This week's double Torah reading of Nitzavim-Vayelech opens with Moshe's renewal of G-d's covenant with Israel. In these words spoken on the last day of his life, Moshe Rabbeinu emphasizes that every future generation of Israel is included in this relationship: "Not with you alone do I seal this covenant...but with who is here, standing with us today...and with whoever is not here with us today."
What is the nature of this unique, non-negotiable covenant? Can't I get off the train? Sorry, nothing doing...Israel is in this deal forever. It's part of our DNA; our connection with G-d, so easily misunderstood, is the most basic fact of who we are. But a covenant goes two ways: Israel is forever obligated to represent G-d in this world, and G-d, in turn, guarantees the eternity of the Jewish people. Take a break from the runaway madness of today's headlines and tune into this week's penultimate Temple Talk of the year 5773, as Yitzchak Reuven and Rabbi Richman expound upon the promises of repentance and redemption, and speculate on the mysteries of Jewish survival, Jewish destiny ...and the secret of Jewish neurosis. Cancel that appointment with your analyst: all you need to be normal is to study parshat Netzavim!
This Week at the Temple Institute:
PARASHAT NITZAVIM-VAYELECH: http://www.youtube.com/user/henryporter2
5773: THE TEMPLE INSTITUTE'S YEAR IN REVIEW: As we approach Rosh HaShana, the New Year, it is appropriate for every individual to reflect and take stock on all that we have accomplished over the past twelve months, and to strive for self-improvement. The Temple Institute has many accomplishments to be proud of throughout this past year, and at the same time we are equally focused on the goals we have set before us for the upcoming year.
ONE STEP CLOSER TO THE HOLY TEMPLE: On the evening of Tuesday, August 20th, 2013, the 14th day of Elul, 5773, the Temple Institute, in cooperation with Mishmeret Kehunah (the Organization for the Renewal of the Priestly Shifts) and other Temple organizations inaugurated a new school dedicated to teaching kohanim the 'lost' art of performing the daily Tamid service in the Holy Temple.
That evening, for the first time since the destruction of the Holy Temple, a historic practice drill of the daily Tamid offering was reenacted by a group of contemporary kohanim-in-training. As you can see in these side-by side comparisons of "then and now," this event brings the time of the renewal of the Divine service closer than ever before!
THEN AND NOW: THE CHAMBER OF PINCHAS THE OUTFITTER: In the Second Temple there was a special chamber called "The Chamber of Pinchas the Outfitter." In this chamber the garments of the both the High Priest and the ordinary were stored. Each week, when the new shift of kohanim would arrive, they would open the particular closet of that shift and each kohen would take garments according to his size.
THEN AND NOW: THE FIRST LOTTERY OF THE DAY is held to determine who will merit to attend to the first service of the day. The lottery takes place within the holy area of the Chamber of Hewn Stone. There, the kohanim stand in a wide circle, while the overseer stands in the middle.