There are many Torah commandments (mitzvot) that even the most observant Jew living outside of Israel will never see or perform. Some of these mitzvot are making a comeback and having a most unanticipated effect. Last Saturday night, a baby donkey was brought to the Tomb of King David on Mount Zion to be redeemed. What many consider an obscure agricultural ritual turned into a joyous celebration that ended with passionate cries for the coming of the Messiah.

Petter Chamor (redeeming a firstborn donkey) is mentioned three times in the Torah (Exodus 13:13; Exodus 34:20; Numbers 18:15). Redeeming the firstborn donkey is necessary since, when it is born, it is considered Hekdesh, or sanctified, and belonging to God via his emissary, the kohen, or high priest. The owner of the donkey’s mother has the right to use the donkey after he redeems it by giving a sheep to the priest in its place. The story begins with a man from Bnei Berak who owned a jenny – a female donkey – which gave birth to a foal. He approached Rabbi Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb, which is located in Jerusalem’s Old City. READ MORE