For three years, Yehuda Glick has been trying to bring back Passover sacrifices. Never mind that there's no temple, never mind that there's no Messiah. Glick wants to kill him some goats.
Today’s Seders, with their many commemorations of the sacrifice, such as the shank bone on the Seder plate, are largely a tribute to the offering. The rabbis inserted the famous line “Next year in Jerusalem” at the end of the Haggadah to express the hope that subsequent Seders would take place in the Messianic era.
But Glick, who lives in Otniel, a Modern Orthodox settlement in the West Bank, claims that this declaration of hope is half-hearted without practical preparations. So with the backing of some influential rabbis, he has contracted farmers to provide him with 300 sheep and goats for the sacrifice, should the Messiah arrive. He also put 20 slaughterers on standby; and, for those who wish to take part, but who live outside Jerusalem, he made Seder-night accommodations within walking distance of the Old City.
Those who want a “share” of an animal so that they can take part in the sacrifice can purchase one over the phone, by credit card for 12 shekels, or about $3. At press time, 3,000 people had signed up.
“A person who is not prepared for the offerings is like somebody who invites all his friends to a wedding and waits until they arrive to make preparations,” Glick said, borrowing a rabbinic metaphor. “The concept of waiting for [the resumption of sacrifices] to happen is totally alien to Judaism; we have to be ready and express to God how badly we want it.”
Which is why we spend all our time eating matzah before Passover, right? To show God how jazzed up we are about performing that mitzvah. Oh wait, we actually don't do that? Hmm. Well, maybe it's like how if you're really excited about Shabbat, you light your candles on Tuesday. No? Put up your Sukkah a month early to show how ready you are? Light menorahs in June? Biblically "know" your fiancee before the chuppah?
Silly me and my non-Orthodox assumptions about consistency.
Just so we're clear, all my (many) frum readers: When I tell my mostly non-Jewish guests about how sacrifices were replaced by the seder, and then have to correct myself to explain about one guy in Israel who's bought his own flock of goats and hired out a bunch of slaughterers just in case the Messiah shows up, and letting people know that if they want to get extra credit points they can pay him money to get in on the action, I'm not the one making Judaism look silly. I'm just not.
My favorite part is at the end:
In the event of the arrival of the Messiah or a U-turn on the part of Israeli authorities, all will be free to watch the sacrifice but only people who paid to sign up to Glick’s program will be able to meet the biblical requirement of eating the sacrificial meat.That's right, Yonkel, the Messiah may have shown up but at the end of the day if you snooze, you lose. If you didn't make arrangements ahead of time there'll be no imaginary Messiah-barbecue for you.