ערב שבת פר׳ ויחי תשע״ה
Shmuly Yanklowitz, January 2, 2015
I am so grateful to speak and commune with You three times a day, but I have never written directly to You before. Who am I to do so? Please forgive my boldness in an attempt to achieve ethical and spiritual integrity. I believe that you have created us to think critically and to bring full integrity to our religious lives.
I fasted today (10 Teveth - "The Fast of the Tenth Month"), as I do on all fasts that mourn the destruction of Your two holy temples. I recognize that Your light existed in the world in magisterially mysterious and powerful ways unknown to us today. We Jews, indeed all people of Your world, mourn these historical losses and yearn for Your increased presence and closeness.
I know that you challenge us to evolve and grow so that we can perfect ourselves and the world, which You have entrusted to us Your children. I am but a cog in a greater wheel. As a Jew, I continue to pray for a third temple as our traditional liturgy stipulates. But, in truth, my heart is not so certain.
Of course, if it is Your will to have a third Temple, I am prepared to serve, but I humbly submit this prayer asking: Is the rebuilding of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem what is best for us?
Read more: Please G-d, Help me to understand why we must pray for a Third Temple! (cont.)
Esser Agaroth (2¢):
The answer to your question is simple, something to which even you yourself alluded. It is a misswath 'aseh (positive commandment) to build it.
In other words, God says so.
Here, the same Ramba"m (Maimonides) whom you mention, (and whom many attempt to use as a claim that living in Eretz Yisrael is not currently a misswah) states this very clearly.
משנה תורה, הלכות בית הבחירה א,אא מצות עשה לעשות בית לה', מוכן להיות מקריבים בו הקרבנות, וחוגגין אליו שלוש פעמים בשנה--שנאמר "ועשו לי, מקדש" (שמות כה,ח); וכבר נתפרש בתורה משכן שעשה משה רבנו, והיה לפי שעה--שנאמר "כי לא באתם, עד עתה . . ." (דברים יב,ט).
As to space vs. time, and their respective Holiness, not only does Har HaBayith (Temple Mount) have a particular Holiness, but so too do Jerusalem and Eretz Yisrael, albeit manifesting on different levels. I am sure that I do not have to cite the countless sources connecting Am Yisrael to these physical spaces.
Mishneh Torah, Laws of the Temple 1:1
It is a positive commandment to make a house for HaShem, prepared for the bringing of sacrifices, and celebrating to it three times a year -- as it is said, "Make for me a sanctuary [so that I may dwell among them]." (Ex. 25:8); and it has already been explained in the Torah, this is the Tabernacle which Moses our teacher made, and was according to the particular time [context], as it is said, "for you have not yet come [to the rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God gives to you]." (Deut. 12:9)
Although you did cite individual rabbis, I am afraid that your overall argument is not really a halachic (Torah legal) one, but rather a feeling one. Sure, that is, of course, fine to express your feelings. But, your argument does not hold water according halakhah.
I would be very interested in hearing any halakhic argument you may have.
Halakhah is the guiding force for how Jews are to live in This World, and that includes the making of a a true Torah reality manifest as the reality fully in This World.
This all being said, the Beth HaMiqdash HaSh'lishi (Third Temple) will not only establish Jewish control over Har Bayith, but assist us in establishing full control over Eretz Yisra'el,...yes, and "physical space."
If the Torah is the truth, which I believe that you and I both believe, then the Land of Israel was given to Am Yisra'el by the Holy One, Blessed Be He, then Eretz Yisra'el was given to us, and to no other nation.
And, so by fulfilling the misswah of Yishuv Ha'Aretz (settling of the Land), supported by the fulfillment of the misswah to build the Miqdash, HaShem's name will be sanctified.
No longer will the nations be able to say that HaShem's People do not reside and control their own Land, putting doubt on The Almighty's Holy Torah. (See Eze. 36)
You are welcome to try and change HaShem's mind. However, I do not have to remind you that the Torah is enduring, and unchangeable, as it is said, "You will not add to it, nor will you subtract from it." (Deut. 13:1)