You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:
In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:
1) Orthodox Jewish preparations in the land of Israel for the rebuilding of the Temple and the coming of King Messiah
Third Temple Closer Than Ever as Search Begins for Eligible Jewish Priests
In March, Rabbi Chaim Richman, the International Director of the Temple Institute announced that the Temple Institute has initiated the second stage towards building the Temple: compiling a list of Jewish priests who will be eligible to prepare the red heifer and serve in the Temple.
The Temple Institute is a non-profit organization, founded in 1987, which is dedicated to rebuilding the Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. The Temple Institute trains the descendants of the Biblical Aaron in their priestly duties and prepares educational materials and programs about the Temple for use in schools in Israel and around the world. Over the years, it has also made remarkable practical achievements towards turning the Third Temple into a reality. It has recreated over 70 utensils fit for the Temple service, including the gold menorah, the gem encrusted breastplate of the high priest, musical instruments used by the Levites, and priestly garments.
The Levitical registry will include men who have a clear patriarchal heritage from the priestly class (descendants of Aaron), were born and raised in Israel, and have observed the laws of purity incumbent upon priests. This includes not coming into proximity with the dead, so priests, or kohanim, who were born in hospitals, have visited hospitals, or have entered cemeteries are not eligible.
Once the Temple Institute has compiled a list of candidates with verified eligibility, it will begin to train them in the complex preparation of the ashes of the red heifer. The training will take place at the Nezer Hakodesh an institute established three years ago to educate priests in the details of the Temple service.
The project of compiling a list of Jewish priests who will be eligible to prepare the red heifer and serve in the Temple has implications not just for kohanim but for anyone interested in taking part in the Temple service. Anyone going up to the Temple needs to be on a high level of ritual purity. Most types of impurity can be removed through immersion in a mikveh (a ritual bath). For ritual impurity imparted through contact or proximity to a dead person, the purification process requires a priest to sprinkle water mixed with the ashes of a red heifer. Today, after thousands of years without a Temple, all people are considered to be on this level of impurity, making the reinstituting of the red heifer ashes an essential part of the return of the Temple service.
The announcement of compiling a list of Jewish priests who will be eligible to prepare the red heifer and serve in the Temple coincides with the weekly Torah reading that describes the preparation of the red heifer. After decades of research in how to practically restore the Temple, Temple Institute scholars realized that the first step in the seemingly impossible task was raising a red heifer. Frozen embryos of red angus cattle have been implanted in Israeli cattle, introducing the breed to Israel. Biblical law requires that the red heifer be unblemished and it is forbidden from being milked or impregnated so must be raised in special supervised conditions. Unlike most other aspects of the Temple service, burning of the red heifer and the use of its ashes to purify do not require ascending to the Temple Mount. This precludes any political complications that may arise, since Jews today are currently prevented from praying or performing any religious rituals on the Temple Mount.
“This is a huge jump for the Temple Institute and a huge leap for the Jewish people. For the first time in 2,000 years, after miraculously returning to the Land of Israel, we are beginning the process of reinstating the Biblical purity of the Jewish priesthood,” said Rabbi Richman. “This is another bold move for our Institute, having already painstakingly prepared more than 70 sacred vessels for the Third Temple. We proudly call upon all those who may fit the bill to contact the Temple Institute immediately.”
Paschal Lamb Sacrificed in Jerusalem
Last year, in preparation for the Passover holiday, the Temple Institute in Jerusalem reenacted the bringing of the Passover lambs to the Temple for the Passover sacrifice. Although the sacrifice requires that the altar be standing in its place on the Temple Mount, the practice exercise was conducted for educational purposes on International Temple Mount Awareness Day.
According to the book of Exodus, the Israelites were commanded to take an unblemished lamb or goat into their homes on the 10th day of the first Hebrew month, keeping it until the evening of the 14th day, when it would be ritually slaughtered.
The lamb’s blood was to be painted on the doorposts of every Israelite home as a sign that God would pass over them during the plague of the Death of the Firstborn. The lamb would then be roasted and eaten that night, accompanied by bitter herbs and unleavened bread, called matzah. The Israelites were also commanded to perform this sacrifice every year thereafter, as a memorial of the exodus from Egypt.
Since the establishment of the First Temple on the Temple Mount, it was forbidden to offer sacrifices at any other location. Thus, the Passover sacrifice has not been performed since the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. Strictly speaking, however, Jewish law does not require that the Temple be standing only that the altar be in its correct position.
This ceremony was carried out with the two main purposes: 1) Document the event for an educational DVD 2) Rehearse in case an altar is permitted to be placed on the Temple Mount.
During the exercise, the participating priests all wore authentic garments prepared by the Temple Institute, and practiced reciting the appropriate blessings. Silver trumpet-blasts and Levitical singing accompanied the sacrifice, as required. Regarding the event, the Temple Institute said: “This was the most accurate and authentic reenactment of this service to have taken place in nearly 2,000 years.” It included all the stages of the ritual, such as checking the animal for blemishes, slaughtering it, collecting its blood and bringing it to the corner of the altar, skinning the animal and separating its inner parts, and roasting it whole in a special Passover oven.
Events like this help prepare for the actual Temple. Not only does it raise public awareness, it also helps instruct Kohanim, Jews of the priestly class.
New Details Emerge on Rebuilt Altar of Jewish Holy Temple
In late 2014, the Temple Institute in Jerusalem announced that it has finished building an altar suitable for the Temple service. The altar, which took several years to build can be operational at little more than a moment’s notice.
The altar is a central component to the Biblical sacrificial service. In fact, there were separate altars for the incense and for other sacrifices. The larger altar sat in the outer courtyard of the Tabernacle and later the Temple. According to the Bible, the altar may not be made out of stones hewn by metal implements.
According to information released by the Temple Institute, since the Torah forbids the use of hewn stones in an altar (see Deuteronomy 27:5-6), it “consists of an outer frame of earthen bricks, oven-baked to withstand the extreme heat of the altar when in use. This outer frame is filled with natural stones, untouched by metal implements, as per Torah imperative. The outer brick frame is covered with a thin white plaster, as was done with the altar that stood in the Holy Temple courtyard.” It is constructed from bricks fired at roughly 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,832 degrees Fahrenheit), to withstand the immense heat of the Temple’s eternal flame and the weight of the sacrificial animals.
The base of the altar contains two portals for collecting the blood poured during animal sacrifices, in accordance with the Torah. It is also crowned with four raised corners, called horns by the Torah. One thing that makes this altar unique is that it was designed to be disassembled and quickly reassembled in its correct position on the Temple Mount. According to the Temple Institute, “The people of Israel are required to build an altar exclusively on the site of the original altar on Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount. When circumstances become favorable, this new altar can be quickly re-assembled on the proper location, enabling the Divine service to be resumed without delay.”
Priests Demonstrate the Glory of Ancient Biblical Temple Service
Also in March, a special ceremony was held in the Cardo in Jerusalem to reenact the Temple service associated with the sighting of the new moon. The event coincided with the beginning of the Jewish month of Adar. In Temple times, the new month was considered a minor holiday and the ceremony, a reenactment of the Temple service, gloriously illustrated that.
On the day of the new month, special sacrifices were brought to the Temple: two oxen, a ram, seven lambs, wine libations, flour, and oil (Numbers 28:11-15). This is identical to the sacrifices offered on Passover and Shavuot, indicating the holy aspect of the new month. Special trumpet blasts were also added in celebration.
To commemorate the special nature of the day, the Temple Institute, in conjunction with the Sanhedrin and other Temple organizations, held a reenactment of the service as it would have been performed in the Temple. The ceremony was intended to be educational for the spectators and a dry-run for the priests who participated.
The priests, students of the Temple Institute’s Nezer HaKodesh Academy for Kohanim, wore authentic garments made to Biblical specifications, and performed the Kohanic blessing. Musicians played instruments suited for use in the Temple provided by the Temple Institute, accompanied by a choir.
Though no animals were actually slaughtered, the organs and special fats were displayed and explained. There was also a demonstration of how blood is sprinkled on the altar. A mincha offering of semolina was burned on the altar, a precise scale model, approximately one meter tall and two-and-a-half meters square. In addition to the demonstration of the sacrifices, three members of the Sanhedrin accepted the testimony of two witnesses for the Torah commandment of declaring the new month.
Setting the new month by witnesses is considered by Rashi, a prominent Jewish rabbi of the Middle Ages, to be the first mitzvah (Biblical commandment) the Nation of Israel received after leaving Egypt. With great spiritual meaning, establishing the calendar is far more than a convenience. It is so important that it takes precedence over the Sabbath. In Biblical times, witnesses were permitted to break the Sabbath in order to arrive in Jerusalem and stand before the Sanhedrin.
On a technical level, this event was a step in the process of correcting the Hebrew calendar. By Biblical law, the new month for the Hebrew calendar was established by reliable witnesses appearing before the Sanhedrin. Hillel II, president of the Sanhedrin in the fourth century, established a written calendar based on astronomical calculations. This calendar, still in use, standardized the length of months and the addition of months in leap years over the course of a 19-year cycle so that the lunar calendar realigns with the solar years.
In the times of the Temple, the new month would be established by both calculation and by witnesses appearing before the Sanhedrin. When the Temple was destroyed and the Sanhedrin disbanded, the Hebrew calendar was figured solely according to the astrological calculations and the template established by Hillel II.
It is remarkable that Hillel II’s calculations stood for as long as they did. However, 1,700 years later, there are discrepancies between his calendar and the astronomical reality. This is a serious problem that the Sanhedrin is taking steps to gradually fix.
Professor Hillel Weiss, spokesman and secretary of the Sanhedrin, explained: “Though we have received witnesses in the past, this is the first time we have done so publicly, which is an essential part of the mitzvah. The only thing lacking is for all of Israel to agree on one central authority for this,” he continued. “This is just one of many mitzvot we neglect merely because we haven’t done them for so long. There is no other reason not to do this and raise Judaism.” Professor Weiss expanded on the idea. “For 2,000 years we practiced Judaism a certain way. Even though we are in Israel, the Torah and mitzvot are still in galut (diaspora). There are many practical things we could do, and in truth, should do, to make Judaism richer and more like it was in the times of the Temple.”
Joshua Wander, a resident of the Mount of Olives who attended, thought the event was clearly necessary. “Things come up when you actually do these things, dilemmas that you could never anticipate from just sitting in Yeshiva and learning from a book. “For example, the witnesses were questioned by the Sanhedrin. They were asked where in the sky it was, what direction the moon was facing, what time it was exactly. It seemed that the witnesses were not prepared for this level of questioning which is dictated by the Talmud. One of them asked if he could look at a photo from his cell phone. After consultation, the Sanhedrin ruled that it was permissible.”
The Sanhedrin’s declaration of the new month was preceded by a ceremony recreating the Temple service. The ceremony, intended for instructional and not religious purposes, did not include slaughtering an animal, though in many other respects it was absolutely authentic. The musical instruments, and vessels, provided by the Temple Institute, were made to Biblical specifications. The priests were kohanim, members of the Jewish priestly class. Dressed in holy garments, they performed the priestly blessing. A small scale model of the altar was also set up, and a grain offering was burnt on it.
Special Torah Scroll Written for Messiah Completed
Rabbi Yosef Berger, one of the rabbis in charge of King David’s Tomb in Jerusalem’s Old City, took an enormous step towards making his year-long dream a reality.
Rabbi Berger’s dream was to write a Torah scroll to present to the Messiah upon his arrival. Since David’s Tomb, the burial place of the Messiah’s ancestor, is located on Mount Zion, Rabbi Berger is uniquely positioned to personally present the Torah to the Messiah.
The Rabbi believes that by writing a Torah scroll which includes all of Israel, and keeping that scroll on Mount Zion, it will fulfill the requirements to usher in the Messiah.
Rabbi Berger explained to how he learned this from Yalkut Shimoni, a collection of teachings believed to have been arranged in the 13th century. He quoted the text:
“’Rabbi Shimon Ben Monsia said, ‘No signs of redemption will be shown to Israel until they seek these three things – the kingdom of heaven , the dynasty of King David, and the building of the Temple.’ Writing a scroll housed on Mount Zion, where King David is interred, and adjacent to the Temple Mount, will accomplish all three goals in one action,” the rabbi explained.
In December, the first letters of the scroll were inscribed by Rabbi David Hai Abuhatzeira, the grandson of the prominent Moroccan Sephardic mystic Rabbi Israel Abuhatzeira, known as the Baba Sali. At the time, Rabbi Abuhatseira urgently instructed the organizers of the project, “Write the Sefer Torah as fast as possible, you don’t have much time!…I hope you have a chance [to finish]!”
It appears that Rabbi Berger finished this stage of the project in time. Last Thursday, the ceremony to consecrate the new Torah scroll began at the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem and moved to the adjacent Ohel Yitzchak Synagogue, where the final letters were written by a collection of honored rabbis.
The ceremony was on the seventh day of the Hebrew month Adar, which is both the birth date and the Yahrtzeit (anniversary of the death) of Moses. Apropos to the momentous occasion, Rabbi Berger announced to the crowd, “Moses was truth, and his Torah was truth, and this Torah will never change.”
He then quoted from the book of Hosea
“For the Bnei Yisrael shall sit solitary many days without king and without prince and without sacrifice and without pillar and without ephod or teraphim; afterward shall Bnei Yisrael return and seek the LORD their God and David their king; and shall come trembling unto the LORD and to His goodness in the end of days.” (Hosea 3:4-5)
The assembled celebrants then paraded around the walls of Jerusalem which were lit up especially to honor the occasion.
Thousands of celebrants accompanied the Torah scroll to its new home at David’s Tomb on Mount Zion.
The momentous occasion was attended by several of Israel’s leading rabbis: Rabbi Yitzchak Shtern, Rabbi Shalom Berger (the present Mishkoltz Rebbe), Rabbi Reuven Elbaz (a leading Israeli Sephardic rabbi and a member of the The Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah), Rabbi Dov Lior (the Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Arba), Rabbi Shalom Ber Sorotzkin (head of the Ateret Shlomo Yeshiva), among many other honored rabbis and participants.
The ceremony was immediately followed by a global recitation of the Shema prayer.
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Temple Institute Inaugurates Registry of Biblically Eligible Kohanim
2) Third Temple Closer Than Ever as Search Begins for Eligible Jewish Priests
3) Special Torah Scroll Written for Messiah Completed
4) Priests Demonstrate the Glory of Ancient Biblical Temple Service
5) Sanhedrin Performs Rare Biblical Commandment Not Seen For 2,000 Years
6) Paschal Lamb Sacrificed in Jerusalem
7) New Details Emerge on Rebuilt Altar of Jewish Holy Temple
From a Biblical prophetic perspective, the reason why the God of Israel would allow these events to happen is because it will result in the end of the exile of the house of Jacob and the reunification of the 12 tribes of Israel (Ephraim and Judah).
We will to be “watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem” and we will not rest until the God of Israel makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62).
Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah,
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l