Kenneth Cohen

Managing a Home in Temple Times

It is a little more understandable as to why Jews have gone so far astray from their Jewish observance, when we consider what we lost. If we gain a better understanding of what we once had, we will realize how easy it is to abandon something once cherished.

Another aspect of living during Temple times, is the care that was taken in managing one’s home. Keeping kosher was a given because its violation carried strict penalties. People needed to manage their homes with great care. They needed to set aside the various tithes that needed to be given to a Kohein, or brought to Jerusalem for consumption there.

These tithes, known as תרומה and מעשר שני, had their own rules connected with their handling. All of this required being knowledgeable of these details. If such foods are eaten in a state of impurity, or if a non-Kohein ate the Kohein’s Teruma, if done intentionally, there could be מיתה בידי שמים, death by the Heavenly court. If unintentionally, a sin-offering, קרבן חטאת, needed to be offered.

Unlike today, the entire community was aware, and respected the punitive system of the Torah. And unlike today, people were reminded of their Judaism at all times.

It is important to realize the state of holiness and spirituality that was once an integral part of every Jew’s life. If we can achieve this realization, it will create a greater longing for Mashiach and the rebuilding of the Temple.

And perhaps, if we realize that no less than 246 of the 613 Mitzvot of the Torah can only be observed in Eretz Yisrael, it will create a greater longing for the Jewish people to come home to Israel, the only home for its people.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at