The 9 Days? Open Letter to Jews Worldwide
Yosef RabinYosef Rabin lives and works in Jerusalem and writes on a wide range of...
I am posting this open letter to Religious Zionists and all Jews who seek truth.
I hope people and communities across the world will read and contemplate the issue of the Holy Temple and I very much look forward to reading and responding to your questions, comments and concerns at the bottom of the page. I would like to mention that I have tried to keep all phrases in English to benefit those who do not understand Hebrew.
It is a fundamental belief of Religious Zionism, that the Jewish People are obligated to take an active role in the process of redemption, as laid out in the Torah and the Prophets. This worldview, certainly contradicts the view of the Haredim (ultra-orthodox), who believe that we may do nothing to further the Messianic process. They believe that we must wait for the Almighty himself to come and redeem us.
With the help of the Almighty, the Jewish People have taken great strides in the process of redemption. The majority of the Jewish People no longer sit in exile, but rather stand upright on their land. We have even returned to the Holy City of Jerusalem! The holy city is filled with synagogues, schools, places of kosher entertainment and our children play fearlessly in the streets at all hours of the night and day. With the grace of God, we have established a mighty army that stands in defense the Jewish Nation to save us from distress. It would appear, that everything we have hoped and prayed for 2,000 years has already been fulfilled before our eyes. However, even with all the wonders and miracles that the Almighty has performed for us through our work and toil, we have missed a very important step of redemption!
We pray thrice daily for the re-dedication of the Temple and the restoration of the divine service in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount. However, the Temple Mount remains bereft and void of Jewish prayer and the Divine service; and this is not the fault of the non-Jews. The Temple Mount remains desolate because we the Jewish People have yet to take the necessary steps to re-dedicate her. It seems that the Jewish People are simply afraid - Heaven Forbid - to “Return the Divine Presence to Zion”!
It is absurd that we Religious Zionist, who raise high the banner of Aliyah and building the Land of Israel look upon the "summit of redemption" as do the Hassidim of Satmar! Suddenly, we are forbidden to take the initiative and we must wait for King Messiah to lower the heavenly Temple down to earth!
There is no question that there are technical difficulties involved in re-building the Temple today and no one is advocating for the immediate re-construction at this moment in time. However, we can begin to advance the process that we will lead to the physical re-construction of the Holy Temple.
This process includes:
· Strengthening and widening the circle of Jews who ascend the Temple Mount according to the laws of biblical purity.
· Increased education campaigns regarding the laws of biblical ritual purity that pertain to the Temple Mount and the Holy Temple.
· Public campaign to demand the re-institution of Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount.
· Public campaign to practically prepare Priests, Levites and the general Jewish public for the renewal of the Passover Offering; along with a campaign to urge the Israeli Government to allow the offering.
· The writing and publishing of more rabbinic responsa about issues relating to the practical implementation of the Temple service in our times.
Have we forgotten why Jerusalem is the Holy City? Because Jerusalem is the City of the Temple! We must ask ourselves if all our prayers for the Temple are sincere and genuine, or as we say, nothing more than the chatter of birds.
The Prophet Isaiah prophesizes: “And I will bring them to My Holy Mountain, and will make them happy in My house of prayer, their burnt offering and sacrifices will be welcome on My altar, for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations “(56:7) I heard from the great Sage, Rabbi Yosef Elboim of Jerusalem, who is a leading Rabbi for issues relating to the Temple Mount and the Temple a beautiful explanation of this verse.
The Rabbi explained to me that found within this verse are four stages of the redemption of the Temple Mount.
1. “And I will bring them to My Holy Mountain” – The first stage is for the Jewish People to simply gather on the Temple Mount.
Maimonides, Laws of the Chosen House chapter 7:7 “Even though the Temple is today destroyed…we should only enter into the areas (of the Temple Mount) that are permitted”
2. “And will make them happy in My house of prayer” – The second stage is for the Jewish People to renew Jewish Prayer to the Temple Mount.
Maimonides, Book of Commandments Command 5: “The 5th Commandment is to serve God…this is the commandment to pray …Serve Him through His Torah and Serve Him in His Temple, One should pray within the Temple or towards it”
3. “Their burnt offering and sacrifices will be welcome on My alter” – The Third Stage is the reconstruction of the Alter without the standing Temple and the re-institution of national sacrifices.
Maimonides, Laws of the Chosen House chapter 6:15: Therefore we sacrifice all sacrifices, even though the Temple is not standing”
4. “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations” – The process culminates with the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, thus allowing all humanity to unit in worshiping the one true God.
Maimonides, Laws of the Chosen House Chapter 1:1: “It is a positive commandment to build a House for God, for the sake of offering sacrifices and rejoicing in it three times a year – as it says “Build for Me a Temple" (exodus: 25:8).
Dear Jews: Just like the State of Israel was built with the help of the Almighty via active and political Zionism and did not fall down from the sky; The Temple will also not fall from the sky, and we must be as active and political as possible, until we are able to complete the building of the Temple.
Tonight, we begin the 9 days of mourning over the destruction of the Temple. Rabbi Chaim Richman, International Director of the Temple Institute points out that this mourning is the opposite of the mourning process for man.
When we grieve for a family member, the mourning starts on a very intensive level and then gradually eases. However for the lamentation of the Temple we find the reverse process. We first begin with a light level of mourning and gradually add more and more restrictions until we reach the height of mourning, which is Tisha B’Av – 9th of Av. When we lose a close family member, we must learn to move on with our lives, but with the loss of the Temple, we cannot move on. The Rabbis teach us that the Holy Temple is our eternal joy and light.
Let us pray that this year we not only mourn the Temple, but use our mourning to strengthen our resolve to move towards the process of rebuilding and renewal of our Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
Now at this very moment, as we begin our intense national mourning over the Temple, I would like to ask everyone to do one simple act.
Visit the website of the Temple Institute and learn more about the ongoing process of Temple Redemption and discover how you can take part in this historic, exciting and holy process.