“Stirring up Love” Before its Time? Q bef. Pesach

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Dear Rabbi Simon,

I recently chanced upon an article in the Jewish Press. Two goats were slaughtered for the purpose of emulatingdemonstrating the Paschal Sacrifice. The demonstration was carried out under the auspices of the Movement for the Renewal of the Holy Temple and The Temple Institute at the Shmuel Hanavi Synagogue, Jerusalem.

The article can be viewed at http://www.jewishpress.com/news/jewish-news/pascal-sacrifice-exercise-yields-majestic-street-theater-in-preparation-for-passover-redemption/2012/04/03/. Viewing advisory: Some of the photos are fairly graphic.

I would like to ask a couple of questions: 1. Can "demonstrations" be halachically acceptable? 2. As there is no longer a Temple, isn't this activity ultra vires? 3. Have the goats experienced an empty death, devoid of purpose?

I would like to wish you and your family a Chag Sameach, Harvey


Dear Harvey

Thank you for your interesting and timely question, and for bringing to my attention a fascinating (and to my mind—notwithstanding the journalist’s enthusiasm–troubling) account of recent events in the Shmuel Hanavi neighbourhood in Jerusalem.

To answer your last question first (albeit in contravention of Avot 5:9): Since they were slaughtered in accordance with halakhah and subsequently consumed, I would not say that their lives or deaths were devoid of purpose. Had they met their end in some other way, in captivity or the wild, in any case they would have lived and died as goats. 

Regarding your first questions, since it was only a demonstration rather than an attempt to implement the Paschal Sacrifice on the 14th of Nissan, strictly speaking it is not ultra vires. Nevertheless, its purpose was not for scholarly or educational reasons alone, but it definitely had a political and messianic agenda. For this reason I am uncomfortable with the whole exercise. This is the same group that has made priestly vestments for kohanim, made to measure. They are related to the group which has sought to reinstitute the Sanhedrin, all for the same messianic reasons. In my opinion such projects border on the cultish, and I do not believe they have widespread support among leading Torah authorities. (At the same time I am now announcing that they have been denounced. But I am not up to date for all the latest denunciations.)

No roasted goat on the Seder Night for me this year. 

However: Next Year in Jerusalem.

Best wishes,

Rabbi Rashi Simon


Questions & Answers
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Questions and Answers

Ask the Rabbi: Easy as א-ב-ג?
Dear Rabbi Simon,
I hope you fasted well yesterday.
Thank you for the insights into the Kinnot, making them easier to understand.
In the afternoon, I was listening to a shiur on Eichah on Torahanytime.  As an aside, the speaker mentioned that the 1st perek of Eichah is the source for the order of the alef bet as we know it.  Other chapters also follow the alef bet chronology but with ayin en peh interchanged.
He quoted Rabbi Shimon Schwab as his source.
Although he did not elaborate on this, surely Sefer Tehillim predates Megillat Eichah by centuries.  Several psalms are written in the alef bet order (e.g.
psalm 119).
Can you please clarify?
Thank you & best wishes.
PhilippeHi Philippe
TY for your sophisticated Q.
I have also heard that the question of the sequence of samekh and 'ayin is subject to dispute. It seems that there are indications that in Paleo-Hebrew the order is reversed from what we know. It is alleged that chapters 2, 3 and 4 of Eichah (chapter 5 is not alphabetical) reflect the original order. Of course, as you say, ch 1 conforms to the order with which we are family.
You are right that Tehillim predates Eichah, however a critic can claim that the order was redacted to bring it in line with the accepted/preferred sequence. This is particularly true for ch. 119, where each of the 8 vv per letter are their own group, and each set of 8 vv. can easily be repositioned. The question is in Ps. 34 or 145, if the internal logic of the passage sheds light on the correct sequence. In Ps. 34, some claim that the v. starting with the letter peh makes more sense to follow the verse starting with samekh (due to the common appearance of the word ra'). I am not convinced that this argument is compelling.
I will stick with the mesorah, that 'ayin belongs before peh. Best to look before speaking.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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