Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin
Rabbi Yitschak RudominCourtesy
Based on the ideas of Rav Yitzchok Hutner (1906–1980)

Introduction to "Destruction Exile Redemption"

There is an expression in English called "the sweep of history" which means understanding historical events as part of a long continuous ongoing wave rather than focusing on single events alone. Usually, and hopefully, it is historians who should be good at grasping and understanding the significance and interconnectedness of ongoing important historical happenings, but that is not always so. Virtually everyone has a limited interest and understanding in history in general since people usually basically know the story of their own lives and that of their immediate families and hopefully of their communities and nationalities. It takes a self-aware person to know this basic amount about the histories of their families, communities and countries of origin.
To be Jewish means to live within the sweep of Jewish history which according to the Jewish tradition stretches back at least to the times of the Exodus from Egypt about 3,300 years ago, if not to the times of the Biblical forefathers of the Children of Israel, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who lived about 3,800 years ago. According to the Torah and its classical commentaries Jewish history is a manifestation of God's master plan for the Jewish People and for humanity at large.
The Hebrew Bible, Judaism and Jewish History teach that God had foretold that the Jewish People would be blessed to have three Jewish temples in Jerusalem in their own Land of Israel during the course of their history. Two of those Jewish temples in Jerusalem have already existed in the past while the third Jewish temple in Jerusalem is yet to be built. There are great similarities in the historical lead up to each of those temples that revolve around terrible catastrophes of destruction that is followed by the exile of the original Children of Israel known later as the Jewish People from their Land of Israel and their eventual redemption and return to that same land as promised and as orchestrated by God.
The profound Jewish thinker and scholar and Rosh Yeshiva of the Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin in the USA Rav Yitzchok Hutner (1906–1980) stated that: "The pattern of Jewish history throughout the ages is Churban Golus Geulah: Destruction Exile Redemption, and no event requires new categories or definitions." ("Holocaust" Study of the Term and the Epoch it is Meant to Describe, [The Jewish Observer, October 1977, p. 9]).

Redemption of Passover, Purim, Chanukah
There are three important Jewish holidays celebrating Jewish redemption each of which is the historical template and precursor of the establishment of the First, Second and Third Jewish Temples. Passover and the Exodus of the Children of Israel from ancient Egypt is the national beginning of the countdown towards the conquest of the Land of Canaan and the buildup towards the establishment of the First Jewish Temple approximately 3,000 years ago.
The festival of Purim is a catalyst for the building of the Second Jewish Temple after the exile of the Jewish People to Babylonia followed by Persia and after the destruction of the First Jewish Temple. During that exile in Babylonia-Persia the groundwork was laid for the return of the Jews to Judah in the Land of Israel and the building of the Second Jewish Temple.
The next and final phase of Destruction Exile Redemption sees the Jewish People under the yoke of the Graeco-Roman Empires and is celebrated by the Jewish holiday of Chanukah with the triumph of the light of Torah over the darkness of the Jews' exile under the Greek Empire and sows the seeds for the ultimate redemption and the building of the Third Jewish Temple at the end of time when all Jewish exile will end after the Romans destroy the Second Jewish Temple approximately 2,000 years ago.
Passover: Redemption from Ancient Egypt
The national buildup to the first of the Jewish Temples starts with the exile of the Biblical Patriarch Jacob and his family from the Land of Canaan (Israel) to the nearby land of Egypt hundreds of years before the First Jewish Temple was finally built in the later days of King Solomon. Approximately 3,500 years ago the Children of Israel grew into a large nation inside of ancient Egypt so much so that according to the Book of Exodus the leader of Egypt Pharaoh and his people feared the growth of the Children of Israel and therefore enslaved and persecuted them. The Children of Israel were freed by God from Egyptian bondage and slavery led by Moses and subsequently received the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai as well as the rest of the Torah in the forty years that they were in the wilderness before entering the Promised Land of Israel.
Passover is the holiday of "national liberation" of the Children of Israel from the tyrannical rule of the ancient Egyptians and their ruling Pharaohs. The purpose of the Exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt was to then receive the Torah at Mount Sinai, becoming a Torah Nation practicing the Torah's commandments and studying the Torah, locked forever in a covenant with God.
That was a prelude to conquering the Land of Canaan and eventually establishing the Kingdom of Israel. It was a long journey from the times of the Biblical forefathers: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and then onto the exile in Egypt of their descendants the Children of Israel and then the Exodus and then on to the long march to conquer and inhabit the Land of Canaan turning it into the Land of Israel that was later to be called the Land of Judah as well. That was in order to eventually set up the monarchy of King David and King Solomon who would build the First Jewish Temple in Jerusalem that would stand for over 400 years until the Babylonian Empire destroyed the temple and sent the survivors of the last Jewish monarch of the Kingdom of Judah into exile and spread all over the Babylonian Empire.
Purim: Redemption from Babylonia and Persia
Then begins the saga of the background to the building of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem following the destruction of the first Jewish Temple. The Babylonian Empire was defeated and taken over by the Persian Empire. Many Jews would live in the Persian Empire and in the countries of the former Babylonian Empire until modern times for about 2,500 years. In fact the Babylonian Empire ensured that the phenomenon of Galut Exile would exist until today's times in spite of their being Jews who were allowed to return to rebuild the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem about 2,500 years ago.
The festival of Purim celebrates the time when God saves the exiled Jews scattered over the Persian Empire from their enemies and turns the Jews' fortunes around from being persecuted to becoming privileged members of the Persian Empire. Ultimately, the Persian kings permit those Jews who wish to do so to return to the Land of Judah (Israel) and start the process of building the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
The Jewish prophets had foretold the destruction of the First Jewish Temple and that there would be a relatively short period of time of about 70 years before the beginning of the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Eventually the Persian kings granted permission to those Jews who wanted to return to their homeland in the Land of Israel known as the Land of Judah and to rebuild the Second Jewish Temple that was to stand for a little over 400 years similar to the First Jewish Temple.
Chanukah: Redemption from Greece and Rome
The Persian Empire eventually fell to the Greek Empire and that brought the Jews living in the Persian Empire, including the Jews of the Land of Israel also known as Judea under the control of the Greeks and their Hellenistic culture. The Greeks managed to defile the Second Jewish Temple but were defeated and pushed back by the Jews led by the Hasmoneans also known as the Maccabees, who reestablished an independent Jewish kingdom in the Land of Israel for almost 200 years. This was not to last because with the rise of Rome, the Greek Empire was defeated and taken over by the larger and more aggressive Roman Empire.
Chanukah is the Jewish holiday that celebrates the redemption of the Jewish People from the Greeks and paves the way for the eventual triumph over the Romans. The combined forces of ancient Greece and Rome are known as the Graeco-Roman world. Even though this stage of Jewish History will take over two thousand years from the time of the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple, and awaiting the arrival of the true Jewish Messiah when the final Third Jewish Temple will be built in Jerusalem as well as the final ingathering of the remaining Jewish exiles from all over the world to the Land of Israel.
The Romans tried to impose their pagan ways of life on the Jews of Judea living in the Land of Israel that resulted in a series or major wars between the Jews and the Romans. Eventually the Romans won and defeated the Jews culminating with the Romans destroying the Second Jewish Temple about 2,000 years ago and scattering the surviving Jews all over the Roman Empire. There were still many Jews that lived under the Parthian Empire to the East who were independent of the Roman Empire who lived out of reach of Rome's armies and hence free from Roman persecution. These communities in the former Babylonian territories would become flourishing centers of Jewish life and scholarship in the Galut Exile producing the famous Babylonian Talmud known as the Jewish Oral Law/Torah which is still the core of all serious Jewish and yeshiva studies to this day.
The Roman Exile that commenced about 2,000 years ago is still in existence especially for those Jews who live in Western countries today. For the last 2,000 years the Jews have been undergoing historical cycles of Destruction Exile Redemption at various times and scenarios in preparation for the establishment of the final Third Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in the Land of Israel.
Jews Always Praying for Redemption
References to Zion and Jerusalem in classical Jewish prayer and ritual are significant. Jewish liturgy includes many explicit references to Zion and Jerusalem that are mentioned 5 times in the 18-blessing Amidah prayer, the central prayer of the Jewish liturgy, which calls for the restoration of Jerusalem to the Jewish nation. It is said while facing towards Jerusalem. "And to Jerusalem Your city may You return....Blessed are You, Builder of Jerusalem."; "May our eyes behold Your Return to Zion...Blessed are You, Who Restores His Presence to Zion." (Wikipedia)

Jews who pray the standard Jewish prayers conclude the Amidah-Shemoneh Esrei three times on every regular weekday, four times on Sabbaths and festive days, and five times of Yom Kippur with a prayer-meditation that pleads with God to restore and rebuild the Third Jewish Temple like in the days of the First and Second Jewish Temples:

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּ֒פָנֶֽיךָ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ שֶׁיִּבָּנֶה בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵֽינוּ וְתֵן חֶלְקֵֽנוּ בְּתוֹרָתֶֽךָ: וְשָׁם נַעֲבָדְךָ בְּיִרְאָה כִּימֵי עוֹלָם וּכְשָׁנִים קַדְמוֹנִיּוֹת: וְעָרְ֒בָה לַיהוָֹה מִנְחַת יְהוּדָה וִירוּשָׁלָֽםִ כִּימֵי עוֹלָם וּכְשָׁנִים קַדְמוֹנִיּוֹת:
"May it be Your will, HaShem, our God, and the God of our Fathers that the Holy Temple be rebuilt speedily in our days, and grant us our share in Your Torah. And there we will serve You reverently as in the days of old, and in earlier years. And let HaShem be pleased with the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem as in the days of old and in earlier years."

Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin was born to Holocaust survivor parents in Israel, grew up in South Africa, and lives in Brooklyn, NY. He is an alumnus of Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin and of Teachers CollegeColumbia University. He heads the Jewish Professionals Institute dedicated to Jewish Adult Education and Outreach Kiruv Rechokim. He was the Director of the Belzer Chasidim's Sinai Heritage Center of Manhattan 19881995, a Trustee of AJOP 19941997 and founder of American Friends of South African Jewish Education 19952015. He is also a docent and tour guide at The Museum of Jewish Heritage A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in Downtown Manhattan, New York. He is the author of The Second World War and Jewish Education in America: The Fall and Rise of Orthodoxy. Contact Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin at izakrudomin@gmail.com