Rav Yisrael Ariel says Jews must carry out the laws commanding the Pesach offering even though the Temple has not been rebuilt. The rabbi also took part in a "practice session" of the Pesach offering conducted this week in Jerusalem (see video).

"This reality in which the Temple Mount is in Arab hands must end," he said in an interview with Arutz Sheva Wednesday. "They must open the gates for us. There is no argument that there is a duty to bring the Pesach offering even if the Temple is not rebuilt."

Rav Ariel calls upon the Chief Rabbis to demand the opening of the gates of the Temple Mount on Friday, the day of the Pesach Seder. "They should make a formal request to the government of Israel, to open the gates of the Temple Mount so we can bring our offerings."

"Everything is ready – there are clothes for the Priests, an altar and vessels – all they need to do is open. We have asked the Chief Rabbis several times but have received no answer until now," he said.

The avoidance of bringing the Pesach offering is a grave matter, he said. "We are afraid of our own shadow. What will happen if the gates of the Mount are opened? They are afraid of what others will say, but they do not fear as regards keeping the Torah and Mitzvot."

A person who does not bring the Pesach offering, says the Torah,  is punished by "din karet," [lit. -- 'cut off', meaning that a person is punished by G-d, not the courts, and is thus cut off from the Nation of Israel], he explained. "It is written: 'that person shall be cut off from his people.'"

The importance of the Pesach holiday can be understood from the fact that there is only one other commandment whose omission carries "din karet" and that is circumcision. Both commandments have to do with proving that one sees himself as part of the Jewish people. In the desert, Israelites who could not bring the sacrifice because they were ritually unclean asked Moses for another chance and were given one a month later.

In Temple times, every family in Israel came to Jerusalem for the Pesach offering on the eve of the fourteenth of the month of Nisan. Each family sanctified a lamb or kid to G-d at the Temple, and then roasted it and partook of the meat along with matzah and bitter herbs at a festive meal to remember and praise G-d for the Exodus from slavery in Egypt.