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THE BLESSING OF TAMMUZ

 

Chodesh tov - have a good month! This Shabbat and Sunday are a two day Rosh Chodesh - New Month - celebration! In Temple times, after the testimony of two witnesses who reported seeing the new moon was verified by the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, the kohanim would be alerted and the proper offerings would be made: "two young bulls, one ram, and seven lambs in the first year, all unblemished... And one young male goat for a sin offering to HaShem; it shall be offered up in addition to the continual burnt offering and its libation." (Numbers 28:11,15)

Today, in lieu of the Holy Temple, we celebrate Rosh Chodesh with the special Musaf prayer which mentions the Temple offerings and with the singing of the Hallel prayer, the same psalms that the Levites sang in the Holy Temple while the offerings were being made on the altar.

The new month is Tammuz, the fourth month of the Hebrew calendar. Every month of the Hebrew calendar has its own personality, its own character, its own special blessing, often manifested in a particular holiday or historical event that occurs during the month. Nisan, of course, is the month of Passover and the Exodus from Egypt. Iyar is the month of Israel Memorial Day, Israel Independence Day and Jerusalem Day, all recalling the birth and growth of the modern state of Israel. Sivan, of course, is all about Shavuot, the holiday of the firstfruits and the receiving of Torah at Mount Sinai.

The month of Tammuz contains no holidays. The 17th of Tammuz is a dawn to dark fast day. It was the day that the Roman legions in the year 70 CE breached the walls of Jerusalem, leading to the destruction of the second Holy Temple three weeks later on the 9th of Av. The 9th of Av, known in Hebrew as Tish’a b’Av, is the very same day that the first Holy Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The 17th of Tammuz begins a three week period of mourning for the Holy Temple, which culminates in the full day fast on the 9th of Av.

The month of Tammuz also bears a second burden. The twelve spies sent by Moshe to search out the land of Israel in anticipation of conquering and settling the land, entered into the land of Canaan on the last day of Sivan and returned to the Israelite desert encampment on the 9th of Av, a full forty days inside the land of Israel, thirty of those days which are the month of Tammuz. Instead of reporting on a beautiful land awaiting its rightful inhabitants, ten of the twelve spies spread the evil news that Israel could never overcome the current inhabitants of Canaan. Their evil report not only plunged Israel into despair, it also cast a pall upon the month of Tammuz, a pall which mars Tammuz to this day.

But as we said above, every month contains its blessing and no month is fated to be a month of doom or discouragement. Therefore it is up to us today to make every effort to reawaken the slumbering blessing of Tammuz by saying and seeing only good things about the land of Israel each and every day throughout the month of Tammuz, effectively overturning the evil report of the spies, and transforming the month of Tammuz into a month of renewal, a month of rebuilding, a month of promise and a month of life! Today, not just a contingent of spies is speaking ill of Israel, but much of the entire world has adopted the nihilistic message of hopelessness first expressed by the spies. We, each and every one of us, need to be Calevs and Yehoshuas and tell the world loudly and clearly,  "We can surely go up and take possession of it, for we can indeed overcome it," for "the land we passed through to scout is an exceedingly good land. If HaShem desires us, He will bring us to this land and give it to us, a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Numbers 13:30, 14:7-8)

Transforming the month of Tammuz from a month of evil report to a month of tidings of promise and blessing is the first step that each of us can take toward the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, “a house of prayer for all nations,” (Isaiah 56:7) and a place of peace and brotherhood for all humanity. We possess the ability to make this promise a reality. Begin today by opening your Bible and reading a verse about the beauty and blessing of the holy land of Israel. Chodesh tov - let’s make this a very, very good month!

Key to the pictures above: top right: witnesses to the new moon heading to Jerusalem to give their testimony; center right: witness to the new moon testifying before the Sanhedrin; bottom right: Kohanim performing the Rosh Chodesh offerings; left: signaling to all Israel, from mountain top to mountain top, the arrival of the new moon.

 

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SILVER TRUMPETS FOR OUR HEROIC SOLDIERS!

 

Play A Part In Israel's War Against Evil!

"If you go to war in your land against an adversary that oppresses you, you shall blow a teruah with the trumpets and be remembered before HaShem your G-d, and thus be saved from your enemies." (Numbers 10:9)

Israel is at war with an enemy that sorely oppresses us with terror but our soldiers are filled with purpose and faith in HaShem, and firm in the knowledge that "it is Hashem, your God, Who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to deliver you!" (Deuteronomy 20:4)

Social media has been filled these past weeks with photos and videos of Israeli soldiers preparing for battle with prayer, with song, with reading from Torah and with sounding the shofar. We are witnessing with our own eyes that HaShem, indeed, is going with our troops "to battle your enemies for you to deliver you!"

It is a Torah commandment to prepare for battle by sounding silver trumpets, the same silver trumpets sounded by the kohanim in the Holy Temple, so that we should "be remembered before HaShem your G-d, and thus be saved from your enemies."

The Temple Institute has begun manufacturing silver trumpets to distribute to the IDF rabbis so that they can be sounded by our soldiers as they make their way to battle. Two trumpets are required to be sounded simultaneously, and each one needs to be produced from a single piece of silver. The cost of each trumpet is significant and every donation toward producing the trumpets will be gratefully accepted! We are calling upon friends of Israel around the world to play a true Torah role in Israel's war against today's Amalek, the villainous tribe who "happened upon you on the way and cut off all the stragglers at your rear, when you were faint and weary, and he did not fear G-d." (Deuteronomy 25:18)

 

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LEVITICAL CHOIR PERFORMS AT THE SOUTHERN WALL OF THE TEMPLE MOUNT!

 

Last week, during the intermediate days of Sukkot, the Temple Institute's Levitical Choir joined dozens of other musical Levites in a festive performance of Psalm 27. The Temple Institute's Levitical Choir performers can be recognized by their Levitical uniforms, and, of course, the silver trumpets are those reproduced by the Temple Institute. The concert was a joint production of The Temple Institute, the East Jerusalem Development Company, the Municipality of Jerusalem, and others.

The performance took place on the steps leading up to the ancient Hulda Gates on the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount, the gates through which thousands of pilgrims once ascended from the City of David to the Holy Temple.

"One thing I ask of HaShem, that I seek - that I may dwell in the house of HaShem all the days of my life, to see the pleasantness of HaShem and to visit His Temple all the days of my life."

TEMPLE TALK: THE ORDINANCE OF THE RED HEIFER!

ACHIEVING PURITY THROUGH THE ASHES OF THE RED HEIFER!

THE DEATHS OF MIRIAM & AHARON!

 

The detailed instructions concerning the ashes of the red heifer which opens parashat Chukat, divides Israel's wilderness experience between the first two years and the final and fortieth year in the wilderness. Miriam passes away, Moshe and Aharon receive bad news and wars erupt as Israel moves closer to the promised land!

Remember: Helping to make HaShem's dream of a Sanctuary in which His Presence can dwell amongst us, is the work of the Temple Institute! Join us in our efforts!

 

WEEKLY TORAH STUDY: CHUKAT/חקת

 

The power of persuasion must be applied responsibly and patiently. This is what Moshe learned the hard way when he struck, not once, but twice, the rock that he was instructed by G-d to simply talk to, no violent acts of force necessary. Moshe's momentary lapse of focus angered HaShem, causing Moshe and Aharon to lose their opportunity to enter into Canaan.

Chukat (Numbers 19:1 - 22:1)
Parashat Chukat is read on Shabbat:
Tammuz 7, 5784/July 13, 2024

 

 

 

 

TISH'A B'AV: BUILD A HOUSE FOR HASHEM!

 

"Be strong and have courage! Build a House for HaShem!" In this scene from a film soon to become an integral part of the Temple Institute's Jerusalem based Visitors Center experience, the prophet Samuel charges King David with the task of building the Holy Temple!

 

 

 

TISH'A B'AV: THE GLORY OF THIS LAST HOUSE SHALL BE GREATER THAN THE FIRST!

 

"The Glory of this Last House Shall be Greater than the First!" In this scene from a film soon to become an integral part of the Temple Institute's Jerusalem based Visitors Center experience, Zerubavel from the house of David and Kohen Gadol (High Priest) Yehoshua consult with the prophet Haggai who instructs them to waste no time in rebuilding the Holy Temple!

 

 

 

THE TEMPLE INSTITUTE: BRINGING THE HOLY TEMPLE TO LIFE!

 

"Speak to the children of Israel, and have them take for Me an offering; from every person whose heart inspires him to generosity, you shall take My offering..." (Ex. 25:2)

Thus begins Terumah, this week's Torah reading, in which HaShem reveals His desire that Israel "make for Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst." (Ex. 25:8)

The Temple Institute is dedicated to making the Holy Temple a reality in our day, and toward this end, the Temple Institute has, for 36 years, been building and planning and researching and teaching and sharing with you our reconstructed sacred vessels and priestly garments, our books and paintings, our red heifer candidates, our teachings and insights and our love for HaShem and the Holy Temple!

It is only through the generosity of your hearts that we are able to continue our important work. Only together can we build for HaShem a sanctuary and "a house of prayer for all nations!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF THE TEMPLE INSTITUTE!

THE RED HEIFER!

 

The ashes of the red heifer, essential for the renewal of the Divine service in the Holy Temple, is one of the Torah's most fascinating and mysterious commandments. In our brand new in-depth entry, learn what constitutes "a perfectly red unblemished cow," how the ashes are made and how they are applied, the history and the mystery of the red heifer, and current efforts to raise a red heifer. Beautifully illustrated and extensively footnoted!

 

 

INTRODUCING THE TEMPLE INSTITUTE'S LEVITICAL CHOIR ACADEMY

 

In yet another major step toward preparing for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple and the renewal of the Divine service, the Temple Institute has established the Levitical Choir Academy, dedicated to teaching today's descendants of the tribe of Levi the Levitical songbook - the songs that are sung by the Levitical Choir in accompaniment to the Daily offerings and the Additional Festival offerings performed in the Holy Temple. Levi'im from all across Israel have already responded to the Temple Institute's initiative, and as these video clip show, are already honing their skills as a proper Levitical Choir. Levitical garments are currently being designed for the choir to be worn during their service in the rebuilt Holy Temple.

 

 

BLUE, PURPLE & CRIMSON: THE COLORS OF THE TABERNACLE!

 

In the book of Exodus we read of the building of the desert Tabernacle, the Sanctuary in which G-d will dwell amongst His people. We learn of the beautiful fabric dyed sky blue and royal purple and crimson red. We learn that the Israelites, inspired by G-d with wisdom, understanding and knowledge, produced these colors. But Torah doesn't reveal the secret, how? In our day these ancient, long forgotten arts and sciences have been rediscovered here in Israel. Enjoy this glimpse into the fascinating renaissance of biblical dye-making, filmed in the re-established town of Shiloh, at the site of the ancient Tabernacle.

 

JUDITH ABRAHAMS, THE MASTER WEAVER WHO WOVE THE HIGH PRIEST'S ROBE

 

Judith Abrahams is a master weaver who was commissioned by the Temple Institute to weave the me'il techelet - the all blue tunic of the Kohen Gadol (High Priest), which can be seen at the Institute's Jerusalem exhibition. In this beautiful documentary, which was filmed by Graham and Ronit Humberstone in 2020, Judith shares her personal journey and enlightens us with her passion for weaving which has led her to study traditional Navajo weaving with the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, and then, employing the "chochmat lev - wisdom of the heart" (Exodus 35:25) that she accrued, to weave the High Priest's robe. Judith now sets her sights on weaving the Parochet, the massive curtain which separated the Temple Sanctuary (Kodesh) from the Kodesh HaKodeshim (the Holy of Holies). The Temple Institute thanks Graham and Ronit for allowing us to present their video on our YouTube channel, in order to share Judith's story with a wide audience. And, of course, great thanks and appreciation to Judith Abrahams, for blessing us with her talents and her inspiration.

"And all the skilled (chochmat lev) women spun with their own hands, and brought what they had spun, in blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and in fine linen. And all the women who excelled in that skill spun the goats’ hair." Exodus 35:25-26)

RED HEIFERS ARRIVE IN ISRAEL!

On Thursday, September 15, 2022, 5 PM, 5 perfect, unblemished red heifers arrived in Israel from the USA. A modest ceremony was held at the unloading bay of the cargo terminal at Ben Gurion airport, where the new arrivals were greeted and speeches were made by the incredible people who have put their hearts and souls and means into making this historic/prophetic day become a reality.

 

We invite you to join us in our worldwide effort to produce the longed-for ashes of the red heifer!

 

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