RETURN TO THE TEMPLE MOUNT!
On May 26, 2021, just days after the end of open hostilities between Israel and the Hamas terror enclave in Gaza, just days after Israel reopened the Temple Mount to Jews, following three weeks during which the Mount was closed, and just one day after Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas stated that a Jew-free Temple Mount was his precondition for any resolution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Yitzchak Reuven of the Temple Institute ascended the Temple Mount along with his fellow Jews for an unextraordinary hour of open communal prayer on the Temple Mount.
Unextraordinary, because this is what should be the norm on the Temple Mount, yet extraordinary because open Jewish prayer on the Mount until very recently, was an arrestable offense. Why is the world so afraid of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount? Is not the Temple Mount "a house of prayer for all nations," as the prophet Isaiah foretold three thousand years ago? Have people so little faith in G-d that they want to banish people from praying to Him in the place upon which He chose to rest His presence?
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!
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!
TEMPLE TALK RADIO: THE REBELLION OF KORACH - THEN AND NOW!
KORACH - THE MAN WHO WANTED IT ALL AND MORE
BETWEEN LIFE & DEATH, AHARON SAVES A NATION
The only thing more frightening than reading the story of the rebellion of the no-holds-barred Korach, in his desperate grasp for power, power, and more power, is to see it all happening again today, here in the land of Israel. When nations lose their nerve, even for an instant, the ne'er-do-wells step in to reap the whirlwind. Korach sought G-d's throne, using Moshe & Aharon as a stepping stone, and ended up six feet under, buried alive, forever.
WEEKLY TORAH STUDY: KORACH
When all is said and done, man's most powerful weapon remains the spoken word. Technology hasn't replaced the word, but it has rendered the spoken, or written, or posted, or tweeted word more potentially dangerous than ever. Korach was a master wordsmith, a silver tongued manipulator, whose sugar coated venomous words caused more death and destruction than he ever could have anticipated.
Korach (Numbers 16:1 - 18:32)
Parashat Korach is read on Shabbat:
Tammuz 2, 5781/June 12, 2021