The annual attempts to resume the Passover sacrifice received a first significant rabbinical backing recently. Safed's Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, a prominent religious Zionism leader, has called on the public to perform the sacrifice mitzvah on the eve of the Jewish holiday, in about two weeks.
Speaking during a Halacha lesson in Jerusalem last week, the rabbi warned that Jews evading the mitzvah were risking "Kareth" - a supernatural punishment for transgressing Jewish Law.
The Safed rabbi went on to say that the Passover sacrifice could be slaughtered in front of the Dome of the Rock plaza, although the Temple no longer exists and the people of Israel are defined as "tameh met" (in a status of impurity which comes from contact with a dead body).
In order to overcome the greatest obstacle, beyond the political problem, an altar must be erected, the rabbi said. He also called for the preparation of "priesthood clothes", which are the only ones in which Kohanim (priests) can perform their work at the Temple.
Mission possibleAddressing the legal aspect, Rabbi Eliyahu claimed that every person has the right to perform the commandment of his religion according to his own understanding. He added that petitions filed with the High Court of Justice against the sacrifice were accepted only because the police were unprepared to secure the ceremony.
"It's perfectly clear that if the public pressures its representatives in the government or in the Knesset, everything will change. If the judges have ruled that the police must secure simpler protests, why not the Passover sacrifice?"
Eliyahu rejected the claim that it was impossible to resume the mitzvah publicly. Addressing the international diplomatic ramifications, he said, "We are being threatened that any movement on our part on the Temple Mount will launch the third world war… (But) we can free our souls of the horror of the gentiles, just like we freed ourselves before the Exodus."