Rabbi Sharon Shalom

You may remember from your Passover seders that at no point do we take a lamb out back and sacrifice it. Rabbi Sharon Shalom, the Director of the International Center for the Study of Ethiopian Jewry at Ono Academic College explains the history and practice of the Passover lamb sacrifice in Ethiopia. 

Rabbi Sharon notes that this issue highlights one of the main differences between the religious practice of Ethiopian Jewry as compared to that of other Jewish communities around the world who follow the Rabbinic tradition.  Ethiopian Jews did not have access to the oral Torah (the Mishna, Talmud and its commentaries). He notes that if you just read the Torah, it would be clear that even today we should be sacrificing a Passover lamb, exactly as our ancestors did in Egypt. While the Talmudic sages ruled that a distinction must be drawn between the original Passover in Egypt and that celebrated in later generations, Ethiopian Jewish scholars did not draw this distinction. In a fascinating narration, Rabbi Sharon outlines how Ethiopian Jews celebrated Passover in Ethiopia drawing attention to how similar their practice was to the description of the first Passover found in the Torah. While contemporary sages of Rabbinic Judaism have reaffirmed that Jews should not practice the Passover sacrifice in the absence of a functioning Temple in Jerusalem, Rabbi Sharon concludes that in this context and in others, “We must educate ourselves to be able to see reality from the point of view of the other.”

The full article can be found in the “Shabbaton” magazine at https://shabaton1.co.il/?p=17935