Learn more about the red heifer!
TEMPLE TALK RADIO: GETTING READY FOR A BIG JERUSALEM DAY!
BOOK OF NUMBERS: ISRAEL GETS DOWN TO EARTH IN THE WILDERNESS!
DON'T BLINK: HISTORY IS HAPPENING ON THE TEMPLE MOUNT!
This week we read parashat Bamidbar, where the Israelite tribe each gets a flag, and this coming Sunday is Jerusalem Day, when the traditional Israeli flag march is set to garland Jerusalem with the White and the Blue! Jews are praying on the Temple Mount, judges are permitting them and the police are doing their damnedest to put an end to it. Wait, aren't the police supposed to uphold the law, not break it?
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WEEKLY TORAH STUDY: BAMIDBAR/במדבר
Parashat Bamidbar, which opens the book of Numbers, names, numbers, arranges and assigns banners and roles to the tribes of Israel. Tribal affiliations and obligations have largely vanished from the world. And while the Jewish world today is not strictly tribal in its formation, tribal associations and responsibilities still play a very large part of Jewish identity.
Bamidbar (Numbers 1:1 - 4:20)
Parashat Bamidbar is read on Shabbat:
Iyar 27, 5782/May 28, 2022
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THE HALF SHEKEL OFFERING
This coming Shabbat Jews in synagogues around the world read parashat Ki Tisa, which begins with the following six verses, 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.'" (Exodus 30:11-16)
Parashat Shekalim is also read on the first Shabbat of Adar, (second Adar, this year), 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 approximately $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!
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)
THE MEANING OF TECHEILET (BIBLICAL BLUE)
Joel Guberman, the founder of Ptil Techeilet, has dedicated his life to the renewal of the ancient art of and holy commandment of preparing the unique blue dye used in Temple times for the garments of the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) and Parochet (curtain) that separated the Temple Sanctuary from the Holy of Holies, and for the tzitzit - the fringes - which Torah commands us to wear on the corners of our garments.
After 2,000 years, following the Roman seizure of the ancient Jewish industry of producing the blue techeilet dye, and the subsequent loss of the knowledge of the source of the dye and the science of processing the dye, Joel, with Ptil Techeilet, following extensive research and experimentation, rediscovered both the source and the science of producing the original blue techeilet dye used in ancient times.
In this video, filmed in the Samarian town of Shilo, at the site of the Tabernacle, which for nearly four hundred years stood in Shilo, Joel explains the meaning and spiritual significance of the blue techeilet day. Next week we will be posting a longer video that demonstrates the dying process of techeleit, as well as the dying process of biblical crimson, (Tola'at shani) and biblical purple, (argaman).
Activate CC (closed captions) for an English translation when Joel quotes from Torah.
HONORING MAIMONIDES' ASCENT TO THE TEMPLE MOUNT
On Marcheshvan 6, (October 12th), many Jews ascended the Temple Mount to honor and celebrate the 856th anniversary of Maimonides' historic ascent to the Mount, where he prayed at the "Great and Holy House." Maimonides, in his work, Hilchot Beit HaBechira (Laws of the Chosen House), chapter 7, relates in detail the rules and regulations for performing the positive commandment of Mora Mikdash - showing reverence to G-d in the place of His Holy Temple - which Maimonides explains, applies even today, as "Even though, the Temple is now in ruin because of our sins, a person must hold its [site] in awe, as one would regard it when it was standing."
Today, more and more Jews are following Maimonides lead and ascending the Temple Mount and praying, just as Maimonides did, in the "Great and Holy House" - the Temple Mount, place of the Holy Temple!