Temple Institute Announces: High Priest's Crown is Ready!
by Hillel Fendel
(IsraelNN.com) The Temple Institute in Jerusalem announces the completion of the Tzitz, the High Priest's headplate - now ready for use in the Holy Temple.
The tzitz is made of pure gold, was fashioned over the course of a more than a year by the craftsmen of the Temple Institute, and is ready to be worn by the High Priest in the rebuilt Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
The words "Holy for G-d" are engraved on the headplate, in accordance with Exodus 28:36. A short video clip presenting the tzitz can be viewed here.
Rabbi Chaim Richman, International Director of the Temple Institute, explained to Arutz-7 that until it can actually be used, the tzitz will be on view in the Institute's permanent exhibition display, together with other vessels and priestly garments fashioned for use in the Holy Temple by the Institute.
Legal Aspects: Impurity and Hekdesh
Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, Director of the Institute, explained some of the Halakhic [Jewish legal] aspects of the fashioning of the vessels for the Temple. "For one thing," he said, "they are made in impurity - for now we are impure, and will remain impure until we are able to have a Red Heifer whose ashes can be used in the Torah-prescribed purification ceremony. If no Red Heifer is available, then the High Priest must even serve in the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur in a state of impurity."
Asked whether the fact that the vessels are dedicated for the Temple does not render them hekdesh (consecrated) and therefore forbidden for any other use, Rabbi Ariel explained, "There are two stages. First of all, we make it very clear to the donors and to the craftsmen that the ultimate purpose of these vessels is not to be used for exhibitions or the like, but rather for the fulfillment of Torah commandments in the Holy Temple. They must know this in advance. However, to gain the actual status of hekdesh, we similarly make it clear that this does not happen until the vessel is actually brought in to the Temple Mount for use in the Temple. This means that someone can try on and measure the headplate, for example, without worrying that he is benefiting in any way from something that has been consecrated to the Temple."
Menorah Moves Closer to Temple Mount
Rabbi Richman noted that in less than two weeks from now, on Rosh Chodesh Tevet, the famous Menorah (candelabrum) - suitable for use in the Holy Temple, familiar to visitors to the Cardo section of the Old City of Jerusalem - will be relocated to the landing of the wide staircase that leads down from the Jewish Quarter to the Western Wall. It will be protected inside the same type of glass structure that now houses it.
The new tzitz is an improvement on one made several years ago, in that it has a backpiece, in accordance with some commentators and the account of Josephus. In addition, it has a locking mechansim so that it will not slip off the Priest's head, and can be adjusted to fit heads of different sizes. The old one will be preserved, of course as a "spare," in keeping with the Mishnaic account that several models of various vessels were kept in the Temple, in case the need arose to replace one.
Asked what project they're working on at present, Rabbi Richman said, "We have begun work on 120 sets of garments for 'regular' priests, not the High Priest. This involves special thread from India, etc. In addition, we have begun work on architectural blueprints for the Third Temple, including cost projection, modern supplies, electricity, plumbing, computers, etc."
Bringing G-d Into Our World
"At present," Rabbi Richman explained, "people are in despair, and wonder if we're not dreaming futilely while around us our leaders are planning to give the country away. We say to them: It appears that those who went to Annapolis are the dreamers, thinking that their efforts to make peace will succeed, or that the public is with them in their efforts to give away our Jerusalem, our Temple Mount, and other national historic assets."
"We are now approaching the holiday of Chanukah," Rabbi Richman continued, "which is the holiday that commemorates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple. We're not just building beautiful vessels; we're interested in granting G-d the dwelling place that He wants in this world; the Temple is not merely a building, but a way of bringing G-d into our lives in a very real way. And that is what we aim to do. This tzitz is G-d's Chanukah present to us, and our Chanukah gift to the Jewish People."