Soon after making Aliyah, I discovered my lack of knowledge relating to the Holy Temple. I recognized I had no information relating to its true spiritual depth and cosmic greatness. Thank G-d, my Aliyah decision to return home, to Israel, became the catalyst that enabled me to engage in the ongoing study of the Temple.As I pursued knowledge on Temple teachings, my heart and soul awakened to Temple consciousness. This made me profoundly aware of the necessity for all Jews, wherever they are, to study this awe inspiring topic which is vital to our national mission.
As a result of living in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem,in close proximity to the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site where the Temples stood, I also felt the impetus to learn more about our beloved Beit HaMikdash (holy Temple).
I cherished the close proximity of our new residence, to the Temple Mount, because of its spiritual significance. Sometimes, I would awaken in the wee hours of the morning and be magnetically drawn to arise from my slumber and explore my new world. I would quietly grab my clothes, make my bedroom escape, dress and depart the house in order to explore the Jewish quarter. I delighted in the private discovery time and felt like a child sneaking away from home, on a private, magical adventure. I named my early morning outings, my spirit walks, because I felt my Jewish spirit come alive.as my imagination awakened and intermingled with the ancient biblical sites. I felt as if, I was alone with all the memories of those precious Jews who had come before me to live and die for our nation. My special outings were soul stirring and I felt enlivened by them and intensely connected to both G-d and the Jewish nation.
In my Jewish quarter wanderings, I discovered the Broad Wall, a 23 feet thick foundation of an Old Testament city wall built in 701 BC by Hezekiah, King of Judah, to protect the city from the Assyrians. Farther down the road, I passed the Burnt House, which is a charred ruins of an industrial workshop located in the lower level, of a home where the priestly family called Bar Karos resided. This information was gleaned from inscribed stone plates unearthed at the site. This site bears the most complete evidence of the city’s fiery destruction by the Romans because the archaeologists discovered the remains of a skeletal hand and arm of a woman clutching a scorched staircase in an attempt to escape. The Burnt house left me with a very unsettled feeling as I became a witness to the proof of the painful destruction of the Old City. It was very real in a haunting way. It pained me to be reminded of the horrible destruction of our holy nation in our beloved land.The museums and historic sites in the Old City also aroused my quest for awakened Temple consciousness because they were connected to the historic time periods, I was reading and studying about.
Many Jews are unaware, as I was, that we are commanded by the Torah, to revere the Temple. We revere it, because of the One who commanded us to build it and whose presence permeated it and will once again permeate it, when the third Temple is rebuilt. The Temples were G-ds gift to the Jewish nation and the world. The Temple was shrouded in spirituality because it created a physical dwelling place for G-d. The Torah teaches us that the influence of the Temple service was palpable and the radiance of G-ds presence could be deeply felt by all present and even extended out to the Jerusalem environs. It was a cosmic manifestation of G-d and a precious gift to the entire world and it contributed a great benefit to society.
Jewish teachings explain that we have an obligation in all times, to learn the laws of the Holy Temple, its history, its structure, the services and sacrifices practiced there. Through undertaking this endeavor, it will be, as if we are building the Temple. Our studies should be carried out in anxious anticipation of the Holy Temple being rebuilt and should be ongoing. It is the job of every Jew to study about the Holy Temple with the understanding that in the very near future, we will see it manifest before our eyes.
I received my first in-depth teachings related to Beit Hamikdash ( the Holy Temple) through the information presented by the Third Temple Institute, which is located in The Old City in Jerusalem. They can be found at http://www.templeinstitute.org. This is an amazing organization which has vast information on all aspects of the Temple.
Another great web site related to Temple teachings: http://www.ahavat-israel.com/torat/temple.
The following times of Israel post is a fantastic article about both the Temple and Moshiach. It’s a must read! http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/moshiach-is-not-your-cleaning-lady/
To conclude, I am sharing a portion of the Shabbat Torah teaching by Rabbi Nachman Kahana from the Old City of Jerusalem. His vibrant teachings will also awaken your Temple consciousness.
BS”D Parashat Devarim – Shabbat Chazon Tisha Be-Menachem Av 5776 Rabbi Nachman Kahana
A: During the three weeks between the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Menachem Av, one thousand nine hundred and forty six years ago, a hand-to-hand battle raged between the soldiers of Rome and the Jewish defenders over every meter of hallowed ground in the walled city of Yerushalayim. It took the Roman Tenth Legion, superior in number and weapons, led by the infamous Titus, three weeks to defeat the Jews who entered the battle already sick and famished. It took the Romans another 32 days to advance from the Temple Mount to today’s Jewish Quarter, the distance of about 150 meters, which illustrates the ferocity our forefathers fought with in defending the Holy City.
On the 11th of Elul, the city finally fell to the battered Roman Legion. The smell of death and the cries of the dying filled the air. Carnage filled the narrow alleyways. The Romans showed no pity, neither to those who were still alive nor to the dead who they defiled.
Picture an elderly couple with hands tied behind their backs and whip marks on their bodies being taken away to be sold as slaves, or any of the other terrible fates that waited them. The elderly man says to his wife, “We have sinned and HaShem has punished us as we deserve. We were warned but did not respond. Who will live on, who will return? Who will rebuild that which has been destroyed? The carnage, the destruction, the dead covering every stone; who will return?”
And the old savta (grandma) says, “Moshe, the time will come when our descendants will return and rebuild every house, every street and every bet midrash. And then they will rebuild the Bet HaMikdash.”
The elderly couple is our grandparents – every one of us. To whom was savta (grandma) referring when she said to saba (grandpa) that their descendants would return and rebuild?
She was referring to you and to me and to all our brothers and sisters who merit being in Eretz Yisrael at this time. We are the chosen of HaShem to rebuild, to restore the physical destruction and to re-ignite the torch of hope in our hearts for the final redemption which will be realized here in HaShem’s Holy Land.
Our generation is one of the greatest for a Jew. Of all the millions of Jews who have passed this world in the last 2000 years, it is we whom HaShem has chosen to be His agents in restoring his presence in the Holy Land.
The challenges are great; the rewards are even more amazing. The rewards in this world are the fruit of our labors from the small trickle of olim (new immigrants) 120 years ago to their children who are erecting the skyscrapers of Tel Aviv and the pilots who police the skies above the Holy Land and learn HaShem’s holy Torah in purity.
What a joy to see our younger generation, who after years of yeshiva study, are taking their places of leadership at the helm of Israeli society, in education, the military, medicine, academia, industry, engineering etc., preparing the Land for the next phase of Jewish greatness.
My dear friends, the Beit HaMikdash is not a spiritual fantasy. It is a vital, soon to be built reality that will effect the entire world. It is a promise from G-d Himself. But it is our job as Jews, to both make Aliyah and to awaken our Temple Consciousness. We need to do both in order to make the Temple a reality. Come home and be one of the builders. It is the Best job in the world. Be aware, Aliyah is a potent vehicle for change and awakening your consciousness because it helps us come to terms with our lack, whatever it may be i.e., knowledge, personal power, self-control, etc. This is a huge gift!
Shabbat Shalom, with love and blessings, Ariella Bracha