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Reciting the Order of the Paschal Sacrifice

Reciting the Order of the Paschal Sacrifice

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It is customary to recite the order of the Passover sacrifice after Minchah, afternoon prayers, on Erev Passover. This order of the Passover sacrifice consists of the portions in the Torah, in the Prophets, and in the Writings that refer to the sacrifice, as well as a description of the sacrificial service as it was actually performed in the Bet haMikdash.

This recital is in accordance with the verse: We shall give the service of our lips in place of the oxen [of the sacrifices] (Hoshe'a 14:3). We yearn to fulfill the mitzvah of the Passover sacrifice as we were commanded in our Holy Temple and in the company of all our fellow Jews who made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. But since we have not yet merited this, we offer our prayers instead and read the chapters which tell us of the Passover offering and its special mitzvos.

The order of the Passover Sacrifice is preceded by the following prayer:

Master of the World, You have commanded us to offer the Passover sacrifice at its proper time on the fourteenth of the first month, with the kohanim carrying out the service, the Leviyim standing on their platform, and the Israelites in their positions, all singing Your praise. But now, because of our sins, the Beis ha?Mikdash has been destroyed, the Passover sacrifice has been annulled, we have no kohen performing the service, no Levi standing atop the platform, no Israelite in his position. Let the offerings of our lips take the place of the oxen. May it therefore be Your will, Lord our G‑d, and G‑d of our fathers, that the words that we may come up and offer the Passover sacrifice before You at its proper time, as You have written in Your Torah, given to us by Moshe, Your servant.

We then read the chapters and verses relevant to the Passover sacrifice.

In Jerusalem it has been the custom to recite this at the Western Wall. With tears and subdued hearts, those gathered at our ancient holy site pray to G‑d that He bring us speedily to the time when we will celebrate the Festivals exulting in His Service, rejoicing over the rebuilding of His city, that we may eat there of the sacrifices and of the Passover offerings, carrying out the mitzvot which our Creator has commanded us.

Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov, OBM, was one of Israel's most acclaimed religious authors, whose books on the Jewish way of life and the Chassidic movement have become renowned. Text translated from the Hebrew by Nachman Bulman and Dovid Landseman.
Excerpted from: The Book of Our Heritage. Published and copyright by Feldheim Publications.
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