Sunday, April 13, 2008

Korban Pesach

Dovbear recently re-posted to his blog his ideal Passover menu. It's not a menu I would use myself, because it seems to me to be uninspired. But sifting through the comments (his readers range from left wing Reform to right wing Chareidi) I noticed a few things. Some commentors feel that red meat should not be eaten at the Seder. Others say red meat is fine so long as you don't grill or roast it. And then there are people I know who won't eat lamb on pesach at all.

The reason behind all this has to do with the notion that since the destruction of the temple, it is impossible to bring the Korban Pesach and therefore one should not eat it. Rabbi Yehoshua Weber of Clanton Park Synagogue, based on Shulchan Aruch OC 476 writes:

Today, given that we have no bais ha’mikdash, and consequentially no Pesach offering, we refrain from eating roast meat or fowl at the seder lest someone think that we are eating some sort of mock Pesach offering. (Weber, 12)

So when all is said and done, it is this nostalgia for the temple that has inspired this reticence. That it is in the Shulchan Arukh may even give it the force of halakhah. But the Reform Jew must determine for himself whether this halakhah is worthy of following. Paragraph 5 of the Pittsburgh Platform of 1885 states that we do not expect a return to "a sacrificial system under the sons of Aaron." While much of that paragraph has been reversed by subsequent platforms, this statement remains unabrogated. Such a return is incompatible with the notion of a progressive Judaism. That being said, the remembrance of the sacrifices, and most especially of the Korban Pesach has moved from the Beit Hamikdash to the mikdash m'at of the home, therefore I will be serving lamb at my seder. I won't be roasting it though, but this is only because I find that lamb slow cooked in packets means that dinner will not burn if the Maggid should go long (as it should be allowed to.)

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