Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money,  and spiritual engagement. Now also a Blogger on the Times of Israel. Look for my column

Love Yehuda Lave

We were locked down for the Holiday of Pesach. This was the night of watching according to the Torah as in the morning (actually around high noon). They were under curfew the whole night of the 15th. I live across from the King David hotel. It is close enough that when there is no curfew, I can walk by it. Not on Wednesday night, it like everything else was under curfew. The Mashiach tried to come, but he was stopped by the police and couldn't get in. Let's hope for better Mazel next Year!

A prayer for when you can’t comply with the Requirements

This prayer was found with one of the few survivors of the Bergen Belsen Concentration Camp.


Recently it was learned that the tefillah was composed by Rabbi Yissachar-Bernard Davids, who was the

Chief Rabbi of Rotterdam, Holland during World War II. He was transferred to the Bergen Belsen Nazi

concentration camp with his family after Germany invaded Holland. Here are his poignant words:


לִפְנֵי אֲכִילַת חָמֵץ יֹאמַר בְּכַּוָנַת הַלֵב:

אָבִינוּ שֶׁבַּשָׁמַיִם הִנֵּה גָלוּי וְיָדוּעַ לְפָנֶיךָ שֶׁרְצוֹנֵנוּ לַעַשׂוֹת רְצוֹנְךָ וְלָחֹג אֶת חַג הַפֶּסַח בַּאַכִילַת מַצָה וּבִשְׁמִירַת אִיסוּר

חָמֵץ, אַךְ עַל זֹאת דָאֲבָה לִבֵּנוּ שֶׁהַשִׁעְבּוּד מְעַכֵּב אוֹתָנוּ וַאֲנַחְנוּ נִמְצָאִים בְּסַכָּנַת נְפָשׁוֹת. הִנְנוּ מוּכָנִים וּמְזוּמָנִים לְקַיֵים מִצְוַתְךָ "וָחַי

בָּהֶם" וְלֹא שֶׁיָמוּת בָּהֶם, וְלִזָהֵר מֵאַזְהָרָתְךָ "הִשָׁמֶר לְךָ וּשְׁמוֹר נַפְשְׁךָ מְאוֹד.“ עַל כֵּן תְּפִילָתֵנוּ לְךָ שֶׁתְּחַיֵינוּ וּתְקַיְימֵנוּ וּתְגָאָלֵנוּ

בִּמְהֵרָה לִשְׁמוֹר חוּקֶיךָ וְלַעַשׂוֹת רְצוֹנְךָ וּלְעָבְדְךָ בְּלֵבָב שָׁלֵם. אָמֵן


The prayer is prefaced with the words, “Before eating chometz, say this with heartfelt commitment.”


Our Father in Heaven, You know very well that our will is to do Your will and celebrate the festival of Pesach by eating matzah and being vigilant with the prohibition of chametz. But to our heartfelt regret, our enslavement restrains us and we find ourselves with our lives in danger. We are set and prepared to fulfill Your commandant of “And you shall live by them” (Vayikra 18:5), “and not die by them” (Yoma 85b),” and be heedful of


“Beware for yourself and greatly beware for your soul” (Devarim 4:9). Therefore our prayer to You is that You keep us alive, sustain us, and redeem us quickly so that we can observe Your laws and fulfill Your will and serve You with a full heart, amen.


Many people have told me that they now read this Tefillah at their Seder table to teach

the assembled the strength of the soul of Jews in the Concentration Camps and the gratitude we

must have to Hashem for the conditions we live in today.

It is understandable and commendable.

Ideas, that help explain how the world works

Second Half of the Chessboard: Put one grain of rice on the first chessboard square, two on the next, four on the next, then eight, then sixteen, etc, doubling the amount of rice on each square. When you’ve covered half the chessboard’s squares you’re dealing with an amount of rice that can fit in your lap; in the second half you quickly get to a pile that will consume an entire city. That’s how compounding works: slowly, then ferociously.

Coronavirus Lessons for the Coalition Talks By Caroline B. Glick

We are living through a grave crisis. And crises have a knack for clarifying fundamental truths. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed several of them.

First, our ability to control our world is limited. An unknown number of months ago, through unclear means, the coronavirus broke out in China and landed in the rest of the world shortly thereafter. Over the past month, everything that makes up our lives and our world came to a grinding halt. Schools closed. Workplaces shut down. Israel’s previously stable and promising economic outlook has disappeared. No one can tell us when or if our lives will ever go back to normal and what our economy will look like when this is over.

The second truth the pandemic has shown us is that no matter how bad things are in Israel, the plight of our neighbors is immeasurably worse. Consider Egypt. The Egyptian economy has been teetering on the brink of collapse for a decade. The Egyptian health system failed long before the coronavirus was a gleam in a bat’s eye. Government hospitals lack both basic equipment and a sufficient number of physicians.

The Egyptian government is trying to enact social distancing. Mosques and churches have been shuttered. But it appears that Cairo’s overarching strategy for handling the pandemic is to punish anyone who discusses the dimensions of the outbreak in Egypt.

A week and a half ago, authorities in Cairo stripped the press credentials from a Guardian reporter who published the findings of a study on Egypt’s coronavirus status that had been reported by the Lancet medical journal. The Lancet report claimed that the number of people in Egypt with the coronavirus is far higher than the official data.

At the start of this week, the Egyptian government claimed that Egypt had 286 coronavirus patients and that eight people had died in Egypt from the virus. The Lancet report alleged that more than 19,000 people in Egypt have coronavirus.

Then there is Lebanon. The coronavirus pandemic arrived in Lebanon just as the Hezbollah-controlled government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab defaulted on $1.2 billion in foreign loan payments. In the months that preceded the virus, thousands of protesters had flooded Lebanon’s streets demanding massive constitutional changes. The pandemic got them off the street, but it also hammered the final nail into the coffin of Lebanese nationalism. The Hezbollah-controlled Health Ministry, and Hezbollah itself, are focusing their resources on treating Shi’ites. Meanwhile, the Druze, Christian and Sunni militias, as well as political parties, are catering to their constituencies.

Jordan entered the pandemic after having barely survived a profound economic crisis that brought hundreds of thousands of Jordanians into the streets demanding government reform and destabilizing the government. Jordanians from all ethnicities have lost faith in the Hashemite Kingdom, which owes its survival to Israeli and U.S. support.

Iraq and Syria are both failed states, engaged in varying levels of civil war. They are run by combinations of warlords, Iranian proxies and Iran. They have no means of contending with normal life, let along with a pandemic.

Then there is Iran. The greatest state sponsor of terrorism and the author of much of the instability and suffering afflicting the region is also the greatest casualty of the coronavirus pandemic. Like Egypt and Lebanon, the crisis befell Iran in the midst of an economic meltdown. Iran’s economic difficulties aren’t the only reason it cannot contend with the coronavirus, however. The regime has exhibited total incompetence in managing the outbreak. Although the virus has raged through the country for more than a month, the regime still won’t shut down shrines in Qom, the epicenter of the outbreak.

According to Iran’s official midweek data, 47,593 Iranians have been infected, and 3,036 have died from coronavirus. Unofficial findings placed the number of infected at anywhere between 70,000 and 2,000,000, and 15,000 dead.

It is hard to know how Iran and the other states in the region will look when this pandemic has passed. But it is safe to assume that they will be less stable than they were when it first hit.

This returns us to Israel, which entered the crisis with a strong economy and an advanced, well-funded and functioning health system.

The coronavirus and the chaos engulfing our neighbors tell us two things. First, we need to preserve and strengthen the bonds that hold us together as a nation. Social solidarity is the vital foundation of all national efforts in times of crisis.

The second lesson is that in a world and region plagued with uncertainty and instability, we must do everything we can in the spheres that we do control to minimize uncertainty and maximize stability.

A week ago, Israel almost lost it all. Last week Israel was on verge of internal unrest and chaos the likes of which we hadn’t seen since the 2005 expulsion of ten thousand Israelis from their homes and communities in Gaza and northern Samaria. Indeed, the social cleavages that emerged since last month’s election foretold an even greater disaster than the crisis we experienced back then.

The fact that three former Israel Defense Forces chiefs of general staff were willing to work in concert with the Joint Arab List placed a question mark over the future of our society and state.

The Joint List is an alliance of parties that rejects Israel’s right to exist. Its members work openly in the Knesset, in the courts and in the international arena to delegitimize the Jewish people’s right to self-determination and to undermine Israel’s ability to defend itself from external attack and internal subversion. Blue and White’s willingness to work with the alliance called into question the Israeli center-left’s commitment to the continued existence of the Jewish state.

The public outcry their actions provoked compelled Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz and his fellow former IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi to reverse course and seek a unity government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the right-wing bloc.

By abandoning their coalition with the Joint List, Gantz and Ashkenazi prevented large-scale civil unrest which would have been devastating at any time. In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, it would have been disastrous. But while they recognized the need for social and national solidarity, it is far from clear that Gantz and his colleagues understand the need at this time to introduce certainty and stability into our strategic reality.

With our neighbors all teetering on the edge of the abyss, Israel needs to take bold action to make clear what its red lines are to restore some order to our neighborhood. The first means of drawing these essential lines is by fortifying borders and making clear we will defend them.

Israel’s borders with Egypt and Lebanon, and (thanks to U.S. recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights) with Syria, are clear to all sides. Our neighbors know where the line is located, and they know not to cross it.

This is not the situation on Israel’s eastern border. It is not the situation in Judea and Samaria. There, for 53 years, Israel has failed to set out lines or make clear its intentions.

To protect itself from chaos to its east Israel must apply its laws to the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea region and follow up the move with mass expansion of its communities and transportation and road infrastructures linking the eastern frontier to the rest of the country.

Gantz and his colleagues claim that to preserve its peace with Jordan, Israel must first receive Jordan’s approval before applying its law to the border. But their concerns are misplaced. Providing Jordan with a veto over Israel’s right to determine its border will empower the most extreme actors in Jordanian society at the expense of the regime’s stability. In contrast, unilateral action on Israel’s part will stabilize its relations with Jordan by dispelling uncertainty about Israel’s intentions.

The same logic holds in relation to the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria.

This week, Israeli Health Ministry officials briefed reporters that Israel must “annex Judea and Samaria from a public health perspective.” They meant that from a medical perspective there is no difference between the population of sovereign Israel and the population of Judea and Samaria. What happens in one happens in the other because the populations are intertwined.

P.A. health officials clearly agree. They are following Israel’s lead and seek its guidance in all their efforts to slow and the spread of the virus and care for its victims.

The P.A.’s willingness to work so closely with Israel owes to their faith in their Israeli counterparts. If the ministry was conveying a sense of confusion and uncertainty about its actions in relation to the pandemic, the Palestinians would reject its authority. This, in turn, would raise the level of uncertainty among Israelis and Palestinians alike and fuel hysteria and chaos.

A parallel dynamic prevails in relation to Israel’s security control over Judea and Samaria and its commitment to its cities, towns and villages there. The more certainty Israel signals about its long-term intentions in relation to its security control over the areas and its attachment to its communities in Judea and Samaria, the more willing the Palestinians will be to live and let live.

The peaks in Palestinian violence and rejection of Israel and its permanent presence and control over Judea and Samaria have come when Israel has expressed the greatest confusion about its intentions and plans in relation to these areas. A clear Israeli position on Judea and Samaria will work like its clear borders with Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan to engender stability. Everyone knows Israel’s red lines and understands the price of crossing them.

Gantz and his colleagues reportedly oppose applying Israeli sovereignty to these areas and their opposition is a major stumbling block in coalition talks. Perhaps their opposition stems from their attachment to the left’s hidebound and false belief that the only way to secure peace is through appeasement. If so, they need to reconsider their views.

The coronavirus, and the failure of the societies and regimes around us, point to the fact we live in an age of uncertainty. In these times, Blue and White’s desire to grant a veto over Israel’s borders to neighbors who are dependent on Israel for their well being on the one hand and falling apart before our eyes on the other does not advance the cause of peace. It removes all possibility of peaceful coexistence. It raises the prospect of war by increasing uncertainty and instability unnecessarily. Israeli sovereignty and strength are the greatest stabilizing forces in the region today. Applying Israeli sovereignty to these areas now is the best way to promote peace and expand stability in our chaotic region.

Coronavirus lockdown: Life-saving or lunacy?

Lockdown is lunacy,” Prof. Yoram Lass, a member of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, told The Jerusalem Post. “It's impossible to stop a virus by government decree.”By MAAYAN JAFFE-HOFFMAN   APRIL 7, 2020 21:01   A man wearing a mask walks inside a shopping centre after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government announced that malls, hotels, restaurants and theaters will shut down from Sunday, in an escalation of precautionary measures against coronavirus, in Tel Aviv, Israel March 15, 2020(photo credit: REUTERS/NIR ELIAS)A government cannot stop a virus, a former Health Ministry director-general said. What stops a virus is natural immunity.“Lockdown is lunacy,” Prof. Yoram Lass, a member of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, told The Jerusalem Post. “It's impossible to stop a virus by government decree.”Read More Related Articles

He said that viral pandemics come to an end after the virus spreads throughout the population and those exposed create antibodies. When enough of the population is immune to COVID-19, “the chain of infection is broken and in that way the virus comes to a halt."While the government has espoused hysteria over the last six weeks, most recently slapping a near closure on the entire country, Lass believes that it is wrong to shut down Israel over the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.“You will be amazed to know that every year, 17,000 Italians die of flu,” Lass told the Post.In Israel, he said, less than 130 people died of flu last year.Italy, he explained, is known to have high morbidity in respiratory problems, more than three times any other European country. In the US, about 40,000 people die in a regular flu season. So far, around 16,000 Italians and less than 11,000 Americans have died from coronavirus. 

"I won't say how many people will ultimately die from coronavirus,” Lass said, but he said that when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu compares COVID-19 to the “Black Death” plague that struck Europe in the Middle Ages, killing 50 million people, or 60% of Europe's entire population, that is “psychology prevailing over science.”Some 350 people die per year in car accidents in Israel, Lass said. “If we stopped driving, we would save lives. Should we save them?”He said the same holds true of people who die in plane crashes or even in the IDF.“Soldiers are killed - should we dismantle the IDF in order to save their lives?” he asked.He said that no states shut down between 2009 and 2010 when as many as 1.4 billion people across the globe were infected with swine flu, as many as 575,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Protection and Control.Lass believes that the panic today is a result of two factors and the first is social media: “The brainwasher is Mark Zuckerberg,” he said referring to the CEO of Facebook. Though he said that Facebook is not the only problematic social platform.“This is the first pandemic, which is real like many we had before, that is happening on the social networks and it has become inflated, it has reached a level of monstrous hysteria,” he told the Post.In Israel, he said, this hysteria is compounded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who he said is locking everyone else up so he can be free.“Coronavirus saved Netanyahu’s political life,” Lass charged. “He was a morbid politician and now he is talking about the black plague instead of giving everyone the real facts – the facts that I am telling you. It is in Netanyahu’s self-interest that we not open back up.”But he said that “the economic damage is worse than the health damage.”Hagai Levine, associate professor of epidemiology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Hadassah Medical Center and head of the Israel Association of Public Health, said that he agrees that a full lockdown is not best for Israel.“Surveillance is key to being able to make informed decisions and we don’t do it,” he told the Post. “In Israel we don’t have enough tests, we don’t test the right patients and we don’t have good surveillance.”The result he said is a policy of “better safe than sorry – but at some point, these actions can cause more damage than the coronavirus itself.“Quarantine is one size fits all,” he continued. “This is not an optimal solution.”

The Place Where I Belong Abie Rotenberg's classic Journeys song presented to you in a brand new way by Oorah for this year's Shmorg. See the story of one Torah scroll made in 1842 from Kiev and its incredible journey.

The Samaritan Paschal Sacrifice

The Samaritans – or Shomronim – are an ethnic/religious group who claim descent from the two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Menashe, with a high priesthood descended from the biblical Aaron. They believe they survived the Assyrian annihilation of the Kingdom of Israel and thus are descendants of the “Ten Lost Tribes” who were taken into Assyrian captivity.

The Samaritans claim their link to ancient Samaria (now most of the territory of the West Bank) dates back to the original Jewish conquest of Eretz Yisrael as described in the Book of Joshua. The conventional Orthodox belief, however, is very different; the Talmud refers to them as “Kuthim,” reflecting the traditional Jewish belief that, rather than being descendants of the Biblical 12 tribes of Israel, they were non-Jews brought in from Kutha in Mesopotamia.

The story begins in 930 BCE when King Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, succeeded him on the throne. The 10 northern tribes of Israel rebelled against him and established their own northern Kingdom of Israel with its capital in Samaria, while the remaining two tribes established the southern Kingdom of Judah with Jerusalem as its capital. This 200-year schism badly damaged the viability of Jewish nationhood and, when Assyrian King Sargon II conquered the Kingdom of Israel in 722 BCE, the “Ten Lost Tribes” were widely dispersed and ultimately lost to history.

The Samaritans claim, however, that they are descended from Jews who defied the Assyrians and never left Eretz Yisrael. All agree, however, that when the Babylonians later conquered Judah, they kept many Jews in a central location where they could still retain their religious identification.

The usual practice for the Assyrians when capturing new territory was to exile residents, scatter them in small groups through their vast empire, and bring in Assyrians to repopulate the conquered region. The new Assyrian populace would continue to worship their gods and engage in their cultic practices, but they would also adopt some of the religious traditions of the people they had vanquished.

Accordingly, when the Assyrians defeated the Kingdom of Israel in 722 and settled in Samaria, they began to also worship the Jewish G-d, but, within only a few centuries, their Jewish worship became exclusive and they kept much of the Torah. However, contrary to Jewish tradition, they believed that they could offer animal sacrifices outside of the Temple in Jerusalem, which created a huge split between the Masoretic-true Jews and the Samaritan sect.

Before King Solomon built the Beit HaMikdash in Jerusalem in the mid-10th century BCE, Jews did have other places where they worshipped. However, the Bible describes a later religious reform enacted first by King Hezekiah (reigned 715-686 BCE) and again by King Josiah (640-609 BCE) pursuant to which sacrificial worship was limited to the Temple in Jerusalem. The Beit HaMikdash thus became the only lawful place to bring animal sacrifices – which is why, with the destruction of the Second Temple, such sacrifices ceased.

However, there were Jewish sects that had other temples which they believed were equally holy. Thus, for example, as the Book of Jeremiah states, hundreds of years after the completion of Solomon’s Temple, some Jews were still bringing sacrifices outside Jerusalem.

A remarkable recent discovery supports the idea that during the time of the First Temple, Jews were still building temples outside Jerusalem and offering animal sacrifices there. According to an article recently published in the Biblical Archaeology Review by a team of archaeologists from Tel Aviv University and the Israel Antiquities Authority, a massive temple complex using the same architectural plan as the First Temple is currently being excavated at Tel Motza, some four miles northwest of Ir David (the City of David). It stood from around 900 BCE to about the early sixth century BCE and thus was in contemporaneous use during the time of the First Temple (which was destroyed in 586 BCE).

Samaritan practices are based upon the Samaritan Pentateuch, which the Samaritans believe reflects the true faith of the ancient Israelites and was preserved by those who remained in Eretz Yisrael after the Babylonian exile, and that the Judaism considered normative today was actually an altered religion brought by returnees to Eretz Yisrael from the Babylonian captivity.

Many (non-Torah) commentators seem to suggest that the Samarian Pentateuch is essentially similar to our traditional Masoretic text but, even setting aside the Samaritans’ total rejection of Rabbinic law, there are at least 6,000 significant differences between the two Pentateuchs. According to Samaritan Benyamin Tsedaka in his seminal work Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah (2013), the differences between them essentially fall within two categories: orthographic (spelling differences or the addition of words within the text) and substantive (differences in the narrative).

Central to the Samaritan faith is the belief that Mount Gerizim, near the ancient city of Shechem, was the original Jewish sacred site from time immemorial. Samaritans believe it is the site of the Akedah where Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac, as per the account in Genesis; that when Joshua later conquered Canaan, he established a “covenant” there by dedicating a special “stone,” which later become an altar (Joshua 8:30-35); and that Mount Gerizim is “the Mountain of Blessings” of Deuteronomy 11:29.

(According to the Biblical narrative [Deut. 27:11-14], six of the 12 tribes stood on Har Gerizim and the other six stood on Har Eval. All of them were instructed to face Har Gerizim when they were presented with the incredibly beautiful blessings that they would earn if they obeyed G-d’s Torah. They received the dreaded “tochachah,” the curses that would befall them if they fail to follow G-d’s laws, while facing Har Eval.)

As such, one key issue between real Jews and Samaritans has always been the location of the chosen place to worship G-d – the Temple Mount of Moriah in Jerusalem, according to traditional Masoretic Judaism, or Mount Gerizim, according to Samaritanism.

This difference has particular relevance in the celebration of Passover. For two millennia, the Samaritans have observed Passover on Mt. Gerizim, and they continue to gather there to offer the sacrifices specified by their Torah. Masoretic Jews have not brought the Paschal sacrifice since the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash but Samaritans never gave their sole allegiance to the Jerusalem Temple, so the approximately 700 Samaritans who remain in Eretz Yisrael continue to hold their sacrificial services on Mt. Gerizim.

What makes the Samaritan Pesach ceremony so interesting is that it preserves in many respects a Torah ceremony that hasn’t been conducted by traditional Jews for close to 2,000 years. The entire Samaritan community gathers before sunset at its mountaintop ceremonial ground all dressed in long white robes (community leaders also wear distinctive red Fez hats with a black tassel), except for the priests, who wear distinguishing turquoise garb. The services start near sunset with the recitation of the relevant Passover verses from Exodus.

Under the light of the full moon, their High Priest gives the signal; the head of each household slices the throat of his family’s lamb; and, amid much joy and celebration, the animal is skewered and brought to one of the 2- to 3-meter-deep stone-lined roasting pits to be cooked for hours.

Close to midnight, each family takes its lamb home (those who cannot afford their own sacrifice join together with other families), where it is eaten together with matzah and bitter herbs. The family holds a “seder” of sorts, although they do not use our formal Haggadah text. There are marked similarities to the Masoretic Seder, nonetheless, including encouraging children to ask questions about why and how the sacrifice is performed.

In the incredible page exhibited here, a supplement to the April 22, 1905 edition of The Sphere, the eight steps of the Samaritan Paschal sacrifice are photographically presented and described in detail:


The Samaritan Passover

The annual feast of the Samaritan Passover is held on Mount Gerizim in Samaria. Six sheep are sacrificed, and their blood is marked on the foreheads and noses of all the people in the community. The sheep are afterwards boiled in water, the wool removed, and the carcasses roasted over burning faggots.


The Preparations in Camp

 The Samaritan Paschal sacrifice (1905) – the last three of its eight steps.


Repeating the Scriptures

When the golden arc of the sun has sunk behind the Mediterranean, the priest repeats in a loud voice the Samaritan version of Exodus xii:6. In an instant, the lambs are seized and passed from one to another of the sacrificial ministers until they reach the white-robed man whose office is to slay.


Catching the Blood in Basins

As the lambs lie quivering in their death throes, two or three of the surpliced young men catch the blood in the basins and proceed around the camp sprinkling the upper and side posts of the tent doors and the faces of the women and children with the blood.


Without Blemish

The carcasses of the lambs are then examined and if pronounced faulty are rejected and consumed in a separate fire. If passed as without blemish, their fleeces are stripped off and their entrails extracted.


Carrying the Carcasses to the Pit

Each carcass is pierced lengthwise by a wooden spit with a cross-bar near the extremity, and carefully placed in the circular pit which has been already heated like an oven. Unleavened bread and bitter herbs are also prepared for the midnight feast.


Roasting the Bodies

When all are safely deposited, the mouth of the pit is closed up with sticks and mud and the bodies remain until they are fully roasted. The covering is then torn off in the presence of the whole male community.


Eating the Lamb’s Flesh

About midnight, the roasted lambs are dragged out on their long spits. The eating is done literally according to verse 17. In less than ten minutes, almost every vestige of the meat is gone, the women and children being supplied in the tents.


The Samaritans remain encamped for an entire week following their sacrifice of the Paschal lamb. On the seventh day, known as the “Feast of the Unleavened Bread,” prayers begin at midnight at which time the men silently read the Biblical story of creation, followed by a loud reading of Genesis and Exodus up to the Passover story. Then, at dawn, they make a pilgrimage to the top of their sacred mountain, one of the highest peaks in the West Bank at 2,890 feet above sea level and, upon their descent, the entire community holds a festive meal.

May 5, 1974 philatelic cover issued by Israel’s Military Administration: “Samaritan Passover on Mt. Gerizim, Nablus.”

The annual sacrifice of the Paschal lamb on Mount Gerizim remains a central tenet of Samaritanism to the point that those who do not participate in the rite are deemed to have abdicated their faith. Even today, when there are only about 800 Samaritans, the head of the Samaritan community is the high priest, who is the elder of the priestly family and resides on Mount Gerizim. (The High Priest does not assume his position through primogeniture, but he is elected from the sons of the previously serving High Priest.)

Only after Israel took over the West Bank in the 1967 Six Day War, however, was the Samaritan community granted unfettered access to Mount Gerizim to perform their 2,500-year-old sacrificial rite, and the Samaritan Paschal sacrificial ceremony is now a formal annual event designed to accommodate thousands of spectators.

Exhibited here is an invitation from the Samaritan community to attend its Passover sacrifice ceremony on Har Gerizim on the 14th of Iyar, 5735 (April 25, 1975), which corresponds to Pesach Sheni, or the “Second Passover.”

 Invitation to the Samaritan Community’s Passover Sacrifice, April 25, 1975.

As described in Numbers 9:9-13, Pesach Sheni takes place each year one month after Erev Pesach, the date which the Torah establishes for bringing the Korban Pesach, i.e., offering the Paschal lamb. This sometimes-forgotten Jewish festival day was instituted to give Jews who could not bring the Paschal sacrifice on the 14th of Nissan – either because they were in a state of ritual impurity or because they were on a “distant journey” – a “second chance” to fulfill this beautiful and important religious obligation.

Some Jews have the custom to eat matzah on Pesach Sheni which, according to some commentators, marks the day when the Jews ran out of the matzah they had so hastily prepared and taken with them when fleeing Egypt in the middle of the night. Several chasidic groups hold a formal meal that includes four cups of wine, matzah, and maror.

According to UNESCO, the Samaritans on Mount Gerizim are today the smallest and most ancient living ethnic community in the world. Samaritanism is designated as a separate religion in Israel, and the Israeli Chief Rabbinate requires Samaritans to undergo a halachic conversion if they wish to be formally recognized as Jews.

See you Sunday, bli neder --Shabbat Shalom and Happy Passover

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

PO Box 7335, Rehavia Jerusalem 9107202


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