Wednesday, September 07, 2005
By Rabbi Stephen M. Wylen
Aug. 30, 2005
Temple Beth Tikvah, Wayne, N.J.
TORAH PORTION: RE’EH
Look only to the place that Ad-nai your God will choose amidst all your tribes to reside, to establish God’s name there. There you are to go, and there you are to bring your burnt offerings and other sacrifices ... (Deut. 12:4b-5a)
It is a mitzvah from the Torah to build God’s Temple in Jerusalem. Why, then, don’t we rebuild the Temple? The law is that we only need fulfill this mitzvah when the majority of the Jewish people are living in the Land of Israel. But if that is so then why did our ancestors build the Second Temple in the time of the Persian Empire? We are taught that the righteous bring salvation to themselves and to others as well. Those righteous Jews who returned from exile in Babylon fulfilled the mitzvah for their brothers and sisters scattered amongst the nations. We do not consider ourselves to be so righteous, however, and so we leave our Temple unbuilt. - based on the Yeshuot Malko, quoted in Itturei Torah 6:85
Will there ever be a third Temple in Jerusalem? The traditional Jewish belief is that when the Messiah comes he will rebuild the Temple. Until that time, the Jews are not to take matters into our own hands. Some Jews believe that there will never be another Temple, that prayer, Torah study and mitzvah have replaced sacrifice forever, and this pleases God more. Some Jews believe that the modern State of Israel is, so to speak, the Third Temple. I am one of these Jews.
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