Oy Bay!

"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

The Temple Institute

Posted by kneidalach on February 5, 2008

With the voting, superbowl, the terrorist attack in Dimona, it’s hard to keep up with the current events. But aside from that, we’re also building the Tabernacle in this week’s Torah portion, “Terumah”.
I happend to go a Parshah class led by Rabbi Steinberg, and he mentioned this organization and their website “The Temple Institute”.

The institue is an educational and religious organization that is located in Jerusalem’s Old City. They have two missions:
1) To educate the public about the Holy Temple, its functions, vessels, Holidays, etc through seminar, conferences, and publications.
2) To begin the rebuilding of the Holy Temple. Towards this goal, the institute is working on constructing the sacred vessels for the service of the Holy Temple. They are made according to the exact specifications of the Bible, and have been constructed from the original source material, such as gold, copper, silver and wood. These are authentic, accurate vessels, not replicas or models, and are fit and ready to use in the service of the Temple.

So take a look for yourself, because I think it’s sort of cool.

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12 Responses to “The Temple Institute”

  1. Oyster said

    I ❤ the Temple Institute.

  2. Friar Yid said

    I’d like to like the Temple Institute, except that they seem to blur the line between an educational resource and actual messianists who believe that their historical reconstructions are going to be <a href=”http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/124443″getting used anytime soon. And there’s also the tricky matter of the T.I’s association with even weirder groups like the Temple Mount Faithful and the New Sanhedrin (R. Yisrael Ariel, for instance, is a prominent leader of T.I and S. 2.0).

    A museum about Temple times is a wonderful thing and something I have no trouble getting behind. But I get really uncomfortable when people actually start talking about rebuilding the Temple and bringing back animal sacrifices. My view is that, for better or worse (IMO, better), we’ve progressed beyond the need for a physical temple. As such, any movement that actually wants to bring it back looks like a weird religious regression and/or a misguided attempt at getting a “do-over” of the last 2000 years of Jewish history. To say nothing of the fact that when it comes to the physical HOW of rebuilding the temple, a lot of these groups either seem to be downright delusional (“it will just happen, there won’t be any violence; maybe we can build it NEXT to the mosques”) or disturbingly indifferent (“bulldoze the mosques and screw the Arabs, we’ll just build it and see what happens”) to the possibility of real human casualties coming from their pet projects.

    History is great. But the reality is that these institutions are defunct and are going to stay that way. And spilling blood to bring them back is a very funny way of making the Mount “holy” again.

  3. Oyster said

    I’m very pluralistic about such things. If there are Jews who actively long for the return of the Temple (squarely established in our history and religious canon), then let them be. As for some of their members being part of other groups, I’m also all about freedom of association. A big difference if they’re a member of Kahane Khai, for example.

    As long as they don’t start advocating nutso actions, like provoking the Waqf, and maintain primarily a institute of learning (& craft), then who am I to bother them?

  4. FriarYid said

    I’m not about to go burn down their center or anything; I’m just not about to give them a ringing endorsement either.

    And my impression is that there is some overlap between some of the nuttier Temple people and groups like K.C.

    But point taken.

  5. el_sheik! said

    I agree with Friar Yid; I was at the Institute and found their belief that the Temple will be rebuild any time soon rather disturbing: first of all, they sell pictures of Jerusalem’s Old City but photoshopped so instead of the Mosques is the Beit haMikdash. Second, anyone who has read Maimonides can understand why we don’t need a Temple anymore. And if someone doesn’t want to read the Rambam, he can read Rushkoff explanation at http://www.amazon.com/Nothing-Sacred-Truth-About-Judaism/dp/0609610945

    But, of course, we’re pluralist so no burning…

  6. kneidalach said

    I thought it was fascinating in from the point of view as historical artifacts.
    It scares me a bit to think about the Holy Temple being rebuilt again. Although I don’t know the reasons why we don’t need the Temple anymore (my thought on it is that if Rambam, back in the middle ages, said that the Temple is not neccessary, and yet we haven’t removed it from our prayers, then we still should aspire for it), I’m shivering by the thought of not only the Muslim-Jewish conlict, but also by the inner religious conflicts between the Jews. I mean from a religious standpoint, how could we possibly build the Holy Temple when most Jews around the world don’t give a damn?

  7. el_sheik! said

    kneidalach, most rabbis and morim don’t teach it, but Maimonides’ books were burned… by the Jewish Rabbinate in France in the XIV century!!! And nowadays in many yeshivot his name is barely mentioned… yet, every siddur will contain his “13 principles of faith”, a text he wrote while he was young and never mentioned again in his following books.

    So there are MANY things wrong with our tfilot…

    And yes, I agree with you with most Jews don’t giving a damn

  8. FriarYid said

    I’m not so much “concerned” about the Temple creating more conflicts between Jews, I think it would just illustrate the major divide between them. I am obviously biased but I really question how many Jews who pray for the Temple to be rebuilt actually mean it, or at least mean they want a physical temple with physical priests smearing physical blood on an altar. I haven’t done a great deal of research into the matter but my impression is that Judaism is one of the few religions that was able to make as dramatic a transition from a Temple cult to an international, portable, and home & community-based series of individual rituals. Frankly, I find THAT to be far more impressive than if we all decided to going back to slaughtering bulls. I also think that by putting so much emphasis on rebuilding the Temple, some of the members of the Temple Institute, Temple Mount Faithful, etc., might not be limiting the creative power behind the temple and messianic age/concept as symbolism and something to aspire towards, yet never quite reach. If getting the temple back is “simply” a matter of putting a new building up, it seems to take a lot away from it.

    Even if the Temple was rebuilt (and it somehow didn’t start WWIII), my guess would be that it would probably be viewed with a large deal of skepticism by many Jews around the world- a fair number of Haredim would probably be wary of it, the Modern Orthodox might dig it, depending on their views of who was involved in the venture, and the non-Orthodox would probably not really know what to make of it, both religiously but also politically (I can’t imagine Eric Yoffie, for instance, not having problems with the fact that A- Reform Jews don’t “need” a Temple, and B- at this stage it is basically impossible to build the temple without enraging the world’s Muslims). I wonder if the folks at the Temple Institute know (or understand) why so many people might have misgivings about what they want to do? I kind of doubt it.

  9. kneidalach said

    In terms of sacrificing animals and the such, to me it basically says, lots fresh BBQ meat. I’m sure they loved Sukkot, Passover and Shavuot! people were getting together, sharing a fresh, juicy steak.

    I think they’re well aware of the misgivings. But what the intitute seems to be doing, is that yes, we might pray for something the we “formally” inspire to but it doesn’t seem to ever happen, so by building these vessels, they shine a different light on the Temple, as if this is a tangible reality for the future.

    Anyhow, I, like you, cannot imagine the Holy Temple in our modern age. It seems like science fiction.

  10. “Anyhow, I, like you, cannot imagine the Holy Temple in our modern age. It seems like science fiction.”

    Yes, like believing in H’Shem, mitzvot and being Jewish…

    I’m kidding…

    To the best of my understanding, whether it occurs through divine intervention or the efforts of pious Jews, most practicing Jews do believe the Temple will be rebuilt. That includes Haredim. The controversy is “how” this is going to happen not “if” this going to happen. Now maybe in America, in some middle class shuls, this is not the case. But globally, this is a core belief of Judaism.

    Shabbat shalom.

  11. Friar Yid said

    most practicing Jews do believe the Temple will be rebuilt.

    Define “practicing.”

    Now maybe in America, in some middle class shuls, this is not the case. But globally, this is a core belief of Judaism.

    Class has nothing to do with anything and I think you know this. The issue is one of belief. Many non-Orthodox Jews have a significantly different faith system than Orthodox ones. I am simply pointing out one area where, I believe, this discrepancy shows itself. I suspect you are overstating the percentage of Jews that *truly* think that this building is going to reappear anytime soon, whether through dynamite or magic.

    My guess is that there is a healthy amount of skepticism, if not downright disbelief, in this principle among a great many non-Orthodox Jews. Among the Orthodox, I would certainly be willing to believe that there is a much higher proportion of believers in a physical Temple resurrection (though then we get into nitty-gritty details like how, when, etc.)

  12. השפיע עלי בטירוף
    מאוד מעניין

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