by Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5TJT.com
This guide is presented, as a last minute “just in case.” It is presented in honor of an old friend, Rabbi Yitzchok Scherman, who made the request. Also, the Chofetz Chaim tells us that if we learn the halachos – it is as if we had actually brought it. So, technically, it is not merely – “just in case” – but it is like we actually brought it.
PROCEDURE OF THE KORBAN PESACH
It should be noted that the Korban Pesach must only be brought in groups. Anyone within a three day walk of Yerushalayim must join up with the group. The group is called a Chavurah. One may not eat of the Korban Pesach if one was not previously a member of a group. The Chavurah is generally made up of a family and perhaps more people too. Any child who can eat a Kezayis or more may be included in the group. Every Chavurah must have at least one adult male who is an Ezrach B’Yisroel.
The Chavurah must consume the entire animal and each person must consume at least one Kezayis. Thus, the maximum number in the Chavurah is equal to the total number of Kezaisim in the animal. Theoretically, a Chavurah could be comprised of one person, but it cannot be consumed in the form of Achila Gassa – excess eating.
Everyone in the Chavurah must be tahor, ritually pure, in order to eat from it. If they are tameh – then they must partake of it on Pesach shaini – one month later. However, this is only when the majority of Klal Yisroel is tahor – pure. If the majority of Klal Yisroel is Tameh – then they partake of it on the first Pesach.
The lamb or kid goat must be male. It must be less than one year old. It may not have any blemishes.
On the afternoon of Erev Pesach a representative of each Chaburah brings the lamb or kid goat to the Beis HaMikdash. This is all done after the Korban Tamid of the afternoon was brought, after the Ktores was burned and after the Menorah lamps were fixed and trimmed. The Chavurah representatives are then brought into the Azarah of the Beis HaMikdash, along with the lambs and kid goats.
The Azarah was a large courtyard in the Bais HaMikdash that contained the Mizbayach and the Heichal, the three-part building where only Kohanim may enter. The Kohanim would get the knives for Shechita in the Ulam, although any Jew was permitted to shecht the Korban Pesach. The Korban must be slaughtered with the correct Kavanah. It must be leshaim the Korban Pesach and for the consumption of that particular Chavurah. If either intent is absent the Korban is invalid.
When the Azarah is filled with people, the gates of the Beis HaMikdash are then locked. There were a total of three shifts only, and each shift had to have at least 30 people. If there were only 50 people who came to slaughter the Korban Pesach, thirty enter the Azarah and slaughter their sacrificial animals. Ten leave and another ten enter. Then ten more leave and another ten enter.
During the Shechita and the offering the Leviim sing Hallel (Tehillim 113-118). Musical instruments are played as well by the Kohanim or the leviim. The Kohanim blow the Shofar three times, a Tekiyah, a truah and a tekiyah each time that the Hallel is said. The Hallel is repeated until the Shechitas stop but if the Shechita stops then the Hallel is stopped as well.
The Kohanim capture the blood of the lamb or kid goat in a special gold or silver container called a “Bozich.” It has a round bottom so that the blood does not coagulate before it gets to the Mizbayach. The Kohanim pass the container hand by hand and the last Kohain pours it upon the base of the Mizbayach. The Kohain should pour it in a single action towards the Mizbayach’s base. The container is then passed back to be used for another Korban Pesach.
The animal’s abdomen is cut open and the fatty portions within called the Amorim are removed, placed in a vessel, salted and then taken by a Kohain to the Mizbayach to be burned. The animal is taken by the Chavurah representative to the home where the Chavurah will eat it. The hide of the lamb or goat is taken home by the owner as well.
The Korban Pesach must be roasted over an open fire back at home. It must be roasted in its entirety – not piece by piece. In order to do this, a non-metal spit is placed through the mouth and out the back end below the tail and the legs must be able to dangle so that the whole animal will be roasted. It can also be placed on a grate in manner that the fire is roasting it and not the grate’s heat. Only one animal per spit is allowed.
HOW IT IS EATEN
The Korban Pesach is eaten at the very end of the Pesach Seder. It is eaten with Matzah and Marror. It must be eaten al hasovah – on a full stomach. The Korban Pesach must be consumed in its entiretyand only by the members of that particular Chavurah. eaten, and only by members of the pre-appointed Chavuroh. Everyone in the Chavurah must eat a minimum of a Kezayis. It may only be eaten within the boundaries of Yerushalayim. It may also only be eaten in a house or an area that is surrounded by mechitzos where the Chavurah has gathered to eat it. It may also only be eaten when everyone in the Chavurah is gathered together.
If any meat of the Korban Pesach is taken out of the house after the they have begun to eat of it – it is rendered Pasul even if it is brought back in. No bone with meat on it may be broken during the eating (or roasting of it as well).
If a number of groups or Chavurohs are eating in the same house, a mechitzah must be placed when the Korban is being consumed. They should turn away from facing other Chavuros when partaking of the Korban Pesach. They may not share of each other’s Korban pesach – even if one group has a lot left and the other group has very little.
If through some error a person was a member of two Chavuros – he may only eat of the first one that was slaughtered.
If someone falls asleep while eating the Korban Pesach and then wakes up, he or she may no longer continue eating of it. Nothing is eaten after the Korban Pesach that evening either, and the Hallel is sung upon completion of the eating. There is also a prohibition of Nosar wherein nothing may be left over of the Korban Pesach.
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