Tuesday, July 10, 2007

“Every generation that does not merit to see the rebuilding of the temple, is as if it was destroyed in their days.”

We are now entering one of the saddest periods of the year, the 3 weeks between the fast of the 17th of Tammuz and the fast of Tisha Beav. For centuries, for millenniums!, Jews all around the world have been crying, yearning, praying for the end of their long exile. They have been praying for the rebuilding of our holy temple in Jerusalem as a house of prayer for all the nations. For centuries, we have been praying for our gueoula.

Our generation has a special status. On the one hand, we have witnessed the amazing miracle of the creation of the state of Israel. After 2000 years, Jews have once again found political independence and have finally been able to put into action their romantic love for their land that they have been praying towards for centuries. The gueoula has started! This is a great testimony to the high level of our generation in the deepest places of our souls. However, davka when the gueoula starts to come, this is when the yearning becomes even more intense for the complete redemption.

Rav Nevenzhal Shli”ta, in his weekly address, quoted a makhloket in the gemara: Who should mourn more for the beit hamikdash, the inhabitants of Babel (outside of Israel) or the ones of Israel? On the one hand, the inhabitants of Babel have more to mourn about since they are also out of their land. Yet, the inhabitants of the land of Israel, who see the ruin of the beit hamikdash on a regular basis, feel this mourning so much more.

The most important part of our gueoula is the resurrection of the Jewish Nation after 2000 years of exile. But what is so special about the Jewish nation? Rav Kook in the introduction to Shabbat Haaretz explains that the special nature of the Jewish Nation (the segulah) is that we see all aspects of life with lenses of Godliness! Our job is to be witnesses to God’s presence in this world to all the nations. However, we can only do this on our national level.

This is why it says that the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed because of baseless hatred (Sinat Chinam). Rav Kook derived from this that the only possible tikkun is therefore Baseless Love (Ahavat Chinam). The reason for that is clear. Sinat Chinam is the complete opposite of Gueoula. This is true for a few reasons:

- Gueoula is something which is absolutely amazing, so how can we ever get the merit to receive it. The fact is that we can’t! Even 100 000 000 Tsaddikim won’t have enough merit to receive the gueoula. However, there is one this in this world which is even greater then any number of individual tsaddikim – That thing is Am Israel! As a nation, we have the zchut to receive the gueoula. It says in a passouk brought in the famous Mishna in Sanhedrin: “Veame’h, Koulam Tsaddikim” - “And your nation are all tsaddikim”. We know this is not true! I know a lot of individual Jews which are definitely not tsaddikim! What the passouk is teaching is that when we act as Koulam, then we are considered Tsaddikim. “Veamech, Koulam…… Tsaddikim”. A person can try to perfect his individual self as much as possible, learn as much torah as he wants, become the greatest tsaddik. While all of this is good and important, if it is not brought into the context of the national growth of the Jewish People, it is useless.

- The Rambam says that there is no difference between This World and the Time of the Mashiach except for the fact that the Jewish People will once again find political independence. However, if we have political independence, the only way to function is as a united nation!

- Our goal during gueoula is to build a beit hamikdash as a house of prayer for all nations, a universal message. However, according to Torah, the universal message of the Jewish people can ONLY go through the nation. Our message is a national one, not one of individuals.

We see therefore, through all these reasons, that the reason why sinat chinam destroyed the temple is because the definition of gueoula is opposite to sinat chinam! The only way to get to Gueoula is by connecting ourselves to the national message of the Jewish People.

“Every generation that does not merit to see the rebuilding of the temple, is as if it was destroyed in their days.”
This quote hints that there is something active that must be done in order for the beit hamikdash to be rebuilt and that staying passive is also criticized and looked at negatively. We can’t sit back and say that the beit hamikdash is destroyed and it’s the reality. If it is not rebuilt, if the status quo stays, it is our fault!

Rav Mordechai Elon Shli”ta told us many times in yeshiva an interesting observation which I think holds a very deep message. In 1967, when the IDF reconquered the Temple Mount, Motta Gur, one of the previous chiefs of Staff of the IDF expressed enthusiastically “Har HAbayit Beyadenu!” “The Temple Mount is in Our Hands!”.
Now, we have a principle in Jewish thought that when a leader of Am Israel is leading Am Israel, it is not his personal decisions which matter anymore because God is really the one leading Am Israel (Rav Kook says “There are some things too great to be risked with freedom of choice and Am Israel’s destiny is one of them”.) However, when we see the reality today, we see that the Temple Mount is hardly in our hands! Jews can hardly visit! The beit hamikdash is still destroyed!

Rav Elon explained what Motta Gur meant. Motta Gur thought to himself: God, we live in a special generation. You brought us here to the land of Israel after 2000 years of exile. You even brought us to Jerusalem. Today, we even got to the kotel! We are 200 meters away from the “finish line”. 200 meters away from the beit hamikdash! God! Why don’t you just build the beit hamikdash and get it over with? Why make us wait here 200 meters away?

Then Motta Gur told himself: Ah, I understand God. You brought us to Israel through amazing miracles! You brought us to Jerusalem in a war which we were supposed to loose but won in 6 days. We can now pray at the kotel thanks to your amazing miracles. Now Har Habayit, the Temple mount, that is in our hands!
If we act the way we’re supposed too, we will get it!

We cannot stay passive! If we want Har Habayit, the gueoula, all that we’ve been praying for in the past 2000 years, we need to actively connect ourselves to the Jewish Nation. We have to actively participate in its destiny by helping by helping shape the State of Israel in the vessel towards our ultimate redemption. We need to constantly ask ourselves: “Am I doing everything I can for the good of Am Israel? Am I connecting myself to the deepest message of Am Israel?”

When all of us will connect ourselves, in our own way, to this national message, then Har Habayit will be in our Hands!

Bimhera Beyamenu! more...

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