Photo Credit: Shelav Shalom / TPS
A reenactment of the Korban Pesach. April 2022

The Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Places, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz banned the bringing of animals up to the Temple Mount in an effort to prevent Jews from trying to bring Passover sacrifices on the holy site.

Tuesday’s announcement came one day after police arrested Rafael Morris, the leader of the Returning to the Mount movement on suspicion he would try to offer a Paschal sacrifice on the holy site. The group announced on Friday, as it does every year, that it would provide money to anyone who attempts to offer the sacrifice ahead of Passover, which begins on Wednesday night. Police searched his home on Monday.


“The Western Wall Heritage Fund operates according to the instructions of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, which for generations has opposed any act of this kind, and in accordance with the authority of the Western Wall Rabbi, has been preventing such actions for years, and will continue to do so this year as well,” Rabbi Rabinowitz’s statement said.

This year, Passover and the Islamic holy month of Ramadan overlap, creating more potential for friction. Arab terror groups have vowed to respond with violence to any Jewish attempts to sacrifice an animal.

In a recent television interview, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir urged Jews to visit the Temple Mount but said he did not agree with animal sacrifices.

Addressing Morris and his organization, Ben-Gvir said, “Calm it. I’m not encouraging people to go there with a Passover sacrifice. Without a sacrifice — everyone can go.”

During the times of the First and Second Temple, Jews brought Paschal offerings on the eve of Passover. The goats and lambs slaughtered on the Temple Mount would then be eaten during the traditional Passover dinner commemorating the Exodus from Egypt.

The Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, is the only remnant of a retaining wall encircling the Temple Mount built by Herod the Great and is the holiest site where Jews can freely pray. The Temple Mount, where the First and Second Temples were built, is the holiest site in Judaism.

In recent years, a growing number of Jews and Rabbis have been going up to the Temple Mount.

Unlike other sacrifices, the Paschal Sacrifice does not need to be brought in ritual purity in the case when the majority of the nation is not ritually pure, nor does the Temple need to be rebuilt, but Jewish Law does require it be brought on the Temple Mount. The obligation to bring the Paschal Sacrifice still applies today, even if external considerations temporarily make it impossible to fulfill.

In September, the number of Jews visiting the Temple Mount crossed the 50,000 threshold for the first time in modern history, according to Beyadenu, an organization working to advance Jewish ties to the holy site. News Desk contributed to this report.


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