Temple Incense Oils
Ketoret Besamin - The Eleven Holy Spices
Since ancient times, natural aromatic plant substances have played a vital role in the daily life of everday folk, in every native culture throughout the world. More recently, over the past few generations, this vital link between people and plants has become diminished, and many of us are losing touch with the earth and our own state of health.
artwork by Yitzhak Ben Yehuda
One native culture, which thousands of years ago based its medicine and religious ceremonies on aromatic plants, has begun to reemerge. After nearly 2000 years in exile, the people of Israel are returning to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple, and renew its ceremonies. Behind the tumultuous scenes and out of view of the news media, a dedicated group of people are quietly rebuilding the original vessels and instruments, and a number of special schools are training those who will use them.
Central to all of the ceremonies conducted in the Temple was the Incense Offering. It consisted of a precise mixture of 11 Holy Spices, known in Hebrew as the Ketoret Besamim (mentioned in Exodus 30:34-38). During the days of the Temple, the Ketoret is burned every evening and morning on the golden Incense Altar by Cohanim (priests), in front of the Holy Ark in the Communion Tent of the Temple's Sanctuary.
Image courtesy of Beged Ivri
According to the Zohar, the Incense Offering is the most precious part of the Temple service in the eyes of the Great Spirit, and every Priest hopes to have the honor of conducting this service, which is permitted only as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It is said that one who has had the privilege to offer the Incense is rewarded by the Holy One with wealth and prosperity forever, in this world and in the next.
During the days of the Temple, the exact method of Ketoret preparation by the Master Perfumer was a closely guarded secret. Today we are still unravelling the mystery of exactly which ingredients and processes were used to formulate the finely ground mixture. Although there are still varying opinions and speculation about some aspects of the Ketoret, the wise ones among us have been able to identify the exact botanical sources of the main ingredients.
Although there are strict prohibitions against experimentation with the various plant materials in their original form, we have been advised by our highly respected teachers in Jerusalem that there is no prohibition whatsoever against the enjoyment of the Essential Oil extracts of these same botanicals. In fact, we have been greatly encouraged to use and enjoy them, and to make these very special and beautifully fragrant Oils available to our extended family throughout the world.
Working together with Beged Ivri, and after many years of research on the 11 Spice ingredients, we have been able to firmly authenticate at least 10 of the ingredients. Nine of these are available in the form of Essential Oils, plus an alternate variety of Judaic Balsam, and an 11th Oil which is authentic according to some opinions. We have also been able to gather all 11 authentic Spices in their raw form.
We are honored to present the Eleven Ketoret Oils for your pleasure as anointments, air fragrances, ceremonial spices and for further exploration, in the hope and prayer that the Holy Temple in Jerusalem will be quickly and joyfully rebuilt.
Nine of the Eleven Temple Spices in their raw unprocessed form.
Set of All 11 Raw Temple Incense Spices in Small Jars: $125.00