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.
TEMPLE TALK RADIO: SUKKOT - THE FESTIVAL OF JOY!
IT'S ALL TEMPORARY - THE SUKKOT SECRET TO HAPPINESS!
THE FOUR SPECIES BIND US ALL TOGETHER
The seven day festival of Sukkot is all about the absolute and sublime happiness of having total trust in HaShem! He protected us during forty years in the wilderness and He can protect us every day of our lives. We only need to let go of the silly trappings of permanence and false security which ultimately only bring us down. From the Simchat Beit HaShoeva to the Water Libation Ceremony, Sukkot is an explosion of joy, prayer and gratitude.
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TISHA BAV ON THE TEMPLE MOUNT 5781/2021
1,679 Jews ascended the Temple Mount today, the 9th of Av, 5781/2021, the day of the destruction of both Holy Temples. I was one of them. Join me on the Temple Mount.
WEEKLY TORAH STUDY: ZOT HABRACHA/זאת הברכה
What is the "fire of religion" That Moshe invokes as he sets out to bless the tribes of Israel, his final act before ascending Mount Nevo from where he will leave this world. Fire can both enlighten and empower, but it also can consume and devastate. Is there a reason why Moshe prefaced his blessings with an image suggesting unlimited potential, and at the same time, an ever-present danger?
Zot Habracha (Deuteronomy 33:1 - 34:12)
Parashat Zot Habracha is read on Simchat Torah:
Tishrei 22, 5782/September 28, 2021
RED HEIFER UPDATE, MARCH 1, 2021
Raising a perfect red heifer, fit and kosher to be used for the Torah required ashes of the red heifer necessary for achieving the highest level of ritual purity is a challenge! Even a few non-red hairs disqualifies a red heifer candidate. But the Temple Institute is determined to produce the first red heifer ashes in over 2000 years. This update of the status of our current red heifer candidates was timed to coincide with Shabbat Parashat Para - the next to last Shabbat of the month of Adar on which we read Numbers, chapter 19, which details the laws of the red heifer.
Learn more about the red heifer!
PARASHAT SHEKALIM: THE HALF SHEKEL OFFERING
Every year, on the first Shabbat of the month of Adar, (February 13), Jews in synagogues around the world read, in addition to the weekly Torah reading, the following six verses from Exodus 30:11-16. This is known as Parashat Shekalim:
"HaShem spoke to Moshe, saying: 'When you take the sum of the children of Israel according to their numbers, let each one give to HaShem an atonement for his soul when they are counted; then there will be no plague among them when they are counted. This they shall give, everyone who goes through the counting: half a shekel according to the holy shekel. Twenty gerahs equal one shekel; half of such a shekel shall be an offering to HaShem. Everyone who goes through the counting, from the age of twenty and upward, shall give an offering to HaShem. The rich shall give no more, and the poor shall give no less than half a shekel, with which to give the offering to HaShem, to atone for your souls. You shall take the silver of the atonements from the children of Israel and use it for the work of the Tent of Meeting; it shall be a remembrance for the children of Israel before HaShem, to atone for your souls.'"
It is read on the first Shabbat of Adar as a remembrance of the days of the Holy Temple, in which officials were sent from the offices of the Holy Temple to every city and village throughout the land of Israel. There they would set themselves up in the central plazas and collect the half shekel (machatzit hashekel) donation for the funding of the public offerings throughout the upcoming year. It was obligatory for every soul in Israel (over the age of twenty) to make the half shekel contribution. To this day it is customary for Jews to make charitable donations throughout the month of Adar in the name of the half shekel donation.
As stated in the Torah, "there will be no plague among them when they are counted!" The half shekel donation is a guard against pestilence and pandemic!
Why half a shekel and not a whole shekel? To teach us that none of us are complete without the other. Only together can we complete one another and make positive change in the world!
The current value of the biblical half shekel is $12.00. All half shekel donations made to the Temple Institute will go toward the physical, spiritual and educational preparations necessary for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple!