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Jewish Heart Test

By Tzvi Fishman
12/29/2008, 12:00 AM

At the center of the miracle of Hanukah, and the war of the Macabees over the Greeks, stood the Beit HaMikdash – the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Temple Menorah

The Beit HaMikdash was the House of G-d on earth, the center of Jewish life and worship. Throughout the year, in all of our prayers, we pray for the Temple’s rebuilding. The yearning for the Temple’s rebuilding is synonymous with our yearning for Jerusalem, for the coming of Mashiach, and the ingathering of all of our scattered exiles.

Here is a simple test to see if your Jewish heart is yearning for the Temple the way that it should.

How many of you observe the following practice, as set down in the “Kitzur Shulcan Aruch,” the basic handbook to Jewish Law?

“After the destruction of the Second Temple, our Sages, of blessed memory, ordained that on every joyous occasion, we must remember the destruction of the Holy Temple, as it is written, ‘If I forget thee O Jerusalem, may I forget my right hand…if I set not Jerusalem above my highest joy’” (Tehillim, 137:5).

This, for instance, is the reason a glass is broken during a Jewish wedding ceremony, to recall the destruction of Jerusalem, and the Jewish ideal of setting the rebuilding of the Jewish Nation in Israel over our private joys.

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch continues:

“The Sages have decreed that no Jew should build for himself a house painted and decorated in royal style; nor should he paint the entire interior of the house, but he may plaster it, paint it, and leave unpainted the area of a square cubit opposite the entrance, commemorative of the destruction of the Temple.”

How the wall is supposed to look

What’s the situation in your home? Have you left a square unpainted in commemoration of the Jerusalem Temple?

I can hear the cries now: “Is he kidding? Not finish painting my decorator living room? Over my dead body. And be careful not to walk on our imported white rug when you come to visit, and don’t you dare sit on the couch!”

"Keep off the couch!"

In order to evaluate where INN readers are holding on their yearning for Jerusalem, please send in a one word answer,  either “Yes” or “No,” whether your wall has a stark, unpainted square opposite the front door of your house. You can figure out the percentages for yourself in the Talkback section of this post.