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Most of the sacrifices which are commanded in the Torah are connected with the Temple, which no longer exists. Based on the Talmud, we therefore do not make sacrifices. Instead, we recite prayers with the intention that the words can take the place of the sacrifices.

However, the Paschal sacrifice was given in the Sinai wilderness, before the Temple stood, and the details of the sacrifice do not involve the Temple. Granted, the Torah commands that all sacrifices be performed on the Temple mount. But other than this, there is no written connection between the Paschal sacrifice and the Temple.

One reason for the Jews inability to perform the Passover sacrifice throughout the years is the political impossibility of gaining access to the Temple mount for such purposes. After all, the site has been one of the holiest spots of Islam for more than a millennium.

On the other hand, it would appear that the Samaritans have continually performed the Paschal sacrifice each year on Mount Gerizim, which was the site of the Temple in the Northern kingdom. This site, as far as I know, is not a holy site to Muslims, and therefore would have been easier to access over the last millennium or so. The Samaritans perform the Paschal sacrifice, but not others, because it is the only one which is not associated with the Temple.

Is the reason for this difference in observance between Jews and Samaritans due to accessibility of the Temple mount, or is it something else?

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Is this on topic? – Double AA Dec 20 '13 at 14:56
-1 "But other than [Torah commands that all sacrifices be performed on the Temple mount]" – Yirmeyahu Dec 20 '13 at 16:18
@DoubleAA, the comparative part is not. However, if you strip away the Samaritan stuff (or relegate it to a parenthetical) and make the question "Why don't we bring the Paschal sacrifice now?" I think it's on-topic and answerable. – Isaac Moses Dec 20 '13 at 17:01
@IsaacMoses Unless it's not comparative religion – Double AA Dec 22 '13 at 7:44

2 Answers 2

As was discussed previously, Deuteronomy Chapter 11 makes clear that in the desert, the Jews could do sacrifices wherever. However, once they were firmly settled in the land, G-d would pick one exclusive central point for sacrifices -- which we believe to be the Temple in Jerusalem. To bring a sacrifice anywhere else would be prohibited.

For thousands of years, mainstream Judaism has differed with the Samaritans, who instead use Mount Gerizim.

There are a variety of reasons -- some practical, some purely a matter of Jewish law -- why it's not brought in Jerusalem today. (A rabbi I know met a Samaritan who was so proud of having brought a Passover offering; the rabbi asked him -- "what about the tamid and chavitin offerings, which have to come first that morning"? -- and got blank stares.)

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Hi Shalom, thanks for the thoughtful answer. As it so happens, I visited the Samaritan community in Holon once many years ago. They explained to me that the korban Pesah is the only sacrifice not associated with the Temple/Tabernacle, as it was commanded in Egypt before the Exodus. Therefore, the obligation to bring the offering never ceased despite the destruction of the Temple. – Tim Biegeleisen Sep 21 at 12:22
@TimBiegeleisen and again, our tradition has it that at Sinai we were given a law that says "from here on out, all sacrifices must follow the following format", and one of those rules is that they must all be in "the chosen place", once the chosen place is determined (which is Jerusalem). It's irrelevant whether something was given earlier, as Sinai supersedes all previous laws. – Shalom Sep 21 at 15:02

There are two reasons why the Korbon pesach is not brough by Jews today.

  1. It it s required to be performed on Har Habayit.
  2. After so long in Exile, we have just gotten used to not doing it. However, there are groups of Jews today, who work very hard on performing Koban Pesach, however the police often forbid them from doing so.
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"often" ??????? – Double AA Dec 22 '13 at 7:43
I don't know for a fact that it is always the police who stop them. – avi Dec 22 '13 at 7:46
@avi Do you know if our ancestors brought the Passover sacrifice at any time after the second temple (Herod's temple) was destroyed? – Tim Biegeleisen Dec 22 '13 at 11:48
@TimBiegeleisen what I have heard is that it continued until the Romans renamed the city. But I'll double check if that was Korbon pesach, or just redeeming things in Jerusalem. I think this belief exists because the 4 questions in the Talmud Yerushalmi were not changed. – avi Dec 22 '13 at 11:53
@TimBiegeleisen There is also a story about Rabbi Gamliel of Yavneh asking his Slave Tevi to roast the Korban pesach. This might be good question on it's own. so I'll ask it. – avi Dec 22 '13 at 12:24

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