Levites Tune Up In Anticipation Of The Third Temple

News Image By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz/WND News Center April 29, 2024
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On Thursday, the third intermediary day of Passover, Levites gathered in Jerusalem to reenact their musical role in the Temple. A group of about two dozen Levites gathered in the Old City to practice their singing while wearing garments designed for use by the Temple musicians in the Third Temple.

The Levites also blew silver trumpets that had been prepared for use in the Third Temple.

Traditionally, Temple musicians were selected from the tribe of Levi. The Levites were selected to sing in the Temple because the name Levi means to accompany, and their music would cause others to come close to God. In the days that the Temples stood in Jerusalem, the Levites sang on the 15 steps-- corresponding to the 15 Songs of Ascent in Psalms 15 --that led from the Ezrat Nashim ("Court of Women") to the Ezrat Yisrael("Court of Israelites"). 

The Mishna states that there were never less than 12 Levites standing on the platform, but their number could be increased indefinitely. While ordinarily, no minor was permitted to enter the Azarah ("Courtyard") to take part in the service, the young Levites were permitted to join in the singing to "add sweetness to the sound" but were not permitted to stand on the same platform with the adult Levites (Talmud Erchin 2:6).

In the Bible, the tribe of Levi included Moses and Aaron. Kohanim (priests) are descendants of Aaron and his descendants became a subset of the tribe of Levi. The other members of the tribe were chosen by God to forfeit their portions of land in Israel and to serve in the Temple. The Levites performed various functions in the Temple including guarding and serving all the musical needs. 

Jewish communities are scrupulous about perpetuating the status of the Levites, which is passed from father to son. Only Jewish men whose fathers were Levites are considered eligible. Comprising about 4% of the total Jewish population, they are recognized for conspicuous honors in religious services and their status as Levites is inscribed on their gravestones.

The Nezer HaKodesh Institute for Kohanic Studies is actively schooling Jewish priests to perform Temple service.

Participants are being drawn from a registry of Kohanim prepared by the school's parent foundation, the Temple Institute in Jerusalem, which has already created nearly all of the vessels, furnishings, and priestly garments needed in a fully functioning Temple.

To register for study, one must be certified as having a clear patriarchal link to the priestly class, be born and raised in Israel, and have observed the laws of purity required by priests.

Anyone who has made contact with a dead body or has come under the roof of a dead person is disqualified.  Therefore, a Jew of Kohen descent who was born in a hospital, has visited hospitals, or has been to a cemetery (except for a close relative) is not eligible.

The school is not only instructing students on the halakha (Torah law) that applies to priestly Temple service but also such specialized topics as "The Role and Application of Modern Technology in the Third Temple" and "The Mathematics of the Holy Temple." Also included are courses on "Aspects of Engineering and Design" and "The Topography of the Temple Mount."

This instruction seems to suggest that the Kohanim may be involved in the actual design and/or construction of the future Temple.

In fact, this was the case in Jerusalem after the Jews returned from exile in Babylon.  

We read in Ezra 1:5 that "the priests and Levites -- everyone whose heart God had moved -- prepared to go up and build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem."

And in Ezra 3:8, we learn that the leaders of Israel appointed "Levites twenty years old and older to supervise the building of the house of the LORD."

Originally published at Israel 365 News

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