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October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Holy Temple’

PA Propaganda on Temple Mount Makes Anti-Zionism Inevitable

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

The Palestinian Authority’s official website again has disseminated inciting anti-Israel propaganda focusing on the supposed Jewish plot to take over the Temple Mount.

Calling the Israelis on the Temple Mount ”fanatics,” the WAFA site quoted Muslim Waqf officials that the Jews “were escorted by police, held prayer rituals and destroyed olive branches in the yards in a clear provocative manner to the feelings of the hundreds of Muslims who were on the site and who reacted yelling Allah Akbar (God is great) in Arabic.

“Israeli fanatics are increasing their provocative tours of the Muslim compound to create daily presence there with a goal to eventually take it over and build their temple on the ruins of al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.”

There is at least one statement in the propaganda that is correct. Jews do indeed offend the sensibilities by ascending the Temple Mount. Then again, the very presence of Jews in the Old City, let alone all of Israel, is offensive to the Palestinian Authority.

The allegations that the Jews “held prayer rituals” is nothing less than an outrageous lie. Jews trying to pray on the Temple Mount wish it were true, but Muslim officials constantly monitor all Jews at the Temple Mount and, with police cooperation, do not allow Jewish visitors to bring with them any prayer books or any other Jewish symbols.

Police often remove Jews for even moving their lips, despite admonitions by the Supreme Court.

The Palestinian Authority is committed to halt all incitement against Israel, a promise which the United States claims it has faithfully upheld.

PA media at least twice a week, if not more, report that police have “stormed” the Temple Mount and that every Jewish action there is intended to prepare for rebuilding the Holy Temple.

If that were true, it would mean a lot of employment for hundreds of Muslim Arab workers.

What Is God Teaching Me With The Laws Of Kosher?

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Zev Kraut of Pittsburgh, a ninth grade student at the Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, has been named a Winner of the 2012 OU Kosher Essay Contest for grades 7-12.

What Is God Teaching Me With The Laws Of Kosher?

Since the moment God gave the Torah to the Jewish people, keeping kosher has been an essential part of the Jewish home. Accordingly, the home is an essential part of a Torah lifestyle. What goes on in the home directly affects what goes on in the rest of one’s life. The question is, why kosher? Surely, how one’s parents act, or what one sees on television, are infinitely more effective as an influence on one’s life than keeping kosher. So what is it about kosher that makes a spiritual connection with God? What is God trying to teach me with the laws of kosher?

The Ramban teaches that many of the animals that are not deemed kosher are predators. The reason the Ramban gives for one not being able to eat certain animals is so that one will not absorb the qualities of those animals. For example, a pig rolls around in the mud, which is a filthy characteristic. The Torah gives many commandments telling Jews what should not come out of their mouths. For instance: insults, mockery, slander, and curses. Additionally, keeping kosher is God’s way of telling Jews that there are also certain things that one should not absorb into them as well. Furthermore one should avoid evil influences, evil speech, and certain animals that do not meet the criteria of the character traits of a Torah observant Jew. God gave the Jewish people the Torah, and singled them out as a pure nation. Accordingly, the Jews must eat certain animals that are pure.

From where do we know that certain animals are pure and certain animals are not pure? In the Torah portion known as Noach, when Noach was commanded to put certain animals on his ark, God commanded Noach to put “pure” animals, otherwise known as kosher animals on the ark. God also commanded Noach to put “animals that are not pure” on the ark. The Talmud (Pesachim 3a) points out an oddity in the wording of this story. The Torah used an extra eight letters to voice that the animals were not pure, when instead the Torah could have written “contaminated.” According to the Talmud, the lesson the Torah is teaching, is that one must always speak with pure speech. God designed the Torah to show the Jews how to be holy and pure. The Torah is a book filled with lessons on proper conduct and how to maintain a higher spiritual level than any of the other nations of the world. As the Torah says, “…and to make you high above all nations that He has made, in praise, and in name, and in glory; and that you may be a holy people unto the Lord your God, as He has spoken.” (Devarim 26:19) There is no doubt that kosher fits into that category. When one has a pure mouth what comes out of one’s mouth reflects that. Essentially, every time one eats a bag of potato chips with an OU on it, it is a direct reminder from God to watch your mouth.

God created everything on earth with a purpose. When God created the earth He designated humans as the rulers over the land. Tehillim 115:16, states, “The heavens are the heavens of God, and the land was given to the sons of man.” For most animals we do not know their purpose on earth. Even the great King David once criticized God for creating spiders which David deemed had no purpose. In the end, the spider saved his life while he was running from King Shaul. Anyway, God designated certain animals to be given as sacrifices in the Holy Temple. For instance, cows, sheep and rams. Which means their purpose is, for whatever reason, to be slaughtered.

No need to worry for the animal though, the kosher way to slaughter an animal is the most humane. Anyone who studies the complex laws of kashrus, on how to slaughter an animal will soon realize much of it is done in order to ensure that the animal feels no pain. For instance, in order for the slaughter to be deemed kosher, the knife used for the slaughter must be smooth, free of any nicks. There is no need to be vegetarian. God created meat for us to eat. On Shabbos by eating OU Glatt Kosher meat, we are fulfilling the words of the prophet of Yeshaya who said (Yeshaya 58:13),”…call Shabbos a delight.” According to some halachic authorities, Jews have an obligation to eat meat on Shabbos and Yom Tov. According to Rabi Yehudah Ben Beseirah, in Tractate Pesachim 109a, during a time period in which the Holy Temple is standing, one is required to eat meat in order to fulfill the commandment to rejoice in a festival.

Jewish Press Special: Live Coverage of The 3rd Annual International Temple Mount Awareness Day, Sunday, March 25th

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

The Jewish Press will offer live coverage of the six-hour event hosted by the International Department of the Temple Institute, its Third Annual International Temple Mount Awareness Day, on Sunday, March 25th.

11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Eastern Time

10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Central

9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Mountain

8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Pacific.


Speakers will include:

Moshe Feiglin, head of the Manhigut Yehudit, (Jewish Leadership) Faction of the ruling Likud party, and Temple Mount loyalist. Moshe will be focusing on the issue of Temple Mout Activism and the potential for parliamentary legislation to ensure Jewish rights to prayer on the Temple Mount.

Beloved and highly esteemed Kohen, Torah scholar and author, Rabbi Nachman Kahana. Rabbi Kahana will be sharing his spiritual insights on the Holy Temple and the Temple Mount from a Torah perspective and drawing upon his own personal connection as a kohen.

Yisrael Medad, Director of Educational Programming and Information resources at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, and veteran Temple Mount activist. Yisrael will be discussing the role of the media in depicting Temple Mount activism and the struggle to achieve Jewish freedom of worship on the Temple Mount, as guaranteeed by Israeli law.

Live musical entertainment provided by Yehudah Katz and his band. Yehudah and his four piece band will provide an hour long “half-time” celebration of song and Temple insight, as well as short musical vignettes throughout the happening.

Hillel Richman and Frankie Snyder, senior staff members of the Temple Mount Sifting Project will lead an archaeological exploration of the exciting Temple Mount and Holy Temple related discoveries of the past year. Personally involved with the discovery of the most significant archaeological finds from the Temple Mount to date, Hillel and Frankie will be sharing their insights and experiences.

Tziporra Piltz, guide and organizer of women’s ascent to the Temple Mount. Tziporra, a pioneer and leader of the burgeoning presence of women on the Temple Mount, will be sharing her unique perspectives on the Temple Mount and on the future of Temple Mount aliya.

Rabbi Mois Navon, from Ptil Tekhelet organization, manufacturers of the biblical blue techelet dye, used in tzitziyot, (ritual fringes), and priestly garments. Mois will be decribing the colorful history of techelet from antiquity to the contemporary reestablishment of the venerated techelet industry.

Embracing The Temple Mount

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

The study of Jewish history teaches us that throughout the ages, numerous edicts and decrees have prevented the practice of Jewish traditions and religious observance.

The Romans curtailed Jewish worship in the Land of Israel and ultimately destroyed the Holy Temple; the Greeks sought to outlaw the learning of Torah, and throughout the Middle Ages, Jewish rights and freedoms were revoked at will by Europe’s Christian rulers.

Yet it has gone almost completely unnoticed that in recent weeks, Jewish rights and freedoms in the Land of Israel, of all places, have once again come under attack.

A statement issued by the religious authorities called for Jews to refrain from visiting their holiest site – the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Shockingly, these were not the orders of the Islamic imams, nor were they the politically driven legislation of some official at the United Nations.

These instructions emanated from the chief rabbis of Israel, and several other rabbinical figures.

It is a sad reality that the laws of the Holy Temple and their practical study remain greatly misunderstood, neglected, and practically taboo, even within the study halls of many religious Jewish communities.

Over a third of the Torah’s commandments, and one and a half of the Five Books of Moses, deal exclusively with the Holy Temple and its daily service, yet this crucial artery in the heart of Torah learning is sidelined by those who, for whatever reason, see these laws as irrelevant or not for our time.

Indeed, the impression created by the proclamation of this “prohibition” is that the Torah is against Jews ascending to the Temple Mount.

Nothing can be farther from the truth. No less a universally recognized Torah authority than Maimonides himself declared visiting the Temple Mount as an aspect of the positive commandment to show reverence for the Temple – a commandment he himself fulfilled, as he wrote:

I entered into the great and holy house and prayed there on the sixth of Cheshvan (in the year 1164)…and I vowed an oath, that I will always celebrate this day as a personal festival, to be marked by prayer and rejoicing in God, and by a festive meal.

This is just one of many sources that indicate a long tradition of Jewish visits to the mount, long after the destruction of the Holy Temple and long before Jews were ever seen praying at the Western Wall.

From Rabbi Akiva to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, the Torah sources are accessible – if one cares to look for them. No proclamation can change this, and no rabbi or group of rabbis, regardless of station, have the authority to uproot such a principle.

It is true that ascending the Temple Mount in purity, in full accordance with halacha, requires understanding, forethought and preparation – but it is quite doable. With proper study and proper preparations one can visit this holy site in order to fulfill the commandment of morah mikdash without trespassing on the sacred areas.

Like other matters of complex Torah knowledge, the subject of the Temple Mount is an area in which one must have expertise before issuing a judgment.

To issue a blanket statement that a prohibition exists against Jews visiting the Temple Mount is misleading and inaccurate, and does a serious injustice to the many religious Jews – great rabbis and roshei yeshiva among them – who ascend the Mount today in strict accordance with all the requirements of Jewish law.

The Temple Institute, established over 25 years ago, has long stood at the forefront of Temple research and scholarship. The institute is dedicated to rekindling the flame of the knowledge and awareness of the centrality and importance of the both the Temple Mount and the Holy Temple, in the life of the Jewish people as well as for all humanity.

The institute has recreated more than sixty genuine sacred vessels, kosher according to Jewish law, for use in the Holy Temple. These include the half-ton gold menorah and the garments of the high priest according to precise halachic requirements. All of this has been undertaken because it is a religious requirement, just like eating matzah on Passover.

This Sunday, March 25, thousands of supporters worldwide will join with the Temple Institute to mark the third annual International Temple Mount Awareness Day with a six hour live-stream Internet video broadcast celebrating and exploring the centrality of the Temple in Jewish life.

After two thousand years of longing to return to the holy site, surely it is time to embrace it.

Rabbi Chaim Richman is director of the International Department of the Temple Institute.

Chanukah

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Cooking according to Chanukah tradition doesn’t have to be boring! Though it’s unlikely that any Maccabee ever saw a potato, latkes are traditionally made with potatoes and that particular “traditional” dish is based on a South American tuber that didn’t cross the Atlantic until the sixteenth century.

My go-to Chanukah menu is always a mix of dairy foods with potato latkes and jelly donuts. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun. This year, I have planned another special not-so-traditional Chanukah menu and will share with you some non-traditional twists on the classic latkes and donuts.

Why do we eat fried foods? In the Geller house, because we love them, and we need no excuse to munch away. But the rest of the Jewish world has a reason – several, in fact.

The simple answer is that foods fried in oil remind us of the oil that burned miraculously when the Maccabees purified and rededicated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Latkes and sufganiot are fried, which is why we eat those specifically on this holiday.

Additionally, the Hebrew word shemen, meaning oil, contains the same letters as shemoneh, eight, which was the number of days that the miracle of the oil lasted. There are no coincidences in Jewish tradition.

Mystically, both the Temple Menorah and the oil used to light it are associated with chochmah, Torah wisdom. The war between the Greeks and the Jews was essentially a war of ideas – which culture and whose wisdom would endure. The Greeks wanted everyone under their rule to value their philosophy and think exactly as they did, so they were violently opposed to the idea of G-d’s wisdom and forbad the study of Torah. Many Jews obeyed these laws and were lured from Judaism by the attractive Greek culture. But Jews devoted to Torah just as adamantly refused to give in. Both sides knew it would be a fight to the death.

Well, we all know who won. We still live by the Torah, and somehow, the Greeks stopped thinking. A drop of oil symbolizes the whole thing, so it’s no wonder we indulge in oily delicacies.

 

Zucchini Latkes with Tatziki Sauce Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 20 minutes. Serves 8

Ingredients 2 large zucchini (about 1-pound), shredded 1 small onion, shredded 2 large eggs, beaten 1 cup matzo meal 1 teaspoon kosher salt canola oil for frying 1 cup plain Greek yogurt 2 tablespoons chopped dill 1/4 cup diced cucumber 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions In a large bowl, combine zucchini, onions, eggs, matzo meal and salt and stir to combine. Heat ¼-inch oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Drop by 2 tablespoons full and lightly press down to flatten. Fry for about 4 to 6 minutes per side or until nicely browned. Remove and drain on paper towels. Continue with remaining batter.

In a small bowl, combine yogurt, dill, cucumber, lemon juice and salt and stir. Serve alongside latkes.

Maple Roasted Carrots with Goat Cheese Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 15 minutes, Serves 6

Ingredients 3 pounds baby carrots, halved 1/4 cup maple syrup 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese 3 tablespoons chopped chives

Directions Preheat oven to 400F. On a large baking sheet, toss carrots with maple syrup, olive oil and salt. Roast 15 minutes or until tender.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with goat cheese and chives to serve.

Nutella-Banana Egg Rolls Prep time: 15 minutes, Cook time: 10 minutes, Serves 8

Ingredients 2 bananas, finely diced 1 lemon, juiced 2 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons cornstarch 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 8 egg roll wrappers, defrosted 8 tablespoons nutella Canola oil for frying 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

Directions In a medium bowl, combine banana, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon and mix well, smashing bananas slightly with the back of a wooden spoon.

Lay out egg roll wrappers on a large work surface. Working with one wrapper at a time, spread 1 tablespoon nutella across the wrapper, leaving about ¼-inch border around all edges. Spoon 3 tablespoons banana mixture across the middle of the wrapper and lightly brush all the edges with water. Position the wrapper so that one point (corner) is closest to you. Fold that corner up just enough to cover the filling. Fold each side over to meet in the middle and roll up from the bottom. Brush final corner with water, and press lightly to seal. Transfer to a baking sheet seam side down. Repeat with remaining wrappers, nutella and filling.

The Mystical Message Of The Chanukah Dreidel

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Chanukah commemorates our victory over the Syrian-Greeks and the Hellenists – Jews who betrayed their own people in order to curry favor with the gentiles.

Not much has changed in this respect in nearly 2,200 years. The battle continues. We cleaned up and purified the Beit HaMikdash, but were we truly liberated? The Greeks were ousted from our land, but were they expelled from our minds? What light did the menorah provide that proved the battlefield victories warranted an annual celebration for the remainder of Jewish history, despite the Holy Temple’s eventual destruction?

Our sages make a strange statement about the Greeks. They inform us that Greece – a nation noted for its scholars, wisdom, and academics – is the image of darkness (Bereishit Rabbah 2:4). We, a people with great appreciation for the intellectual, find this baffling. The Baal Shem Tov explains that it is as simple as a Chanukah dreidel.

All of creation is a rotating wheel, a dreidel. Things constantly change, revolve and become transformed. This is because all things, no matter what they are made of, have one root. Before they manifest themselves as they are, they pass through an interface known as “hyle” (Ramban on Genesis 1:1). A person’s roles also change over time, providing and dominating one day, receiving and following the next. Nations, too, rise and fall.

Why do we play with a dreidel on Chanukah? Because – like Chanukah, the dreidel parallels the concept of the Beit HaMikdash, which spun things around in a number of ways. It manifested the concept of the revolving wheel by being the home of the Shechinah while its design was simultaneously engraved on high (Tanchuma, Pikudey 1; Zohar 1:80b).

Additionally, it somehow limited the Divine presence of a transcendental God to a physical space. As Shlomo HaMelech put it, “Behold the Heavens, and the Heaven of Heavens cannot contain You, how much less this Temple?!” (Kings I 8:27).

Furthermore, it is impossible to rationally explain how flesh-and-blood human beings can influence spiritual realms and how a sacrificial animal can produce “a sweet savor” (Genesis 8:21, Exodus 29:18) to God. Yet God did constrict His presence to the Beit HaMikdash and did accept sacrifices as “a sweet savor.” By doing so, God debunked the Greek model of rational philosophy with the Beit HaMikdash – as we do with the dreidel.

The Greeks are “darkness” because the rational mind (or, rather, the insistence on being rational always), limits one’s possibilities. One becomes stuck, “engraved on the horn of an ox,” and one can no longer think out of the box.

As Jews, we must always bear in mind that God has reasons that our reason cannot know. As God says “For My thoughts are not your thoughts and your ways are not My ways” (Isaiah 55:8). This is why we dare not despair, even in the longest darkest, tragic periods of personal and national life. This is what enabled the Maccabees to undertake the struggle to fight the spiritual darkness against all odds.

The essential quality of the ultimate Redemption which we await is that of the Beit HaMikdash, the revolving wheel, the dreidel, when we will see and know that in fact all is one – that God is One and God’s Name is One (Zechariah 14:9).

May we soon see the arrival of Mashiach, the rebuilding of the Holy Temple and the Redemption of the Jewish people.

Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher is dean of students at the Diaspora Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Haman-nejad

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Something about this Purim bothered me. It seemed too relevant. Once again, a Persian Haman has emerged – Haman-nejad (nejad or nezhad is a Persian suffix meaning “descendant of”), who has again made the existence of Israel a topic for debate. Some say that the world is better off with Israel, and others say that the world is better off without Israel. “Enlightened” academia has not yet decided, but it looks like the scales are tipping in favor of a world without Israel.

 

These days are reminiscent of the 30s. The giddy optimism after World War I was gradually replaced by the foul winds of anti-Semitism and hatred. Slowly but surely, the enlightened world surrendered to the new fashion. Weak politicians made peace with the trend. Frightened Jews closed themselves in their neighborhoods as violent anti-Semitic incidents became routine. The establishment explained that the Jews must ride the murky wave – and that with time, it would pass.

 

When I was a boy, I was taught that another Holocaust cannot happen because we have a state. This line of thinking was bolstered by religious Zionist determinism that declared that the redemption process was a given. I always found comfort in the thought that while the State of Israel could bring suffering upon itself, its existence was guaranteed. Today, I no longer think so. The redemption is certainly guaranteed, but on one of the declines on the path that leads to redemption, we can certainly lose our state – at a terrible price.

 

Every physical holocaust must be preceded by delegitimization and dehumanization of the intended victims. The murder of six million Jews would not have been possible if not for the fact that it was preceded by the negation of their honor and basic human rights. The Persian tyrant’s nuclear plans are not as dangerous as the public debate that he has managed to arouse and the “Jewish Question” that has once again found its way into public discourse.

 

The average Israeli prefers to hide his head in the sand and trust Israel’s leadership to deal with the problem. Outside Israel, anyone who does not look too Jewish can still feel fairly comfortable. But that is precisely the syndrome of 1938: the threat is so horrific that the average person cannot integrate it – and chooses to ignore it instead.

 

This is not a problem that will go away if we ignore it. If you read the Scroll of Esther, you will understand what made Haman hate the Jews. Then listen to Haman-nejad and you will find the same paradigm.

 

The story of Purim begins with a feast that King Achashveirosh hosted in his palace, a celebration of his royal decree forbidding the rebuilding of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. In honor of the auspicious event, Achashveirosh invited the Jews of his capital, Shushan, to celebrate. He made sure that the Holy Temple vessels that had been stolen by the Babylonians when they destroyed the Temple were prominently on display.

 

The Jews were flattered to be invited, and wanted to prove that they were good Persians. They relished the opportunity to rub shoulders with Persian high society. That is where Haman stepped in. If you look at the caricatures in the Nazi Der Sturmer, you will see that the assimilated German Jew aroused the same disgust as the German Amalek.

 

And what does Haman-nejad say? He says that he has no problem with the Jews. He only has a problem with the Zionists. “It is a shame what the Germans did to the Jews,” he says. “So let the Austrians and Germans find them a place to live in Europe – not at the expense of the Palestinians.” And between us, the Foreign Ministry of the “Singapore of the Middle East” has a hard time explaining why the modern-day Haman is mistaken. If we are not a Jewish state, but rather a state of all its citizens, then what right do we have to act like colonialists?

 

In Tel Aviv, we hear this: “It is all the settlers’ fault. We will eliminate their settlements and everything will work out.” There were German Jews who also thought that the hatred they were experiencing was because of the Ost Yidden – the Eastern (Polish) Jews. About a year ago, I read an interview with German Jewish Holocaust survivors who are still convinced that the horrors that they experienced could have been prevented if not for the Ost Yidden.

 

The Purim story has a happy ending. But Jewish history has other stories that do not end quite as happily. We would be wise to learn the Purim story well to understand what caused the turnabout that saved the Jews. It just may help us deal with the storm clouds gathering on our horizon.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/haman-nejad-2/2010/03/17/

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