned in Song of Songs.
“According to the Midrash, the first oath refers to the First Temple which Solomon built,” Rabbi Schwartz explained. “The second oath is the Second Temple that was built on Cyrus’ merit. The Third oath is the Third Temple whose construction will be initiated by the nations, after which the Jews will join in.”
If the Jerusalem municipality does not grant permission to bring the altar to the Temple Mount, an additional request was file to bring the altar to Jerusalem for the reenactment.
“Plurality in the form of 70 nations is a Biblical requirement for the Temple to be a House of Prayer for All Nations,” Rabbi Weiss said. “Western liberal values and international law demand the equality of religions. We are proposing bringing a temporary altar for one day to sacrifice one lamb for the entire Jewish nation. The Samarians sacrifice hundreds of lambs every year. Any objection to this can only be based in racism and hatred.”
“We have been preparing, faithfully performing whatever we can to bring perform God’s will,” Rabbi Weiss said. “Now it is in God’s hands to take it to its prophetic conclusion; the Pesach sacrifice on the Temple Mount. All of the inhabitants of the world need to place God’s will as it is expressed in the Bible foremost in their consciousness.”
Every year, more people attend and the ceremony itself develops in complexity, becoming more like the actual ceremony in the Temple. The Sanhedrin also made a ruling regarding the participation of non-Jews in the ceremony and its funding. Non-Jews are expressly forbidden by the Torah from partaking of the sacrifice. They are also not permitted to participate in funding communal sacrifices. The Sanhedrin noted that non-Jews did observe the Pesach sacrifice as it was brought in the Temple and such areas should be set aside for this purpose at the reenactment. Non-Jews would be permitted to donate money towards the reenactment and fund necessary elements surrounding the reinstatement of the Temple service but no funds from non-Jews would be permitted to be used for sanctified purposes.
“The Temples were and will always be for the good of the entire world and the nations are intended to help us towards this end,” Rabbi Meir Halevi Hakaadded said. “This is especially true today when we are faced with global threats that affect every individual and every nation. And, indeed, there are many nations and individuals, including Muslims and Arabs, that understand this and are willing to take their place in this effort.”
“Now, at this point in time, it is essential that the nations make their desire known for the return of the Temple service.”
A headstart project to fund the Pesach reenactment will be launched in the near future.
Last year, the ceremony was supposed to take place at the Davidson Center, an archaeological park at the foot of the stairs where individuals walked up to bring their sacrifices to the Temple. All of the permits were acquired but at the last moment, the police officer overseeing security demanded that the original copy of the permit for slaughtering the lamb be produced in place of a faxed copy. It was later revealed that the police wanted the venue changed in order to prevent a violent Palestinian reaction to the Jewish ritual, the police ordered the Sanhedrin to change the venue.
Such important Jewish rituals are often repressed by Israeli security forces and every year, several Jews are arrested while attempting to bring a lamb to the Temple Mount.
The reenactment was accompanied by blasts from silver horns. A band played songs based on the Hallel service, a prayer service composed of verses from Psalms, that was sung in the Temple while the Passover sacrifice was being prepared.
The lamb must be checked for blemishes before being slaughtered. As in the Temple, the priests arranged themselves in a line stretching from the courtyard in which the lamb was slaughtered stretching all the way to the altar. The blood from the lamb was collected in a vessel and then passed from one priest to another, hand over hand, until it arrived at the altar upon which it was poured.
The animal is skinned and the inner parts are separated. The goat was prepared roasted whole on a long pomegranate branch in the manner described in the Torah and served to the Jews gathered to witness the reenactment.
When the Temple stood, all of the Jewish people came to Jerusalem and organized into groups to celebrate the Passover seder. Each group sent a representative to the Temple to bring a lamb that would be ritually prepared by the priests and its blood sprinkled on the altar. The lamb would then be taken home to be cooked and eaten.