So what’s a nice non-Jewish girl like me, living in the heart of the Bible-belt, doing mourning the destruction of the Temple? I’m mourning because somewhere deep inside, I get it. At least to the point that a non-Jewish girl living in the heart of the Bible-belt can get it. And just what exactly do I get? That the Temple is the key to everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. Want to save the planet? Build the Temple.
I know, I know. This is not a very popular idea among many people. Excuses abound. Theologies contradict. Religious factions threaten. Modern-day intellectuals dismiss. But, really, there is only One opinion that counts. G-d chose Jerusalem as His abode forever. Forever didn’t expire in 2010, so I think it’s safe to assume that He still wants a Temple.
For some Jews, the idea of the Temple is antiquated. They believe ideas such as: That was then, this is now. We are too sophisticated for a Temple. In our day and age the Temple is just a spiritual concept, therefore a physical structure isn’t needed. The animal sacrifices performed at the Temple are outdated and barbaric. The Temple will simply drop down from Heaven when the time is right. Nothing should be done until the Messiah is revealed, etc.
For many Christians, the idea of the Temple is just a means to an end. They believe ideas such as: The Temple is only important regarding the prophetic time clock. The Temple will be built, but only so the apocalyptical figure, the anti-Christ, can make it his throne. We are the Temple of G-d so there is no need for a physical structure. Animal sacrifices are no longer needed, so why have a Temple? Who cares about the Temple, I’m due to be raptured any minute, etc.
Yet, despite all of the excuses and diverse beliefs, G-d asked for a house on earth. Even King Solomon was a little surprised by such a request. The King of the Universe wants a house on a mount in Israel? “But even the heavens can’t contain you, much less this house I’ve built,” he said. He was right, kind of. Yes, this entire universe is like a quark, the smallest particle known, compared to the vastness of G-d. But the thing is, G-d likes to interact with humans. How does He do that? By allowing us to experience His presence. And He designated one specific spot on earth for the majority of His presence to be felt and experienced. The Temple.
If G-d wants a Temple to house His presence, who are we to argue? He left blueprints for the house. King David bought the “lot” for the house. (I suspect Dayan might have gotten a bit of a tongue-lashing after departing this world for giving partial control of the lot back into the hands of, ahem, how shall we say, the “neighbors.”) But the point is, Israel, you have the blueprints, you have the lot, so what are you waiting for? If you build it, His presence will come. That is why the Temple is the key to EVERYTHING. “Sing and be glad, Israel, for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst. Many nations will join themselves to Me on that day . . . Hashem will choose Jerusalem again.”
Every human carries a divine spark within them. Some make choices that continually diminish that spark, while others make choices that continually expand that spark. We all have the potential to be vessels of Hashem’s presence. What is the result of His presence within us? Peace, genuine love, generosity, mercy, kindness, forgiveness . . . you know the feeling. The feeling of doing the right thing, of governing your life with wisdom, of divine love shaping your relationships; all resulting from His presence in our lives. But we are only human, therefore we are capable of housing only so much of His presence. There is a need for so much more of His presence in the world. But where is the vessel to contain that presence? It is missing. It is the Temple.
The Temple will be the focal point of all of G-d’s presence, or at least as much as this physical world can contain. The intensity of His presence will change everything. There will be no a question of Who the One true G-d is. There will be no question of who the land belongs to, much less what the borders to that land are. Our striving to know G-d, to focus on Him and the things that really matter will become so much easier.
Our souls run on batteries, so to speak, that continually need to recharge. And thankfully we have the guidance of G-d’s Word and the teachings of the sages to show us how to recharge. But when the Temple is here, it will be THE power station. It will be the place where G-d’s energy is directly poured onto the earth, which will then emanate to the every square inch of the earth. People from all over the world will travel to Jerusalem to experience His presence first-hand, “It will happen, the mountain of the Temple of G-d will be firmly established as the head of the mountains, and it will be exalted and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will say, ‘Come, let us go up to the Mountain of Hashem, to the Temple of the G-d of Jacob, and He will teach us of His ways and we will walk in the paths.’ For from Zion will the Torah come forth, the word of Hashem from Jerusalem. He will judge among the nations, and will settle the arguments of many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, nation will not lift sword against nation and they will no longer study warfare.”
People flocking to Israel, world-wide problems being solved, warfare ending; all for a reason. Because the Temple is rebuilt. Do most Jews view Isaiah’s vision as a fairytale or as an allegory? Because the majority of Jews don’t seem to be rushing to build the Temple. Nor do they regularly visit the place that the Temple once stood. Even the secular voices of the Israeli police and intelligence community have expressed what an impact it would be for Jews to visit the Temple Mount. Authorities said, “If only more Jews would visit the Temple Mount on a regular basis, the entire balance of power would shift. There would be a paradigm shift; the attitude of the government and the police would be different towards the Jewish visitors on the Temple Mount. The Muslim terror would be abated.” They ended by saying, “Many Jewish people visiting the Temple Mount would be the cure to the overall security situation.” I don’t know if it would be the overall cure, but at least it would be a very good start.
Jews, it’s time for you to recognize and fulfill you role, (which some of you are doing with all of your heart and soul). You are special. You are chosen. You are the designated builders of the throne of The King of the Universe. But the job isn’t getting done, therefore He asks, “Is this the time for you to sit in your own houses, while my House is in ruins?” That’s a powerful question that deserves to be answered. Groups like Habit for Humanity build a house in a few days for homeless people. How long has G-d been homeless in Jerusalem? Nearly two thousand years. It’s time for a Habitat for Hashem. His presence has been homeless for far too long.
I hope and pray that this will be the last year that anyone mourns on the 9th of Av. “Hashem, Master of Legions says: The fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth month will be to the House of Judah for joy and gladness and for happy festivals . . . In those days it will happen that men, of all the different languages of the nations, will take hold, they will take hold of the corner of the garment of a Jewish man, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that G-d is with you!’” I’ve grabbed ahold. Now are you going to start moving? Take me to your Leader. Take me to where He lives. We, the nations, are waiting. So is He.
Camie Davis © 2010