April 13, 2005

The Chafetz Chaim on learning the Avoda

The following is from a letter by the Chafetz Chaim (Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagen HaKohain):

…Presently it is difficult to find Kohanim who know the laws and practices of the Temple Service fully. How disheartening and embarrassing. It sadly indicates that our prayers for the Temple and the Service are merely lip service, not real or heartfelt. For if we really desired it to come, we would prepare and make ready for it.

Therefore my brothers, it is incumbent upon us to…further the knowledge of the Temple and its Service. Particularly the Kohanim and the Levites, who are most directly involved in this Torah Mitzvah, for they will be the first to be asked, “why didn’t you prepare for the Temple Service?”


Anonymous said...

Still reading, but must comment already. I'm seeing a ot of Kohain-centric stuff here lately. What about us Levites? Don't forget us?
Anyway, Temple Service mitzvos that don't apply without a Bais HaMikdash are still studied as part of Parsha learning, but is there an appropriate forum for them to be practiced?
Ergo, Karbanos for the 3rd Temple are not likely to be given trial runs until construction begins.
MK HaLevi

Judah HaKohain said...

You are right on the first point. As a Kohain I am not as aware of Levitical Service material. Would you care to post an article or send me some info. I would greatly appreciate it.

True, the Service today is not done because we do not have a Temple, however, as the Chofetz Chaim staes, we should not wait until the Messiah to begin preparing. Unfortunately, the Diaspora has sunk into every facet of Jewish life. Kohanim and Leviim are relegated to a "hey, that's nice" status (leading benching, first Aliyos, etc.) without any attempt by mainstream Rabaiim or lay Jews to help us prepare. I myself am trying to get a group of Kohanim and Leviim together to learn Taharos (pruity laws) and Kodshim (laws of Holy objects) but have been met with yawns and disinterest. It is a sad state for the Jewish People.

We as Jews pray, weep and mourn the destruction but do little to ready ourselves. Is it just lip service as the Chofetz Chaim says? Do we not really believe in Redemption? I would go so far as to say that if you decided to study such subject you would be automatically labeled a "radical" or a "Kachnik" two things that I am not.

Apparently you can take the Jew out of Golus but you can't take the Golus out of the Jew.