"MAY WE BE INSCRIBED IN THE BOOK OF LIFE!"
When we study the service of the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) in the Holy Temple on Yom Kippur, we begin to appreciate the incredible intensity of the day. Having immersed himself for days in preparation for his task, the Kohen Gadol must work with the utmost celerity and precision, from the very moment that Yom Kippur commences to its very final seconds. He has no breaks, no time-outs. He has no do-overs and he can't call a friend if he can't remember what comes next. The Kohen Gadol must be completely and utterly focused. His mind and body and soul must move in unison, as he advances through the day, one vital task after another. He bears on his shoulders the ultimate responsibility for himself, for his family, for his people, and for the world. His task is enormous.
We are not the Kohen Gadol, but in a very real way, our task and our responsibility are no less than that of the Kohen Gadol. True, we are allowed more wiggle room on this Great and Awesome Day, but our one hundred percent presence - physical, mental and spiritual - is every bit as required. Yom Kippur provides for us an unparalleled opportunity for correction and recalibration, for realignment, recommitment and redirection in our lives. Opportunity literally knocks on our door on Yom Kippur, as the Gates of Teshuva (repentance, return) open, and remain open from start to finish. G-d's absolute attention is completely focused on each and every one of us. Now is our golden moment for rectifying our past mistakes and starting again in life. And yes, the change that we can effect on this day will not only impact our own lives throughout the year ahead, but the lives of our loved ones, our communities, our peoples and all humanity. Just like the Kohen Gadol. It's an enormous task, but we are tailor-made for it. G-d has granted us this opportunity because He wants us to succeed and He knows that we will succeed.
This past year, with its seemingly endless calamities both local and global, has taught us that we all are responsible and have a role to play in insuring our own well being, the well being of our neighbors, our families and loved ones, our communities, our countries and all humankind. Yom Kippur is an opportunity to internalize that message and begin our work toward a year of healing and unity.
We enter the day with no small measure of trepidation, which is only natural, but it is tempered and sweetened by the knowledge that Yom Kippur exists for one reason and one reason only: G-d loves us!
The Temple Institute wishes to extend to all our friends and supporters, to the entire nation of Israel, to those who hold dear the people of Israel and the G-d of Israel, and to all the sons and daughters of Adam, Gmar Chatima Tova - May we all be inscribed in the Book of Life!
Learn how Yom Kippur is observed in the Holy Temple!
TEMPLE TALK RADIO: TRANSITIONING FROM THE YOM KIPPUR HIGH TO THE SUKKOT JOY
OUR SLATE WIPED CLEAN AND WAY BEYOND TIME
THE UNIVERSAL APPEAL OF SUKKOT AND THE IMPERATIVE TO BE HAPPY
The days between the purifying experience of Yom Kippur and the joyful ecstasy of Sukkot are like no other days throughout the year. Our bodies are weightless and time is standing still. This Friday evening Sukkot begins with a blast of energizing gratitude and joy. This year, so many of the joyful events of Sukkot here in the land of Israel will be cancelled, due to Covid 19. But Torah commands us to be joyful on Sukkot, so we will find a way. Chag Sukkot Sameach - A Joyful Sukkot to All!
POSITIVITY & THE HOLY TEMPLE: BE HAPPY - IT'S A MITZVA!
Simchah - happiness - is a positive commandment! To strive for happiness is a must and never more so than when celebrating the pilgrimage festival of Sukkot: "And you shall rejoice in your Festival" (Deut. 16:14) Torah tells us, specifically referring to Sukkot. The greatest simchah imaginable was the simchah generated by the Water Libation Ceremony which took place in the Holy Temple throughout the intermediate days of Sukkot. Simchah was an essential prerequisite for receiving prophecy and simchah is the surest way to connect to G-d. Being happy is not necessarily the easiest of commandments to fulfill, but its rewards are manifold, and its power is contagious. Chag Sameach, be happy!
WEEKLY TORAH STUDY: HA'AZINU
Ha'azinu - listen - literally, give ear - is the name of the song that Moshe composes and performs before Israel on the last day of his life. It opens with a paean to G-d's greatness and closes with a declaration of G-d's inescapable power and presence. The intermediate verses deal with a wayward Israel, a people who has lost its way, grown fat and abandoned G-d. But by Ha'azinu's closing verses it becomes crystal clear that G-d's ultimate control over our lives is too all inclusive to be ignored or taken for granted for long. Israel will always return to G-d and G-d will always take Israel back. Gemar Chatima Tova - Have a meaningful Yom Kippur, and may we all be written into the Book of Life!
Ha'azinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-52)
Parashat Ha'azinu is read on Shabbat:
Tishrei 8, 5781/September 26, 2020
THE WORLD OF SHOFARS
Hearing the sound of the shofar is the single, unique commandment of Rosh HaShana. The shofar we blow on Rosh HaShana is made from a ram's horn. Why is that? Can a shofar be made from the horns of other animals? What makes a kosher shofar? Rabbi Dr. Natan Slifkin, the Founder and Director of the Biblical Museum of Natural History in Israel, answers these questions and much, much more, in this fascinating, hands on teaching about shofarot.
The Temple Institute thanks Rabbi Slifkin for sharing with us his love and knowledge of shofarot.