KORBAN PESACH:
SYMBOL OF UNITY & NATIONAL IDENTITY


The importance of the Korban Pesach ceremony for Jewish national unity and identity is emphasized by the Torah in various places. Converts to Judaism are expected to perform the sacrifice as a mark of their total entry into the Jewish people. Here again we have the solid connection between the Korban Pesach and Brit Milah. Only someone who is circumcised can perform the sacrifice, and conversely, a Jewish apostate is forbidden to eat from the Korban.

Since the Jews during their 40 year wanderings in the desert were not circumcised, they could not observe the sacrifice. Only when the Jews crossed the Jordan into Israel under Joshua and underwent mass circumcision the next logical step in the reaffirmation of a unique Jewish identity was to perform the Korban Pesach (Joshua 1 1:12).

Another connection between Korban Pesach and circumcision is the identical penalty imposed on someone who has failed to perform each of these positive commandments. In both cases, the punishment is karet (separation) a form of spiritual death and severance from the Jewish people. To ensure that such instances were few, the Torah provided a second opportunity for people who were far away or ritually impure and thus prevented from performing the commandment. Korban Pesach enables us to connect with our Jewish identity and unity; the absence of Korban Pesach is an impediment to Jewish unity and identity.

The performance of the KorbanPesach was a logical first step following every national and religious revival after periods of moral decline and assimilation.

When King Josiah decided to purge the country from idolatry, his first step after removing all idols was to celebrate the Korban Pesach (Kings Chapter 23)

In later generations circumstances prevented Jews from visiting the Temple and King Hezekiah decided to remedy the situation by summoning all the people to celebrate Passover in Jerusalem and perform the ritual of the Korban Pesach (Chronicles II, Chapter 30) King Hezekiah also realized that the best way of reinstituting unity among the Jewish people was by means of the Korban Pesach.

When the Jewish people returned from the Babylonian captivity, Ezra the Scribe sought to reestablish Jerusalem's centrality for the Jewish people. At that time, many Jews, especially among the elites, preferred the fleshpots of Babylon. He did this by offering the Korban Pesach for the Jews who had remained in the Diaspora, as well those who had properly returned to Jerusalem. (Ezra 6:19-22)

We can see from the above that the Korban Pesach was the supreme symbol of Jewish unity. Such unity never came at the expense of individuality, for it achieved an exquisite balance. While this commandment was to be performed by the entire Jewish people the fact that each quorum was composed of family and friends demonstrated that unity would not swallow up personality and individuality. The loss of the Korban Pesach left a void in the Jewish people who were deprived of a very potent symbol of unity.

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FROM THIS
ARTICLE

"Though the entire nation offered the Korban Pesach, each quorum was composed of family and friends, ensuring that Jewish unity would not swallow up personality and individuality but rather enhance it."

"The performance of the Korban Pesach was a logical first step towards national and religious revival following periods of moral decline and assimilation."

"40 years after the Exodus, when the Jewish People crossed the Jordan into Israel and underwent mass circumcision and affirmed their unique Jewish identity by offering Korban Pesach (Joshua 1 1-12)."


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Korban Pesach Committee of the Sanhedrin Initiative