Friday, 22 August 2014


According to Rabbi Joseph H. Hertz Chief Rabbi of the British Empirechild sacrifice was actually "rife among the Semitic peoples," and suggests that "in that age, it was astounding that Abraham's God should have interposed to prevent the sacrifice, not that He should have asked for it." Hertz interprets the Akedah as demonstrating to the Jews that human sacrifice is abhorrent. "Unlike the cruel heathen deities, it was the spiritual surrender alone that God required." In Jeremiah 32:35, God states that the later Israelite practice of child sacrifice to the deity Molech "had entered My mind that they should do this abomination."

The more civilized Islamic version differs in Islamic sources, when Abraham tells his son about the vision, his son accepted to be sacrificed for fulfillment of God's command, and no binding to the altar occurred.The Quran states that when Abraham asked for a righteous son, God granted him a son possessing forbearance. The son is not however named directly in the Quran. When the son was able to walk and work with him, Abraham saw a vision about sacrificing his son. When he told his son about it, his son accepted to fulfill the command of God in the vision. When they both had submitted their will to God and were ready for the sacrifice, God told Abraham he had fulfilled the vision, and provided him with a ram to sacrifice instead. God promised to reward Abraham.The next two verses state God also granted Abraham the righteous son Isaac, and promised more rewards.
When did Jews stop offering sacrifices, and why?
For the most part, the practice of sacrifice stopped in the year 70 C.E., when the Roman army destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem, the place where sacrifices were offered. The practice was briefly resumed during the Jewish War of 132-135 C.E., but was ended permanently after that war was lost. There were also a few communities that continued sacrifices for a while after that time.
We stopped offering sacrifices because we do not have a proper place to offer them. The Torah specifically commands us not to offer sacrifices wherever we feel like it; we are only permitted to offer sacrifices in the place that G-d has chosen for that purpose. Deut. 12:13-14. It would be a sin to offer sacrifices in any other place, akin to stealing candles and wine to observe Shabbat.
The last place appointed by G-d for this purpose was the Temple in Jerusalem, but the Temple has been destroyed and a mosque has been erected in the place where it stood. Until G-d provides us with another place, we cannot offer sacrifices. There was at one time an opinion that in the absence of an assigned place, we could offer sacrifices anywhere. Based on that opinion, certain communities made their own sacrificial places. However, the majority ultimately ruled against this practice, and all sacrifice ceased.
Orthodox Jews believe that when the messiah comes, a place will be provided for sacrificial purposes.
Do Jews want to resume sacrifices?
Orthodox Jews do. There are several places in our daily prayer services where we pray for the restoration of the Temple and the resumption of its rituals, including the rituals of sacrifice. The Orthodox Yom Kippur service includes a lengthy recollection of the Temple service, mourns its loss and longs for its restoration. Other movements of Judaism have removed these portions from the liturgy.
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