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Public reenactment of the Passover Sacrifice is enjoying new popularity as the Jewish people rediscover their Biblical roots in anticipation of this Friday's Passover celebration.
This year's reenactment took steps to getting closer to the actual Temple Mount after its previous location proved to be too small for the amount of interest in the reenactment and festivities.
The new location at Mitzpeh Beit Orot, is between Mount Scopus and the Mount of Olives, which faces the Temple Mount. The celebration is also receiving more public awareness thanks to the attendance of numerous rabbis and public figures such as the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Rabbi Aryeh Shtern, and several Members of Knesset and the Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, Dov Kalmanovitch.
Although the organizers, the Joint Staff of Temple Organizations, emphasized that the event on Monday was a simulation and not supposed to represent the actual sacrifice, several speeches gave clear expectation of where they hope this reenactment to lead:
Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, expounded on passages from the Talmud relating to the Temple, "We came here to say we are preparing for when the day will come, when they will flatten the Temple Mount, clean everything out, build the Temple, offer the Passover sacrifice, and all the Jewish people will come up in their droves for the pilgrimage and we'll see the Kohanim and Levi'im at their service."
Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu underlined what he said was the importance of realizing practical prayers for the rebuilding of the Temple, "When we talk of the Temple we're talking about something practical and not something imaginary. In order to feel how practical this is we are doing this Passover sacrifice ceremony. All Jews, every day for 2,000 years, prays three times a day that this will be practical."
Part of the celebrations included a procession with the sheep, simulating the Passover pilgrimage to the Temple Mount as in the time of the Holy Temple, culminating in an exact reenactment of the Paschal Sacrifice which includes: checking the animal for blemishes, slaughtering it, collecting its blood and bringing it to the corner of a model altar, skinning the animal and separating its inner parts, and roasting it whole in a special Passover oven.
All of this was done to the blowing of the silver trumpets by the Kohanim in their authentic priestly garments, all of which were made by the Temple Institute for use in the Holy Temple.
Last month the Temple Institute announced that it was launching a new program to identify and register Kohanim (priests) who would be eligible to participate in the process of preparing the Red Heifer, which is necessary to perform numerous Torah-based commandments, including ritual purity that is necessary for ascending the temple.
To be eligible, the men must prove they have a clear patriarchal heritage from the priestly class (descendants of Aaron), have been born and raised in Israel and observed the laws of purity which include not coming into proximity with the dead. This would rule out those born in hospitals, have visited hospitals, or have entered cemeteries.
Those qualified for the priestly office will be invited to take formal training at an institute established three years ago to educate priests in the details of Temple service.
Rabbi Chaim Richman, director of the Temple Institute, commented on this historic move: "This is a huge jump for the Temple Institute and a huge leap for the Jewish people. For the first time in 2,000 years, after miraculously returning to the Land of Israel, we are beginning the process of reinstating the Biblical purity of the Jewish priesthood.
This is another bold move for our Institute, having already painstakingly prepared more than 60 sacred vessels for the Third Temple. We proudly call upon all those who may fit the bill to contact the Temple Institute immediately."