If one were to believe the world's media, it seems that Israeli settler moms, nursing their babies and changing diapers on the hilltops of the Biblical lands of Judea and Samaria, are a greater threat to world peace and stability than terrorist regimes and North Korean missiles. But the secret can be seen in last week's Torah portion, wherein Bilaam unsuccessfully tried to curse the Children of Israel, and G-d arranged for him to deliver beautiful blessings instead. We learn many secrets from his words; not only what it is that he said, but what it is that he wanted to say as well. But not to be deterred, eventually he came up with another way of interfering with the Jewish people's destiny: he developed a program to lead them into immoral behavior. This week, we are introduced to Pinchas the Cohen, who took matters into his own hands and avenged the honor of Hashem. Some say he wasn't acting like a nice Jewish fellow should act. Who was he? And what bearing do these events have on the Jewish people today? And what else do Bilaam and President Obama have in common?
This week we observe the fast day of the 17th day of Tammuz, which begins the annual three-week mourning period for the destruction of the Holy Temple. The fast day of Tammuz marks the beginning of the battle against Jerusalem. Today as well, Jerusalem's future seems to be hanging in the balance. Tune into this week's Temple Talk as Rabbi Richman and Yitzchak Reuven discuss all this and more?including a special tribute to the holy Rabbi Chaim ben Atar, the Or HaChaim, "Light of Life," who passed away on the 15 of Tammuz. Listen to the story of this righteous man and the secret of washing hands before eating bread.
New on www.templeinstitute.org/:
For the first time, we have published online a brief summary of pertinent halacha (requirements of Torah law) and guidelines for ascending to the Temple Mount (aliya) in purity. While not intended to be a substitute for in-depth study or at the very least, consultation with a Torah scholar who is acknowledged to be an expert in this highly specialized, often neglected subject, this guide will introduce the potential pilgrim to the basic do's and don'ts of proper conduct upon the Temple Mount. Click here to view: http://www.templeinstitute.org/guide_to_ascending_the_mount.htm
Be sure to watch these online video teachings: Weekly Torah Portion with Rabbi Chaim Richman: Pinchas
Who was Pinchas? Where did he come from? What was he made of? Was his act of zealotry a true "Jewish" reaction? Was his ability to act in the moment to defend G-d's honor, to assuage G-d's anger a true "Jewish" reaction? Absolutely! http://universaltorah.com/programming/2009/07/05/weekly-torah-portion-pinchas-3.htm
Light to the Nations with Rabbi Chaim Richman: Rambam's Hilchot Beith HaBechira - Maimonides' Laws of the Chosen House - chapter 8: "Guarding the Holy Temple: It is the task of the Levites to stand guard over the Holy Temple for the purpose of proper respect for the House of the L-rd." Premiers Thursday, July 9th: http://universaltorah.com/programming/category/temple-institute-light-to-the-nations/
Discuss this topic on the new Torah Spirituality for the Nations forum