Friday, March 28, 2014

Tazria and Temple Mount Awareness Day

If a woman conceives and gives birth to a male"

(Leviticus 12:1)
2 Adar 25, 5774/March 27, 2014

When a loved one dies, (G-d forbid), family, friends, neighbors and associates all come to offer condolences to the bereaved survivors. But anyone who has ever lost a close family member or friend knows that only the birth of a child or grandchild brings any comfort or consolation. Perhaps this is one reason why this week's Torah reading, Tazria, Leviticus 12:1-13:59), opens with "If a woman conceives and gives birth to a male... " (ibid 12:1) Following last week's reading of the tragic and untimely deaths of Nadav and Avihu, the two older sons of Aharon, theKohen Gadol, the announcement of a new birth, a new soul in the world, is a powerful message of comfort and an affirmation of life.

There are many prayers and customs concerning the birth of a Jewish child. There are prayers before conception, there are prayers for an easy birth and a healthy baby, there are prayers for the birth of a righteous individual, there is, of course, the Brit Milah, (circumcision), for a male new-born, also mentioned in Leviticus 12:3, and there are a number of customs and ceremonies for celebrating the birth of a baby girl. But, as our parasha tells us, in the time of the Holy Temple, the new mother is commanded, (after a thirty-three day waiting period upon the birth of a son, and a sixty-six day period upon the birth of a daughter), to purify herself and bring an offering to the Holy Temple:

"She shall bring a sheep in its first year as a burnt offering, and a young dove or a turtle dove as a sin offering, to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, to the kohen." (ibid 12:6)

Imagine for a moment the awesome feeling of excitement and anticipation as the days and weeks pass by and the time draws near for the mother to re-emerge into the world and to thank G-d for the gift of her new-born child. There is, to this day, a mortal danger in giving birth, and infant death, though thankfully brought down to a minimum via modern medicine and health care, is still a grave concern. How much more so it must have been in ancient times. But every parent breaths a sigh of relief and murmurs a prayer of thanks as the first weeks of life pass by and they see that their baby is healthy and gaining weight.

It is at this point that the mother, fully recovered from the birth, is commanded to bring her offering to the Holy Temple. No doubt the father, older siblings, grandparents and other family members accompany her to participate in her expression of gratitude and thanks and together they celebrate once again the entrance into the world of a new soul. And no doubt the infant itself, still too tender to be away from the mother, is in her arms throughout the entire experience. How beautiful a bonding experience for mother and child to be together at the holiest place on earth, in the presence of the Shechinah, standing before the kohen and the altar, (the place of the birth of Adam, the first man), and together to make their offerings to G-d upon the altar. How beautiful that the infant, who at this point in his or her development, is fully absorbing every detail of the world around him on a conscious level and even on the subconscious level, imbibing it all through her five senses: the splendor of the Holy Temple, the music of the Levites, the aroma of the incense offering, perhaps even a touch of the wool of the lamb that is to be offered. Could there possibly be a more meaningful and triumphal way for a mother and child to start out their life together than to do so by way of an appointed meeting with G-d at the Holy Temple?

The Holy Temple is an affirmation of life, an utter rejection of the illusion of death. Filled only with the glory of the Shechinah - the immanent presence of G-d - there exists within the Holy Temple only the reality of the transcendent truth of life.

This affirmation of life is truly what the Holy Temple is all about, and it is the reason, above all other reasons, why we need the Holy Temple in our world today. This Sunday, (March 30th), we invite you to join us for our5th Annual International Temple Mount Awareness Day Live Streaming Online Event. We hope to share with you a glimpse of some of the people who are working day and night to make the Holy Temple a living reality once again in our world. Throughout the four hour program we will be in our online chat-room and invite you to join us, to share your thoughts, ask questions, and, most of all, to celebrate with us the joy and life affirming beauty of our shared vision for mankind in which G-d'spresence is in His Holy Temple, and His Holy Temple is in our world. Join us!

Professor Gabriel Barkay, archaeologist, Muslim destruction and denial of the Holy Temple

Zvia Savir, preparing a Biblical meal offering

Professor Jeffrey Woolf, 2000 years of Jewish prayer & presence on the Temple Mount

Knesset Deputy Speaker Moshe Feiglin, Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount

Aryeh Sonenberg, Temple Mount activist, freedom & prayer on the Temple Mount

Ascending the Temple Mount with Rabbi Chaim Richman

Friends of the Temple Institute speaking from their hearts

Singer-songwriter Yitzchok Meir Malek

A visit to the Temple Institute's newly opened Holy Temple Visitors Center

Arnon Segal, Hebrew language journalist, reviving Temple consciousness in Israel

The Awareness Day Special can be viewed on the Temple Institute'swebsite. It will also be available on other online locations, including Israel National News. We invite you to join Rabbi Richman and Yitzchak Reuven in the chat-room where you can share your comments, ask questions and meet other people who like you feel that the world will be a better place with the Holy Temple.

We are also calling upon participants to please help sponsor the event. Sponsorship can also be done by calling toll-free 1-800-941-3484. The Temple Institute depends upon the generous support of our many friends and followers. The International Awareness Day program is a major annual project of the Temple Institute and your support for this year's event will enable us to begin planning next year's event.

The names of our sponsors appear on the Awareness Day webpage and will be updated throughout the broadcast in our chat-room. If you have made a recent donation with the intention of sponsoring the program, but don't see your name among the sponsors, please contact us and we will add your name.

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