It was sometime after 4am and I was awake at the computer because I had gotten up to have a quick breakfast before the fast of the 17th of Tammuz
. This fast day marks the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem, as well as the beginning of the grueling Three Weeks of mourning. It ends with the fast of Tisha B'Av, the 9th of the month of Av when our Holy Temple was destroyed by the Romans and the subsequent 2,000 year Exile .
As I was on the computer, I got an instant message from a rabbi friend of mine (we are actually related) and he wrote me this:
4:40 AM Rabbi: I'm sick of fasting. Let's just build the Temple instead.
Me: ha! I am with you!
Rabbi: I can't stand the "mourning game." Well sorry for attacking you at this hour; just had to get it off my chest before going to shul (synagogue) and seeing all the people wailing over the Temple as if they cared; when I try to talk to them about it say, in December, they look at me like I'm crazy; but now in the Three Weeks it's politically correct in Orthodox circles to act as if it's important.
Me: you have no idea how much you are appreciated!
Rabbi: oh go on, now.
Me: I would love to be a fly on the wall when you do say that to the other Jews. I think we all need to keep hearing this, to wake us from our stupor. We learn it is a mitzvah to build the Temple and we even learn that the Second Temple was empty, didn't have the Holy Ark or the Show Bread, yet we still built it and had it, so why can't we build the Temple today? When we came back to Israel from Persia (after the Purim story) we built the Temple. We didn't wait for it to be dropped from heaven, or until the Messiah came.
Rabbi: May we collectively start acting Jewish
4:48 AM Rabbi: That is exactly true, the mitzva is beckoning to us in every generation, no less now then it was then, and we have become as a people so twisted in thinking, that we think that halachically (the code of Jewish law) there is a problem, when in reality halachically we are supposed to begin building.
(end of instant messenger conversation)
So, my friends, we are really acting pathetically today. Why do we settle to pray and worship at a wall that sits below our holiest place on earth, where our Temple stood? I am tired of settling for praying at a 'wall'. Yes, it's the Kotel, the Holy Western Wall, but with all due respect, I want more. I want the real deal. I want G-d's house and I want His presence, His Shechina, hovering here with us.
These three weeks, we are supposed to be immersed in mourning. As Rabbi Richman stated on his last show of Temple Talk, he said that most people think something like, 'oy, the three weeks, let's just try to get through this as fast and painless as we can." But this is the time to really feel and yearn for the Third Temple. He continued saying that how will we merit the Third Temple, if we don't really yearn for it?
Losing our Temple, should be like losing our spouse ...G-d forbid. We should be looking towards the Temple Mount and crying and pacing back and forth like someone in shock, after losing their partner in life. We should be looking at the void on the Temple Mount (not at the big gold pimple) and say to ourselves, "How can I go on? Oh my gosh! We have lost our Temple! We have lost the Shechina (G-d's hovering presence) from our midst!" We should be feeling as if we can't continue, like if we G-d forbid lost our spouse. We should be asking ourselves as we pace nervously, "How can I go on? How can I fill this void in my life? Oh my, we need our Temple!" THIS is what we should be feeling, this yearning for not settling to pray at an outside surrounding 'Western Wall'. We want to go UP! We want HaShem to dwell with us again.
Every morning, in addition when I pray, I look towards Har HaBayit, the Temple Mount, and I add to my morning prayers, "Please G-d, bring us the Moshiach (the Messiah) and let us have the Holy Temple back. We need it so badly!"
But do most of us yearn for building G-d's house? Everyone here is worried about buying their own house, re-doing their kitchen, or renovating their home, but what about G-d's house? Why doesn't anyone worry about building HIS house? How do we continue to 'settle' for the wall, when we should be yearning, crying, aching for the Holy Temple?
We are already a (modern) state for over 60 years, and yet we are still content to pray at a wall.
Can you imagine what G-d might say if He really saw the Jewish people not sit and be content with the Kotel? And instead we demanded that the government allocate the money and build the Temple, and thumb our nose to the world if any of them so much as say 'boo'?? Looking down on us, G-d might tell the angels, "Look! My children want the Holy Temple back! They want me to return to them, as they are returning to me. They are willing to get their heads bashed in, they are willing to not settle for mediocrity, and they call for me. I will respond. I have been waiting for you, my Holy Children, to desire Me and now that you call upon me, I will grant you the privilege of having my Temple once again, and this Temple will be a place where the whole world will come to. Because you have showed me your yearning and your actions and willingness to sacrifice for it and I will reward you with it."
Wouldn't that just be something?
And let's remember, that even if we can't convince our leaders to be courageous and forge ahead with building the Temple, just SPEAKING and YEARNING about it could help. Remember, G-d SPOKE the world into being. He did not take his hands and mold planets and stars, He SPOKE the world into being, "And G-d said, Let there be light."
So even if we can't actually go and get the permission to build it, we can still speak and yearn for it in our prayers, but really mean it. Wouldn't that just be what G-d would want?
And wouldn't the building, or at least REAL yearniing for the Temple be helping the revealment of G-d in this world, and thus we would have a more peaceful world where mankind can finally understand that G-d is one and His name is one? Yah, I am ready, I am yearning, and I am tired of praying to a wall.