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Editors' Blog: My Tisha B'Av Fantasy

Editors' Blog: My Tisha B'Av Fantasy

Imagine taking Ahmadinejad to the Third Temple that just descended on Jerusalem.


I have this fantasy.

I gather together Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Nasrallah, Mahmoud Abbas and Ban Ki-moon and take them to visit the brand new Beit Hamikdash, the third holy Temple that just descended onto Jerusalem's Temple Mount. There they witness the coronation of the new king of Israel, and the Vatican's return of the ancient gold menorah, to be reinaugurated by the Kohen Gadol, the High Priest.

Imagine how that would affect negotiations and the claims that the Jewish people “have no historic ties to Jerusalem.”

My fantasy continues. I take Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Hawking, leaders of the new atheism, on a tour of the new Temple where they have a chance for the first time in their lives to directly experience the transcendent power and majesty of the Divine. God's palpable presence is inescapable, and they leave with an entirely different outlook on life. So much for The God Delusion.

And finally I imagine myself entering the gates of the Temple. My internal doubts, questions about suffering, and the veracity of Divine providence simply vanish as I come into direct contact with the overwhelming reality of God Almighty Himself.

Related Article: If Only

But there is no Temple, and we live in a world where Israel is embattled from within and without, where God and His Torah are ridiculed, where confusion and licentiousness reign. . And that's why I mourn on Tisha B’Av.

Tisha B'Av does not commemorate the pain of the destruction of the Temple that happened 2,000 years ago. Pain doesn't last that long. It dissipates. The point of Tisha B'Av, and the Three Weeks leading up to it, is to connect to the pain we are in right now because we don't have the Temple. The loss affects us today.

The point of Tisha B'Av is to connect to the pain we are in right now because we don't have the Temple.

Compounding the tragedy is that most of us don't really feel that we are missing anything. We are like the sick child who has spent his life in a hospital. He doesn't even realize his existence isn't normal, that there is a whole different way one ought to be living.

Tisha B'Av gives us the opportunity to refocus and remember that life today is not whole. We can bring that down to earth by thinking about the major conflicts afflicting the Jewish people today – the existential threats, the Mideast conflict, religious-secular divide, rampant assimilation, confusion and dissent – and realize none of them would exist today if we had the Temple in our midst.

When we had the Temple, there was no question about who had rights to the Land of Israel and to Jerusalem. No one doubted the existence of God. The Jewish people en masse strove to uphold and integrate the teachings of the Torah, becoming the role models of what it means to live a meaningful life. The world recognized Jerusalem as a unique fount of wisdom and connection to the transcendent.

In order to feel the loss of the Temple today, try this exercise. Write down a list of those things in the world that cause you the greatest pain. Write out the greatest threats, physically and spiritually, facing the Jewish people today. And make a list of your own personal issues.

Now think about how each and every one of these items would change if we had the Temple, God's dwelling place, right here, right now. Create your own Tisha B'Av fantasy. We are suffering from all these travails because the Temple was destroyed thousands of years ago.

The Talmud says, "All who mourn over (the destruction of) Jerusalem will merit to see her in her joy" (Taanit, 30b). If we realize what the enormity of the loss, we will achingly yearn for it and fully appreciate it when it is rebuilt. May it happen speedily in our days.

August 6, 2011

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Visitor Comments: 21

(18) David, January 1, 2014 8:37 PM

May the Lord build His Holy Temple on Earth

And remove any need for war or horrible things.

(17) Chana Nachal, July 25, 2012 11:32 PM

B"H Kol Kavod Yasher koach on an excellent article!

B"H Todah rabah. Kol Kavod Yasher koach on an excellent article!

(16) Speedy, August 9, 2011 2:48 PM

With or Without the TEMPLE

My fantasy of having the Temple. Having a spiritual home that is our own. Where the words of the bible comes back to life for us, in the good way. A social justice that is for us, not against us. The laws of the land, includes G-d, a natural remedy of the ills of an unrest people. The radiance of the presence of G-d from the Temple, goes forth all over the world. Silencing those who choose not to believe in the G-d of Israel. Then again, I think we can make this possible now, without a Temple, making the presence of G-d a reality in our day. I've seen it before, but not in a perfection way. Glimpses, are returning, in the present. Tomorrow is the 10th, moving to the next. Tisha B'Av is about going on to the NEXT. Perfecting that which was not perfect. When we have failed the test, we just retake it, until we pass it. It only takes the NEXT test to pass. We learned what was on the test, easier to pass the NEXT one. We have the answers on the ones we missed. It's a sure acer, 100% pass. May the G-d of Israel make himself known, again, in the real way. All may not receive, by choose, but it will silence the unbelievers, in our day, who raises their voice against us, for we have known it wasn't coming from G-d, it wasn't the voice of G-d. May G-d silence them forever more. The sign, G-d is in our mist, and we have moved on to the NEXT.

(15) Anonymous, August 9, 2011 12:36 PM

Thank you very much, Rabbi coopersmith really gave me a new understanding.... may we all be זוכה soon...

(14) alexander aberham hchon feldbaum, August 9, 2011 8:03 AM

When will your fantasy be a reality for everyone?

When we make G-D's Thora a reality, the third holy Temple will no longer be fantasy.

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