Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Temple: A Means of a Goal?

The Temple: A Means of a Goal?

Copyright © 2009 by Yosef Ben Shlomo HaKohen

Mr. Yosef Ben Shlomo HaKohen
Editor, "Hazon: Our Universal Vision"

"My Search for the Soul of Zion" Series, Essay #88

Excerpt: "Do not think that My ultimate intention is the construction of the Sanctuary edifice; rather the entire purpose in desiring the Mishkan and its vessels is merely so that you should infer from it how to mold yourselves; namely that through your deeds you should be as desirable as the Mishkan and its vessels -- all of you holy, fitting, and prepared to be receptacles for My Shechinah in a literal sense".

Reprint Notice: Permission granted to redistribute this R&B Information Services item through email Lists, and to post on Internet web sites, as long as text & title are not modified. Source (R&B Information Services) and author's copyright must be displayed.

YERUSHALAYIM, Israelite Tribal Territories of Judah and Benjamin, Kingdom of David and Solomon, United Israelite Kingdom of Judah and Joseph, Tenth Day, Hebrew Month of Elul, 5769; Yom Rishon (First Day of Week/"Sun"-day, August 30, 2009), Root & Branch Information Services :


The Prophet Jeremiah lived in the era when the First Temple was destroyed and the people went into exile. Before the destruction of the Temple, many of the people were abandoning the Torah, and this abandonment led to idolatry, sexual immorality, murder, and oppression of the poor.

During this period, HaShem told Jeremiah to remind the people of their spiritual potential (Jeremiah 2:2); moreover, he was also told to remind the people of the following Divine message which the Twelve Tribes of Israel heard before they entered the Promised Land: The Land will be given to them for the fulfillment of the Torah, but if they abandon the Torah, they will eventually lose the Land (Leviticus 26:14-46).

Jeremiah was also told to tell the people to engage in a process of teshuvah -- spiritual return and renewal -- in order to avoid the exile. The people, however, thought that since they had the Temple of HaShem in their midst, they would be saved; thus, the false prophets of that era told the people that there was no reason for concern.

In this letter, we shall discuss Jeremiah’s response to those who claimed that the Temple itself would save them from destruction and exile.

Dear Friends,

The Prophet Jeremiah conveyed to the people of his generation the following Divine message:

Thus said HaShem, God of the hosts of creation, God of Israel: Improve your ways and your deeds and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Do not trust the false statements that say, ‘The Sanctuary of HaShem, the Sanctuary of HaShem!’ The Sanctuary of HaShem are they!”

(Jeremiah 7:3-4)

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch discusses the above passage in his commentary on the Torah, and he writes:

“A later generation sought to reduce the whole substance of their relationship to God to the life of the Sanctuary and its offerings. Even when they were rebuked for their social degeneration, they took cover behind the cry, 'The Sanctuary of HaShem, the Sanctuary of HaShem!' The Prophet then thundered against them: 'The Sanctuary of HaShem are they! – They themselves should be the Temple of God!'"

(Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, Commentary on Exodus 6:7)

The people failed to realize that they, as a community, are to become the Sanctuary of HaShem. As Rabbi Hirsch explains:

When God says, 'I will take you to Myself as a people' (Exodus 6:7), it means: Your social lives are to be guided by My wisdom; your social lives should be a revelation of My spirit".

(Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, Commentary on Exodus 6:7)

Our society should therefore become the Sanctuary of HaShem; however, our society is composed of each of us! We will therefore discuss a related teaching which reveals that each one of us is to become a Sanctuary of HaShem:

Rabbi Chayim Voloziner was a leading sage who was a close disciple of the Vilna Gaon. In his classical work, Nefesh HaChayim, Rabbi Chayim discusses the metaphysical significance of the Mishkan -- the Tabernacle which was built in the wilderness, and the Beis HaMikdash -- the Temple in Jerusalem.

He discusses various metaphysical insights regarding how the construction of the Mishkan corresponds to the creation of the universe, in general, and the creation of the human being, in particular. He then discusses how the human being can become a Sanctuary for the Shechinah -- Divine Presence -- through observing all the mitzvos of the Torah. He finds a reminder of this goal in the following Divine statement concerning the People of Israel which was conveyed to us by the Prophet Jeremiah:

The Sanctuary of HaShem are they!

(Jeremiah 7:4)

The people are to realize that the purpose of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem is to inspire them to become a Mikdash HaShem -- a Sanctuary of HaShem. Rabbi Chayim notes that the above Divine statement is in the spirit of the verse where HaShem says:

They shall make a Sanctuary for Me, so that I may dwell within them.

(Exodus 25:8)

Rabbi Chayim points out that this verse does not refer to the Shechinah dwelling in the Sanctuary, but within the people -- “within each and every one of them” (Nefesh HaChayim 1:4). With this statement, explains Rabbi Chayim, HaShem is saying:

Do not think that My ultimate intention is the construction of the Sanctuary edifice; rather the entire purpose in desiring the Mishkan and its vessels is merely so that you should infer from it how to mold yourselves; namely that through your deeds you should be as desirable as the Mishkan and its vessels -- all of you holy, fitting, and prepared to be receptacles for My Shechinah in a literal sense".

Rabbi Chayim also explains that the existence of the Mishkan and the Beis HaMikdash were contingent on Israel's realizing its potential as a community of sanctuaries. He writes:

"And so did HaShem, Blessed is His Name, tell Shlomo (Solomon) after the completion of the Beis HaMikdash: 'This Temple that you build -- if you follow My statues, fulfill My social laws, and safeguard all My mitzvos….then I shall dwell in the midst of the Children of Israel, and I will not forsake My people Israel’ (I Kings 6:12-13). Therefore, when they ruined the inner Mikdash that resided within their beings, then the external Mikdash was of no use and its foundations were razed.

When we yearn for the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash, we are yearning for the renewal of the Sanctuary of HaShem in Zion which can help each of us and all of us to become the Sanctuary of HaShem.

May Tisha B'Av (Fast of the Ninth Day of the Hebrew month of Av) -- the day we mourned the loss of the Beis HaMikdash -- be followed by the messianic era of holistic holiness.

Be Well, and Shalom,

Mr. Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen

Advisory Board Member, Ecology Fellowship, Root & Branch Association, Ltd.
Advisory Board Member, Social Welfare Fellowship, Root & Branch Association, Ltd.
Author, "The Universal Jew" (Feldheim Publishers)
Editor, "Hazon: Our Universal Vision"

Related Teachings and Insights:

1. We have a tradition that the human being was created at the site of the future Temple in Zion. This tradition is cited by Maimonides in his code of Torah law, Mishneh Torah, where he states that the human being was created at the site of the altar of the Temple on Mount Moriah (Beis Habechirah 2:2).

2. The Talmud states the following teaching in the name of Rabbi Elazar: “A person should always view himself as if the Holy One is within his inner organs” (Babylonian Talmud/Tractate Taanis 11a-b).

3. On Mondays and Thursdays, we read a section from the Torah portion of the week during the morning service. Before returning the Torah to the ark, we chant the following prayer concerning the restoration of the “House of our lives” -- the Temple: "May it be the will of our Father Who is in Heaven to establish the House of our lives and to settle His Shechinah within us, speedily in our days -- and let us say: Amen. We do not pray, “to settle His Shechinah within the House”; instead, we pray, “to settle the Shechinah within us!”

4. One can find an English translation and explanation of the above teachings from Nefesh HaChayim in the following book: Inspiration and Insight: Discourses on the Weekly Parashah by the Manchester Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Yehudah Zev Segal. The book is published by Mesorah Publications:

5. Tisha B'Av (Fast of the Ninth of Av) began on Wednesday evening, July 29th and concluded Thursday evening, July 30th.

6. We have a Divine promise that the days of fasting and mourning will be transformed into days of joy, as it is written:

Thus said HaShem, God of the hosts of creation: The fast of the fourth (month), the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth will be to the House of Judah for joy and for gladness and for happy festivals.

(Zechariah 8:19)

Av is the fifth month in our calendar; thus, the above reference to "the fast of the fifth" is referring to the Fast of Tisha B'Av. It will become a day "for joy and for gladness". And it will also become a festival.

7. During the seven weeks following Tisha B'Av, we chant on each Shabbos comforting selections from the Book of Isaiah regarding the future redemption and renewal of Israel and the world.

8. Rabbi Zev Leff is a noted Torah scholar and educator who is also the Rav of Moshav Matityahu in Israel. To hear a live Tisha B'Av webcast of Rabbi Leff expounding upon the kinos -- the traditional poetic prayers -- of Tisha B'Av, please visit: The talk is in English. The above website also lets you know when people in London, New York, Los Angeles, and Melbourne can hear it.

Mysteries of the Menorah

Mysteries of the Menorah

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Remove the mosques and sweep away Muslim lies!

Re: Chief Palestinian justice: Temples never existed

"Chief Palestinian justice" Sheik Taysir Tamimi can foam at the mouth against the biblical and historical facts that Jerusalem was and is Jewish, hosted two temples of the God of Israel, and will soon be graced with the Third Temple upon the TEMPLE Mount, but reality remains.

What an ironic twist that a leader of a fictitious Palestinian people, would unjustly pervert and corrupt the historical and biblical records to promote Nazi Muslim propaganda!

The same demon dogs have barked against the Jewish homeland since Israel was created in 1948, often denying its reality, living the lie their idolatrous Islamoonie religion incites against the plain truth and facts on the ground.

Israel must remove the filthy mosques that occupy the Temple Mount and sweep away Nazi Muslim lies and prepare for the Third Temple, as God's Word and Will demands.


A House of Prayer For All Peoples?

Third Temple Coming Soon to Jerusalem!

Jews Must Demand Rights to Temple Mount

Restore Israeli Sovereignty Over Temple Mount

Still at Large!
The Jerusalem Post, Jan. 8, 1996, had a front page story about how the GSS sought my deportation for alleged involvement in a "plot to blow up the Al-Aksa mosque."

Blow up the Mosques or an Expired Visa?

Peace Now: Arabs and Jews Must Go Their Separate Ways

Friday, August 28, 2009

Mosques occupying the Temple Mount is unnatural and will soon be corrected

Jewish prayers on Temple Mount 'a violation of international law'

Taking their misinterpretation of international law to new heights, the Arab League this week accused the Jews of Israel of violating the rules that govern global behavior by praying atop Jerusalem's Temple Mount.

The incident occurred on Sunday, when the head of the Temple Institute led a small group of Jewish tourists atop the Temple Mount. Israeli police at the site forbid non-Muslims from praying there or making any kind of outward religious gestures, such as kneeling or bowing.

But the Temple Institute told Israel National News that the group managed to hold a very brief prayer session without being detected.

After reading about the Jewish prayers at Judaism's holiest site, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa called them "a serious blow to the holiness of the site."

Moussa insisted that under international law, Jews and Christians are forbidden from praying atop the Muslim-controlled Temple Mount.

Amr Moussa's comments reflect a Luciferian mind where black is white and white is black and good is evil and evil is good!

The Word of the Lord rebukes Amr Moussa's madness:

Isaiah 5:20
20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Contrary to the troubled mind and deceived spirit of Amr Moussa, it is the Arab defilement of Judaism's holiest site that constitutes "a serious blow to the holiness of the site."

The Nazi Muslim occupation of the Temple Mount is an abomination! The woeful neglect of both Jewish and Israeli political and religious leaders, who have enabled this deplorable situation where the religious rights of Christians and Jews are trampled daily, must end!

Thankfully, the Word and Will of God reveals the pagan mosques will soon be history! The Temple Mount must be restored as the Temple Mount.

The Temple Mount Faithful, the Temple Institute, and Christian Zionists testify and announce: The Third Temple will grace the Temple Mount and it will become a House of Prayer for all peoples.

Isaiah 56:6-8
6 “ Also the sons of the foreigner
Who join themselves to the LORD, to serve Him,
And to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants—
Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath,
And holds fast My covenant—
7 Even them I will bring to My holy mountain,
And make them joyful in My house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
Will be accepted on My altar;
For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Isaac's Empire helps hasten process of redemption

Isaac’s Empire: Ancient Persia’s Forgotten Identity

by Cam Rea
ISBN: 978-1-60047-342-5
Paperback (6x9): 148 pgs.

Persia, an empire that dominated the known world 2500 years ago, has been written about and romanticized by many throughout history. But that is about to change. Cam Rea, author of The Assyrian Exile: Israel's Legacy in Captivity, has brought up a new question. Is it possible that the ancient Persian Empire was really an empire made up of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Among the Captives

"and you see among the captives a beautiful woman..."
(Deuteronomy 21:11)

Elul 6. 5769/August 26, 2009

War... victory... POWs... a beautiful woman... The opening verses of this week's Torah reading , Ki Teitzei, read like a movie trailer to Hollywood's latest blockbuster. Or do they? The answer depends on how we read them. One prevalent interpretation of our sages is that Torah, understanding the ambivalence of human nature, realizing that base passions can be aroused by the chaotic, life or death exertion of warfare, presents a way by which the triumphant warrior can channel his instincts. By following the path prescribed by Torah, rather than commit a grievous sin, the warrior, now citizen, can be directed back to his pre-battle upright life. Understanding the verses in this light is a great testimony to the Torah's holistic approach to man, and the dignity with which it regards man, after all, the magnum opus of G-d's creation.

Another approach chartered by the beloved sage, Rabbi Chaim Ben Atar, otherwise known as the Ohr HaChaim - the Light of Life - describes not an outward battle, but an inner one. For the soldier fighting in G-d's army, risking his life to defend the land of Israel, is not simply engaging in a mundane war, but is performing with all his being a great commandment of Torah. And as with all commandments, the fulfillment of the commandment bestows upon the performer of the commandment a heightened spiritual awareness. So it is that our heroic warrior, having engaged his entire being in the performance of G-d's commandment, has been blessed with a spirit of prophecy and a sharpness of vision. It is not the captive woman's outward beauty that he sees, but her inner beauty, the pure spark of the Divine that is captured within her. It is this that his soul longs for, as the Hebrew reveals: "Vechashakta bah," "and you desire what is [contained] within her." (ibid)

The Torah goes on to prescribe a month-long process of testing the purity of this attraction, and only after fulfilling the conditions set out, does the former warrior, if his desire has proven to be of the highest spiritual motivation, as we suspect, take the woman for his wife.

We may not all have the privilege of being real-life warriors defending the land of Israel against her enemies, but we all do have the privilege and responsibility to perform those commandments that are within our grasp. By doing so with the same intensity and passion as the righteous warrior of our Torah passage, we too can heighten our spiritual consciousness and increase our awareness of the holy sparks entrapped within our own souls and the holy sparks entrapped within others. We can then redeem and liberate these sparks within ourselves through discipline, hard work and sincere effort, and help others to recognize their own inner beauty by treating them with the same patience and respect prescribed by Torah for our warrior.

Every day of our lives we are engaged in a battle against our lesser natures, and every day our efforts to seek out the holy within ourselves and within others are rewarded with an enhanced attachment to G-d. Perhaps the month of Elul is best seen as the final engagement before the beginning of the new year. By mustering all our spiritual forces we can surely conquer our own inclinations that keep us distant from G-d and blind to His honor in this world. By storming the enemy within we can release our our own captive souls, set them free and let them shine.

Tune in to the week's Temple Talk as Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven discuss the "woman of beautiful form," the righteous warrior, the marriage ceremony, King David and the great horned beast - the fantastical re'em - and the unexpected twists and turns that sometimes await us as we ascend the Temple Mount today.

An ancient tradition of visiting the Holy Temple on the eve of one's wedding has been revived in our days. The day leading up to one's chatunah - wedding - is, for the bride and groom, a day of introspection, deep thoughts, and teshuvah - repentance, and what better place on earth is there to prepare spiritually for these goals than the Temple Mount in Jerusalem? Click here to view pictures.

This week features the Bat Melech video teaching with Rabbanit Rena Richman, entitled, "Rachav, Profile in Repentance, parts I & II: : Rachav: Profile in Repentance, Part I & II: Rachav, the woman of “ill-repute” who lived in the wall of Jericho not only hosted the two spies sent by Joshua, but used the opportunity their presence afforded her to repent of her past deeds, and become herself a righteous woman of valor. (This two part series was originally aired during the ten days of repentance, October, 2008.) Click here to view.

Today also features the new Light to the Nations teaching by Rabbi Chaim Richman, entitled, "Thoughts on the Stone Altar: Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven discuss the historical and spiritual significance of the stone altar which is currently under construction in the land of Israel. Click here to view.

“For you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord, your God, will deliver him into your hands…” (Deut. 21:10) Some wars are guaranteed victories, while others, (“If you go to war in your land against an adversary that oppresses you…” Numbers 10:9) threaten to be unmitigated disasters. What basic military doctrines is Torah teaching us, and what basic attributes of love for the land and faith in G-d are required of our leaders? Click here to view Rabbi Richman's short teaching on parashat Ki Teitzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19).

Blessings from the holy city of Jerusalem,

Yitzchak Reuven
PO Box 31876
Jerusalem, Israel 97500

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

God commands Jews to pray upon Temple Mount

Arab League Furious over Jewish Prayer on Temple Mount
by Maayana Miskin

The Arab League reacted with fury on this week to reports that a small group of Jews had prayed on the Temple Mount on Sunday. Secretary-General Amr Moussa termed the spontaneous prayer gathering “a violation of international law.”

Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, head of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem, led the guided tour on the Temple Mount. While guards on the mount have a policy of preventing Jewish prayer or religious gestures such as kneeling or bowing, Rabbi Ariel's group managed to briefly pray at the site.

"This is the first time since 1967 that Jews have conducted prayers on Al-Aksa during the month of Ramadan,” Moussa declared. “We condemn this act,” he added, in the name of the 22 countries belonging to the League.

The prayer session was “a serious blow to the holiness of the site,” Moussa claimed, adding that Jews should not be allowed to pray at the site "whether it is Ramadan or any other time of year...."

To read the rest of this story, click here!


Jewish guards prevent Christians and Jews from exercising their religious right to pray on the Temple Mount? That's right! Only Muslims have unlimited access to Judaism's most holy site. Only the Koran is permitted within. The Tanach (Jewish Scripture, known to much of the world as the "Old Testament") and Christian Scriptures (the New Testament) are forbidden. Yet Israel claims to respect the religious rights of all people.

I was unjustly detained for quietly reading my Bible and silently praying upn the Temple Mount.
Read all about it: A House of Prayer For All Peoples?

Where's the Temple On the Temple Mount?
Something's missing. Rome is synonymous with the Vatican, Mecca with the Kaaba, and Jerusalem's known for its Western Wall. But why should we stand before the wall, letting it obstruct our vision, when we could be praying in a Temple? Why should Jews continue to bow before an illegitimate Gentile decree that tells them where to pray? (Isaiah 10:1).

Third Temple Coming Soon to Jerusalem!
"And let them make me a Sanctuary that I may dwell among them" (Ex. 25:8). This holy command in the Scriptures seems clear enough, so what's the problem? Why has Israel tolerated Jerusalem’s "abomination of desolation" — a Temple Mount without a Temple? Why haven't the religious leaders encouraged the people to do what they can in fulfilling this mitzva?

The Temple of God in Holy Jerusalem
Paul, speaking of the imminent Third Temple, the holy TEMPLE OF GOD (the Temple of God - not just of the Jews or any other conspiracy theory that contradicts Scripture), that Europe's wannabe divine emperor will pollute, coveting it since Satan knows (even if some religious folks don't) it is the TEMPLE OF GOD...

Jews Must Demand Rights to Temple Mount
During a 1995 Root and Branch lecture in Jerusalem, Professor Nahum Rakover, author and then Deputy Attorney General of Israel, publicly agreed with me that it isn't illegal for Christians or Jews to pray upon the Temple Mount, even though it is forcibly prevented by the police.

Restore Israeli Sovereignty Over Temple Mount
The Wakf, the militant Muslim authority that oversees Jerusalem's Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site and Islam's alleged third holiest site (following Mecca and Medina) continue to show blatant disregard for Jewish, Christian and biblical history and non-Muslim sensitivities.

Blow Up the Mosques or An Expired Visa?
Once again, an attempt to spread DISinformation about my unjust deportation from Israel, only provides me with another opportunity to clearly state my case and continue to highlight the plight of the Temple Mount suffering under a Nazi-Muslim occupation...

G-d Doesn't Listen to Jewish Prayers at the Western Wall
Gershon Salomon warned Israel and its leadership that as long as the shameful situation on the Temple Mount continues, and as long as they do not obey the call of G-d, peace will not come to the land. The enemies of Israel will continue to desire her land and will pressure those in power to divide it. Obedience to the call of G-d will bring peace, all of Israel's enemies will be removed and no one will wish to divide or desire the land.

Major Upheaval in Israel?
Will an EARTHQUAKE shake Israel to its foundations and rock the world? Would the destruction of the Western/Wailing Wall and the demolition of the "Dome of the Rock" and Al-Aksa mosques—by an ACT OF GOD—serve further notice that it's time to build the Temple?

The Issue of the Temple Mount
The common knowledge of our time is that the vast majority of Rabbis of this generation have prohibited the Jewish people from entering the Temple Mount (Har HaBayit), the holiest site in Judaism. The Temple Mount is the site of where the Beit HaMikdash (the Jewish Temple) once stood and the place where the Moslems have erected one mosque, the al-Aqsa and a site of pilgrimage, the Dome of the Rock.

Dangerous Ideas?
During my brief appearance before Israel's High Court, the prosecution charged that I hold "dangerous ideas." I suppose the short-sighted prosecution would ban the Bible if he could since it contains the "dangerous ideas" that millions believe in! What are those "dangerous ideas?"

The Vatican Must Return the Temple Treasures
The Jews have prayed for 2,000 years to again see the Temple upon the Temple Mount. It's past time for prayers alone: ACTION is necessary to put faith into practice!

Will the pope act like Belshazzar or Cyrus?
Will Rome learn from history and receive instruction from the Bible or harden their hearts and be destroyed like pharaoh and Babylon?

CFR Netanyahu abandons Temple Mount

Netanyahu: Jerusalem is ours, deal with it

Israeli PM to carry firm message on control of Jerusalem to European leaders, but offer to freeze Jewish settlements more»


The CFR tool Benjamin Netanyahu can talk tough all he wants, but as long as he enables the Temple Mount to remain under Nazi Muslim occupation, failing to respect the religious rights of Jews and Christians, his words ring hollow.

Benjamin Netanyahu: CFR Member

Who is Bibi Netanyahu working for?

CFR Netanyahu is all talk and no action when it comes to loving and preserving the Jewish homeland. He cannot be trusted! He’s proven it. Bibi failed to make Oslo null and void, Bibi surrendered Hevron, and most wickedly - Bibi failed to open the Temple Mount to *Jewish worship as he said he would!

*Benjamin Netanyahu: “The right of the Jewish people to its holy place - the Temple Mount - cannot be questioned…I believe it is necessary to arrange for Jewish prayer on the site, especially given that we permit freedom of worship to all the religions in Jerusalem…”. And his office charged Palestinian officials with “disparaging Jewish holy sites and threatening potential worshippers” (in flagrant violation of Israel’s 1967 Law for the Protection of the Holy Places and the Oslo Accords). His deputy director of communications, Michael Freund, responded to the PA mufti’s declaration of war (that Jews “…must absolutely forget about having any rights over the Temple Mount…the Western Wall is just a fence belonging to a Muslim holy site”) by saying “these statements are repugnant and they betray a contempt for Judaism’s most sacred sites and beliefs. They are an affront to history and insulting to Jews everywhere.”

Dangerous Ideas?
EU to Conquer Anglo-Saxons and Jews
Israel’s Only Way Out: Follow Kahane!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Month of Elul: Busy Being Born

The Month of Elul: Busy Being Born
Av 30, 5769/August 20, 2009

We are entering the month of Elul, the month which precedes the new year, Rosh HaShana. Rosh HaShana celebrates the world's creation and more specifically, the creation of the first man. In this respect, Elul is imbued with the characteristics and potentials of a pre-creation process, and in this light we can see Elul to be a month in which who we are, and who we have become can and should be examined and explored. We are all the children of Adam haRishon - the first man - and that makes Rosh HaShana the day of our creation, our collective birthday.

These next four weeks, then, are fertile ground for us, the fertile ground of our own selves, waiting to be plowed and planted, watered and weeded. By rolling up our sleeves, by getting ourselves dirty, as it were, we can begin to return to the person that G-d "had in mind" on the day of our creation.

The unique spiritual reality of Elul is captured in the saying, "The King is in His field." That is, the great king who resides far away in his impregnable castle, and who is never seen by his subjects, has decided to venture forth into the valleys and fields of his people. His visit is unannounced and without fanfare. He wants to surprise us, to see as we are, to touch us. No frills.

The simple metaphor being illustrated here is of G-d, infinite, omnipotent, vastly remote from His creation, deciding to check up on His final work of creation. In other words, on you and me. G-d wants to do away with the distance that time has wrought, and even with the formality of repentance, supplication and prayer. He just wants to see us as we really are, as on the day He created us. No psychic frills, no guilt, no regrets.

But on a deeper level our allegory is telling us something even more profound. The field where G-d seeks us is not at all distant from His abode. For this field in which we toil, this field in which our lives unfold, is none other than Gan Eden, the Garden of Eden, the very place in which we were created. This earth that we plow is not some profaned base material reality, but it is the very stuff from which we were fashioned. By returning to who we are, to what we are, we are reconnecting to the spark of the Divine within us. Our spirits sprout up from this earth and reach heavenward. It is we who are drawing near to the King. For the Almighty One never was remote. He never was inaccessible. It was we who created the illusion of distance. Through our own shortcomings the walls were built. Through our own failings the path to Him was littered with impediments.

While we wait to be created - again - we have the power to strip off all the extraneous baggage we've picked up along the way. When we go up before a flesh and blood king, it's the externals that count: pressed clothing, clean nails, polished shoes, proper etiquette. But standing before the King of kings, we need only to be ourselves, no trappings necessary. Just as we were born naked, as we busy ourselves in this month of Elul for our own upcoming birth, we need to strip away the dross. We need to trust in who we are. After all, the King is in the field, and we are G-d's children.

Tune in to the week's Temple Talk as Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven discuss the month of Elul and the Supernal King in his earthly civvies, mixing among us mud-stained potato pickers. Yes, G-d wants to see us just the way we are. So it's time to drop the airs, and be ourselves! And speaking of positive attitude, this week's Torah reading of Shoftim describes the preclusion of certain preoccupied individuals from participating in warfare because, as Torah teaches us, negative thoughts can bring down negative results, and that must be avoided at all costs. Also, building the stone altar. From the dirt of this spot we were created, and through the dirt of the mizbeach - the altar - we can transcend our humble beginnings and lift our selves heavenward!

"An altar of earth you shall make for Me, and you shall slaughter beside it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your cattle. Wherever I allow My name to be mentioned, I will come to you and bless you." Exodus 20:21

On the 9th of Av, 5769, (2009), the Temple Institute began the construction of the stone altar. When completed, this altar will be ready to be transported to the Temple Mount, where the Divine service will be renewed. This six-minute video provides background information and first hand impressions of perhaps the most significant step taken yet towards the rebuilding of the Holy Temple and the renewal of the Divine service.

"I will bring them to My holy mount, and I will cause them to rejoice in My house of prayer, their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be acceptable upon My altar, for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples." Isaiah 56:7

Click here to view the video.

To learn more about building the altar, and to see pictures, please click here.

Today also features the new Light to the Nations teaching by Rabbi Chaim Richman, entitled, "Elul: The Purity Within: The month of Elul: A heaven-sent opportunity for us to reflect upon our relationship with G-d, and to remove the distance and the stumbling-blocks that we have placed between ourselves and the Holy One Blessed be He. Click here to view.

“You shall appoint judges and officers for yourself in all your portals…” (Deut. 16:18) We welcome the month of Elul, the month of taking stock and re-evaluating who we are and where we are in relationship to G-d. By “appointing judges and officers” over our eyes and ears, nose and mouth, we regain control over ourselves, our thoughts and our actions, and can begin to make our way back to Hashem. Click here to view Rabbi Richman's short teaching on parashat Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9).

Rosh Chodesh blessings from the holy city of Jerusalem,
Yitzchak Reuven
PO Box 31876
Jerusalem, Israel 97500

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

"See, I set before you today a blessing and a curse"

"See, I set before you today a blessing and a curse."
(Deuteronomy 11:26)

Av 23, 5769/August 13, 2009

A blessing and a curse imply both the freedom (privilege), and the responsibility of choice. It is our privilege to choose good or bad, right or wrong, blessing or curse, but it is our responsibility to choose always the former. The freedom of choice is a gift outright from G-d, who created man in His image and endowed him with the ability, (by choice), to emulate G-d by doing His will and walking in His ways.

Thus begins this week's Torah reading of Re'eh, a word which means "See! Envision! Understand!" Torah sharpens the picture for us some verses later when it states simply, "You are children of the L-rd, your G-d." (ibid 14:1) Yes, as children of G-d we too have a share in the eternal, notwithstanding the mortal clay from which our our bodies are fashioned. But to exist beyond our own finite selves, we need to focus, to see ourselves in the context not of our own limited lifetimes, but in the context of the generational continuum of mankind. For what we choose to do, or not to do, in our lifetimes resonates and reverberates in the generations that will follow. By doing what is right in G-d's eye, by embracing the blessing and rejecting the curse, we truly become His children, transcending death and time itself.

Elsewhere in the portion of Re'eh, the portion of "seeing clearly," we are presented with another choice. This time, however, the choice in not defined as our choice, but as G-d's choice:

"But only to the place which the L-rd your G-d shall choose from all your tribes, to set His name there; you shall inquire after His dwelling and come there. And there you shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and the separation by your hand, and your vows and your donations, and the firstborn of your cattle and of your sheep. And there you shall eat before the L-rd, your G-d, and you shall rejoice in all your endeavors you and your households, as the L-rd, your G-d, has blessed you." (ibid 11:5-7)

How are we to understand this? The entire Torah is predicated on the principle of man's freedom to choose. The entire Torah is dedicated to teaching man to choose responsibly. This Torah imperative can be seen in the very creation of man himself, and in the first actions taken by Adam and Eve, right up to the final words uttered by Moses on the day of his death, at the close of the book of Deuteronomy. Man's choice, not G-d's! G-d's will is fixed, immutable. Yet now we are told that G-d will choose a single place on earth where His commandment, "Build Me a sanctuary and I will dwell amongst them," (Exodus 25:8) will be fulfilled.

We are G-d's children, and our Father only wants what is best for us. Just as any father has a vision of what is best for his children and tries to imbue them with that vision, so too, G-d places before us the clear vision of what He knows is best for us. By making G-d's choice our choice, by seeking out that "place" where His presence dwells, we become the children He desires. This is the very place that Avraham called, "The L-rd will see, as it is said to this day: On the mountain, the L-rd will be seen." (Genesis 22:14)

Let's try seeing things G-d's way, making His choice our choice. Today we know precisely the location of the mountain where "the L-rd will be seen:" Mount Moriah, Jerusalem. By making our own presence felt there, by going up and being seen by G-d on that spot, we will at last be making His choice our choice, embracing His blessing, and gaining our share in His eternity.

Tune in to the week's Temple Talk as Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven examine the two episodes wherein Moses ascended Mount Sinai to receive the Tablets of the Law, and explore the cycle of birth, life, and death, the continuum of parents and children, and the true nature of our relationship with G-d.

This week features the latest Bat Melech video teaching with Rabbanit Rena Richman, entitled, "King David & Batsheva, Part II: King David, the slayer of Goliath, the champion of Israel, the man who laid the foundations of the Holy Temple, and the father of Moshiach, made the mistake of his life when he attempted to summarily dispatch Uriah, the husband of Batsheva. But it was this mistake when led him to become the master of repentance, and made him a figure that would span the millennia." Click here to view.

Today also features the new Light to the Nations teaching by Rabbi Chaim Richman, entitled, "Guarding the Holy Temple, Part III: Twenty-four teams, (three priestly and twenty-one levitical), each comprised of ten sentries, were assigned to guard the Holy Temple. Specific guard posts were assigned and each squad leader assigned shifts." Click here to view.

G-d commands us not to be overwhelmed by our own mortality; not to diminish our physical selves in the realization of our own finiteness, but to find strength and comfort in His eternal embrace: You are children of the L-rd, your G-d. (Deut. 14:1) Click here to view Rabbi Richman's short teaching on parashat Re'eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17).

Blessings from the holy city of Jerusalem,
Yitzchak Reuven
PO Box 31876
Jerusalem, Israel 97500

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Tu b'Av: Happiest Day of the Year

"There was no happier day thanthe 15th of Av..."
(Ta'anit 4:8)Av 15 (Tu b'Av), 5769/ August 5, 2009

Just when you think things can't get any worse - they get better! Welcome to the seven day once-and-future festival which begins with the 9th of Av and concludes on the most beloved of days - Tu b'Av - the 15th of Av. The dramatic change begins even on the day of the 9th itself, for the day of the destruction of the Holy Temple in 586 BCE, and again in 70 CE, is also, according to tradition, the day that the soul of messiah enters the world.

But, as we know, the 9th of Av is a day that from the beginning of creation was ripe with the potential for calamity. In fact, its first manifestation in our history was the sin of the spies who had been sent by Moses to gather spiritual intelligence from the land of Israel, and instead delivered their evil report on this day.

Their punishment, and the punishment meted upon the entire nation of Israel for accepting this report was, as we know, thirty-nine more years wandering in the desert, until the last of the generation had died out. Only then would their children eventually enter the land with Yehoshua.

Midrash tells us that the condemned generation did not gradually drop off throughout the days of the years, but that each year, on the 9th of Av, all the adult males would dig their own graves, and then lay down in them. The following morning only those whose survived the night would step out of their graves. So it was for thirty-eight years. But on the thirty-ninth and final year in the desert, all who had laid down in their graves on the 9th, rose and stepped out of them on the 10th. The decree was over. But rather than feel relief or exoneration, the people felt uncertainty. Maybe their timing was off? Maybe they miscalculated the date? So the men continued to lay down into their self-dug graves each night for the next seven nights until by the night of Tu b'Av, the 15th, they could see by the full moon that they couldn't be wrong: the decree of death was over!

In other words, the grievous sin of the spies was ultimately manifested in a nation-wide fear that the entire children of Israel were somehow out of sync. The very first commandment that the Israelites had received while still in Egypt was to observe the new moon and fix the calendar, yet within the course of one generation they had seemingly lost track of the days. Great was their fear. It was on Tu b'Av, the day of the full moon, that G-d reassured them that all was well. It was on Tu b'Av that they synchronized their spiritual watches and were once again at one with G-d.

The Talmud Tractate Ta'anit asks why Tu b'Av is considered the happiest day of the year, and receives several different answers from several different sages. The answers initially seem unrelated to one another, but now we can understand all the various facets of Tu b'Av in this new light: Concerning the generation of the desert, death stopped the moment they were realigned with G-d. Concerning the lifting of the ban against inter-tribal marriage after the Israelites had settled the land according to their tribal inheritances, having accomplished this, having remained faithfully in step with God's historical plan, they could now mix freely and with unity. And of course the lifting of the ban against intermarriage with the tribe of Binyamin, after the breakout of internecine violence had faded into history, marked a new resynchronization and harmony of spirit for the children of Israel. And yes, even the lifting of the Roman ban against the burying of the dead at Beitar, Bar Cochba's last stronghold, marked a reconciliation between G-d and His people.

Needless to say, the beloved custom of Tu b'Av which took place during the time of the Holy Temple, in which the unmarried girls of Jerusalem, dressed in borrowed white robes, danced in a circle while the young men looked for their future brides, bespeaks of unity, purity and perfection. As for today's popular custom of marrying on the 15th, there is no moment in life that so exemplifies the perfection of timing, or of being in perfect sync with God's world, as the bride and groom marrying under the wedding chuppah.

The three weeks of mourning, know as the "between the straits," (bein hameitzarim), the three weeks of feeling out of step with the universe, not at all in harmony with God's desire to dwell among us, have concluded. Now as we turn our thoughts to the approaching New Year, and to the spiritual stock taking and introspection that our upcoming rendezvous with G-d requires, He has blessed us with the most precious of gifts: We, God's children, are back in perfect sync with Him.

Mystical tradition tells us that it was on Tu b'Av, forty days before the work of creation was commenced, that G-d, in His infinite love and wisdom, determined the betrothal of Israel to the eternal Torah. The 15th of Av: Being in the right place at the right time!

Tune in to the week's Temple Talk as Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven wash off their mourning ashes and discuss the building of the stone altar, their 9th of Av ascent to the Temple Mount, parashat Eikev, the perfect day of Tu b'Av, and the growing support among the Jews in Zion for the speedy rebuilding of the Holy Temple!

On the 9th of Av, in the blazing heat of a desert afternoon, the Temple Institute, and all mankind, took a great leap forward. The beginning of construction of a small and transportable stone altar - mizbeach - whose ultimate purpose is to be used for the bringing of offerings in the Temple Courtyard on Mount Moriah, was commenced. This bold initiative, which took place on the very day marking the destruction of the Holy Temple nearly two millennia ago, struck a nerve among G-d fearers the world over. The spontaneous outpouring of goodwill and support for our efforts was unprecedented. To learn more about the actual events and to see photographs, please click here.

Today also features the new Light to the Nations teaching by Rabbi Chaim Richman, entitled, "Guarding the Holy Temple, Part II:: The Priests and Levites were entrusted with the task of providing 240 sentries to man twenty-four guard posts throughout the Temple Mount." Click here to view.

Love and fear. Torah exhorts us to love G-d and Torah also teaches us to fear Him. Are love and fear not mutually exclusive? How do we access both qualities in our service of HaShem? Click here to view Rabbi Richman's short teaching on parashat Eikev (Deuteronomy 7:11-11:25).

Tu b'Av blessings from the holy city of Jerusalem,
Yitzchak Reuven
PO Box 31876
Jerusalem, Israel 97500

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Monday, August 03, 2009

64% of Israelis want Temple rebuilt

64% of Israelis want Temple rebuilt

Thankfully, a growing number of Jews and Israelis are waking up to the fact that the Temple Mount must be restored as the TEMPLE Mount. Christian Bible-believers testify to this truth too and know that any foreign objects upon the Temple Mount are a perversion of its divine purpose to host a House of Prayer for All Peoples to worship the God of Israel (not Ishmael). I was unjustly deported from Israel for writing an article, published in Jerusalem, that highlights the plight of the Temple Mount suffering under Nazi Muslim occupation. In it I expose Israeli hypocrisy for professing to guarantee "freedom of access" to religious sites while looking the other way while militant Muslims illegally deny Christians and Jews their religious rights daily upon the Temple Mount. This deplorable and unnatural situation must end!

Why Edward Abington, Jr. Must Be Investigated!
"The American Diplomat in Arafat's Corner," published in The Jerusalem Report, came as no surprise to me. It was referring to Edward Abington, Jr., the United States' former consul general in Jerusalem who is now "guiding the Palestinians through the labyrinths of Washington. And his firm is being paid $2.25 million for his expertise."

Israel's Unjust Deportation of David Ben-Ariel
As a Christian-American member of the Temple Mount Faithful Movement, I had been privileged to participate in their legal demonstrations during my 10-month stay in Jerusalem awaiting dual citizenship. Israeli television often showed me with my Jewish friends carrying Israeli flags throughout the Old City.

Blow Up the Mosques or An Expired Visa?
Once again, an attempt to spread DISinformation about my unjust deportation from Israel, only provides me with another opportunity to clearly state my case and continue to highlight the plight of the Temple Mount suffering under a Nazi-Muslim occupation...

From Toledo to Jerusalem
You could say I have a God-given love for the Jews and the nation of Israel (Isaiah 62:6-7). That sacred bond has been strengthened over the years by the fact that I've been blessed to have lived all over Israel, getting to know its land and people quite well.

Dangerous Ideas?
During my brief appearance before Israel's High Court, the prosecution charged that I hold "dangerous ideas." I suppose the short-sighted prosecution would ban the Bible if he could since it contains the "dangerous ideas" that millions believe in! What are those "dangerous ideas?"

American Detained in Jerusalem's Russian Compound
Nobody arrested me. I was detained when I faithfully reported to the police office at 9 a.m. Monday morning, January 9, 1996 (day before my birthday) the day after The Jerusalem Post published on their front page an article shedding light on what they were doing in the dark: "GSS Seeks to Deport American Citizen for Plot to Blow Up Al Aksa Mosque."

Jumping on the runaway bandwagon of disinformation, Gerald Flurry and Stephen Flurry shamefully repeated the big lie:

Is David Ben-Ariel a Terrorist?
(Apparently Gerald Flurry and Stephen Flurry would mislead you to believe so!)

The Temple Mount Faithful is not a terrorist organization!
(Although Gerald Flurry and Stephen Flurry strongly insinuate it is, to their shame)

I'm not a terrorist