Sanhedrin Update: The Korban Pesach
Rav Steinsaltz's Beit Din has decided to purchase sheep for this Pesach. Here is how Arutz-7 reports it followed by CNN (via AP). (Or should I say via AP's misreport which contains many factual errors despite the obvious bias.)
Sanhedrin to Purchase Sheep for Passover Sacrifice
(IsraelNN.com) The modern-day Sanhedrin, headed by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, has decided to purchase a herd of sheep to be used for the Passover sacrifice ritual to be held this year if possible at the Temple Mount.
The Sanhedrin, which was formed several years ago, meets once a week, according to the Haaretz news service, in what it says is a renewal of the Jewish High Court that existed more than a thousand years ago.
A member of the Sanhedrin, Professor Hillel Weiss, said in an interview that the symbolic Passover sacrifice is intended to remind Jews that the Temple rituals will resume when the Messiah comes.
Extremist rabbis call for return of animal sacrifice
Ultra-orthodox Jews watch a rabbi prepare freshly slaughtered sheep near the Dome of the Rock in this file photo.
JERUSALEM (AP) -- A fringe group of extremist rabbis wants to resume the biblical practice of animal sacrifice at an explosive religious site in Jerusalem, members said Wednesday.
The request defied centuries of religious bans and triggered a stiff protest from a Muslim leader.
When the Jewish Temples stood in the Old City of Jerusalem more than 2,000 year ago, animal sacrifice was a centerpiece of the religion. After the destruction of the Temples, sacrifices were banned and rabbinical teachings took their place as the focus of Judaism.
Now a group, called the "Re-established Sanhedrin" after the Temple-era religious high court, has decided to buy some sheep and try to find one that is ritually perfect for sacrifice, with an eye toward resuming the practice at the Jerusalem site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.
The site is the most hotly disputed in the Middle East, home today to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.
Israel captured the site in the 1967 war and turned day-to-day control over to the Muslim Religious Council, but Palestinians take the Jewish fringe groups seriously.
"Regrettably, there are many extremist Israeli groups who want to carry out their plans," said Jerusalem's senior Islamic cleric, Mohammed Hussein. "Let them say what they want, Al Aqsa is a Muslim mosque."
In recent weeks Muslims have protested an Israeli archaeological and construction project outside the compound, despite Israeli assurances that they have no intention of harming the mosque.
Jewish prayer at the site is forbidden by most rabbis and by Israeli authorities -- the former for religious reasons and the latter to prevent Muslim riots.
The ban does not sit well with some small fringe groups -- notably the Temple Mount Faithful, who have constructed a cornerstone for the "Third Temple" and advocate destroying the mosque.
The 71 members of the "Re-established Sanhedrin" say they want to begin sacrificing animals again, despite the absence of the Temple, the ritual altar and all the required implements listed in the Bible. Rabbi Dov Stein of the group admitted that it won't be any time soon.
"We want to do the sacrifice, but we have political problems," Stein said. "We hope there will come a time when the government will agree. We will push for that to happen."
Other rabbis point out that ritual animal sacrifice has been banned since the destruction of the Second Temple in A.D. 70.
"Around that time, animal sacrifice, as a mode of religious worship, stopped," said Rabbi Doniel Hartman of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. "Moving back in that direction is not progress."