Pesach and the Second Temple

Pesach and the Second TempleWhat was the first Yom Tov observed in the Second Beis Hamikdash after it was built? And what was the last one observed there right before it was destroyed by the Romans? Answer: Pesach.

The Book of Ezra (6:16-20) relates how the construction of the Second Beis Hamikdash was completed in Adar 515 BCE and immediately followed by the celebration of Pesach. Kohanim, Leviim and those Judeans who had come up from the exile in Babylonia joyously marked the rededication of the Beis Hamikdash with numerous sacrifices. The priestly and Levitical rotations were reinstated, and the worship was conducted in accordance with the Torah’s commands. The account of Ezra stresses the purification rituals, as well as the fact that some of the Jews who remained in Eretz Yisrael after the deportations of 597 and 586 BCE joined in observing Pesach. As expected, Chag Hamatzos was observed for seven days.

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