KORBAN PESACH:SYMBOL OF UNITY & NATIONAL IDENTITY
The performance of the KorbanPesach was a logical first step following every national and religious revival after periods of moral decline and assimilation….When the Jewish people returned from the Babylonian captivity, Ezra the Scribe sought to reestablish Jerusalem’s centrality for the Jewish people. At that time, many Jews, especially among the elites, preferred the fleshpots of Babylon. He did this by offering the Korban Pesach for the Jews who had remained in the Diaspora, as well those who had properly returned to Jerusalem. (Ezra 6:19-22)
We can see from the above that the Korban Pesach was the supreme symbol of Jewish unity. Such unity never came at the expense of individuality, for it achieved an exquisite balance. While this commandment was to be performed by the entire Jewish people the fact that each quorum was composed of family and friends demonstrated that unity would not swallow up personality and individuality. The loss of the Korban Pesach left a void in the Jewish people who were deprived of a very potent symbol of unity.
WHY IS THERE NO KORBAN PESACH TODAY?
Obviously, the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash (Temple in Jerusalem) and the restrictions imposed by conquerors on Jewish access Jerusalem and to the Temple Mount, resulted in the cessation of the Korban Pesach.
Yet the fact that there was no longer any Temple did not mean that one could not offer sacrifices, including the Korban Pesach. According to the Rambam, the sanctity of the Temple Mount remains. Not only is it possible to sacrifice the Korban Pesach, there remains an obligation to do so on the Temple Mount.
We have proof that the commandment of the Korban Pesach was observed, even after the destruction of the Temple. Rabban Gamliel who lived a hundred years after the destruction commanded his servant to roast the Korban Pesach (Pesachim 87b). Also, the Byzantine Caesar Yostaninos issued an edict forbidding the Jews from sacrificing the Korban Pesach as late as the Sixth Century of the Common Era, long after the destruction of The Temple. This shows the Jews were still offering the Korban Pessach long after the destruction.
WHAT HAS CHANGED THAT ENABLES US TO OFFER THE KORBAN PESACH NOW?
Recently, the Jewish people have begun to reassert their rights to the Temple Mount. They have been aided by technical progress and archaeological discoveries in solving the once insurmountable problem of determining the areas that can be visited by Jews even in a state of impurity, and which areas remained off limits. Modern technology such as laser cutting tools can solve the problem of constructing an altar without metallic tools.
However, the most important development has not been technological, but spiritual. The emergence of a Jewish religious leadership in the form of a renascent Sanhedrin Initiative has provided the breakthrough. A group of rabbinic leaders has summoned the courage to revive Jewish legal thought and authority in the framework of a renewed Jewish sovereignty. The new Sanhedrin Initiative is in the forefront of the drive to renew the Korban Pesach. It assumes responsibility for ensuring that the commandments is performed in conformity with Jewish religious law, and will also coordinate the practical details with the appropriate Israeli governmental authorities.
This year in Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin Initiative is calling upon the Jewish people in Israel and throughout the world to participate in the Korban Pesach. The Sanhedrin Initiative will choose sheep to be offered in the Korban Pesach, and all preparations will be made in the expectation that we can renew this ancient, traditional offering. In the event that political or other obstacles intervene, the Sanhedrin Initiative has taken halakhic precautions to ensure that the monies for purchasing the sheep can still be used for charitable donations.
More about the Korban Pesach here….