Israeli settlement reinstitutes forgotten biblical commandment

Friday, June 15, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

Residents of Beit El on Tuesday joyously resumed compliance with the forgotten biblical commandment to tithe the first wool sheared from a sheep born and raised in the Land of Israel to the priests.

Beit El Chief Rabbi Zalman Melamed was eager for his town to join the other scattered few that ceremoniously fulfill the commandment, which is found in Deuteronomy 18:3.

Melamed got his chance three months ago, he told those gathered on Tuesday, when he learned that a local resident of Beit El had decided to buy a small flock of newborn lambs. The rabbi immediately bought five of the lambs for himself, and waited until they were ready to be shorn.

Young men from the community went about shaving the lambs as Melamed addressed the happy crowd, reported Israel National News. The wool was later presented to former Israel chief rabbi Avraham Kahane-Shapira, a man whose priestly lineage is indisputable, according to Melamed.

“These commandments bring us closer to our dream of rebuilding the Holy Temple and supporting the priests,” Melamed told Israel National News.

Town elders estimated that the commandment had not been fulfilled in over 2,000 years in Beit El, a major ancient religious center that lies just north of Jerusalem in the region of Samaria.

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