Mourning and Yearning
The Holy Beit Hamikdash, the Jerusalem Temple was simply stated the House of G-d.
That statement makes no sense as G-d does not need a house. King Solomon himself says after he completes building the first Beit Hamikdash in the year 833 BCE, “But will G-d really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!”(IKings 8:27).
Yet G-d did not need a House for Himself. He desired a House to be built for His people and eventually for all the people of the world.
“for my House will be called a house of prayer for all nations”( Isaiah 56:7),
It was destined to be a place that whoever would enter it, would feel as if they had entered into Hashem’s very Throne room. Just as whoever enters the land of Israel senses that they have entered into Hashem’s home. “ for the land belongs to Me, for you are strangers and [temporary] residents with Me”( Leviticus 25:23)
Regarding Jerusalem King David writes in psalms “For Hashem has chosen Zion; He desired it for His home. This is My resting place forever; here I shall dwell for I desired it. I shall bless its provision; I shall sate its needy with bread.( Psalm 132 :13-15)
The House of Hashem was a Place of Encounter more than it was a Place of Worship. In the midst of the the prophetic song the children of Israel sang after they crossed the Red sea( shirat HaYam) we already sense the beginning began of the yearning for that place;
“You shall bring them and plant them on the mount of Your heritage, directed toward Your habitation, which You made, O Hashem; the sanctuary, O Hashem, which Your hands established.”( Exodus :15:17)
It is this House that the people of Israel has been mourning and yearning for thousands of years.
Solomon’s Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in the year 423 BCE. The second Beit Hamikdash was destroyed by the Romans in 69 -70 CE.
We have been yearning ever since.
The greatest spiritual force in the Universe is yearning. The world and reality is built along a framework where perfection is displayed and then hidden, where paradise is revealed then lost. The Garden of Eden is revealed and then lost. Man and Woman are created as one and then they are separated. G-d reveals Himself in all His power and Glory during the Exodus in Egypt, and then goes into hiding. The First and Second temples are built and experienced, and then they are lost.
Spiritual existence is about the yearning to reveal that which was hidden and find that which was lost. It is that spiritual force of yearning that fixes the world and restores it to its purpose. G-d created a reality that would provide need and imperfection and therefore fire up the yearning to restore the world to perfection
The Temple is not and has never been just about sacrifices ( Korbanot). Even the sacrifices themselves have been misunderstood by so many in the world. Only about 12% of the sacrifices had to do with sin. The majority were about ,thanksgiving, memorial and rejoicing. Also it is important to note the even those 12-13% only related to sins of omission ( Shegaga) , sins that you committed by mistake.
Repentance does not come through sacrifices but rather through the repentant heart.
As king David writes as he lay on the floor in Teshuva( repentance) , “For You do not wish a sacrifice, or I should give it; You do not desire a burnt offering. The sacrifices of G-d are a broken spirit; O G-d, You will not despise a broken and crushed heart. (Psalm 51:18-19)
The Temple, the House of G-d was and will be the Point of Encounter. The place wherein one can be in His Presence without the smoke and mirrors that seem to confuse us throughout the world and at times in our lives. G-d can be encountered every where but there is a place and a House where that encounter is as simple as opening one’s eyes and ears.
It is that Presence is that we Yearn for .
“And Abraham called the name of that place Adonai-Yireh; as it is said to this day: ‘In the mount where Hashem is seen.”( Genesis 22:14)
Leilui Nishmat Yehudit bat Sinai veGolda Yocheved