The Once and Future Temple
The excitement engendered by the prospects of the building of the Eternal Temple or of its appearance as a miraculous
act of God, is timely in the End of Days period in which we live. However, the people of Israel are not yet ready for this.
They lack the merit, they lack the understanding of the Temple's purpose; indeed they lack the understanding of their
own purpose and mission; and they fail to understand how to merit their being near this Edifice of Divine Grace.
Religious Jews, in particular have failed to be a tribute to the
God whom they intend to serve at this Place where God will choose His Name to be called. Indeed, their religious edifice is
a libelous misrepresentation of the Covenant with which God intended Israel to cleave to Him in Sinai and forever more. Noble
as their efforts have been, those preparing the priestly vestments and accoutrements are merely preparing for a repetition
of services which God NEVER TRULY WANTED ! I believe that every normally endowed Jew, religious or secular has the personal
obligation to read the entire Hebrew Bible; i.e., the Tanach, with mental faculties turned on, to learn what he or she can
from it. It may take a year or two or three or four or more, but certainly a Jew SHOULD have an idea of what His last 4000
years was about and if he or she should really give up this heritage - so painfully and nobly maintained - for a bowl of shrimp
or an extra work day on Shabbat. The so-called faithful should, more than anyone, be diligent about this reading project because
they are the ones who believe that they "get it" when their history is a testimony to their failure at understanding
their God and how to merit His blessings.
I became an observant Jew 33 years ago, I did not know that I would discover that my religion was a libelous misrepresentation
of our Divine Covenant. I was not pleased with my discovery. Nevertheless, I did not ignore what I had found. We are destined
to serve the God of Truth and make His Holy City and His Holy Temple wholly a representation of His will and His True Covenant.
And for His sake and out of gratefulness for His restoration of our Holy Land to us and for His preservation of this still
precarious life in Israel, we SHOULD revisit His Covenant and see if we missed anything in our zealousness to maintain a false
tradition. Similarly, those zealously running away from our Covenant owe it to themselves and their loved ones to see if they
aren't actually running away from something so precious that no one in his right mind would do so.
Consistent with this existential disconnect between themselves and
our God, the rabbis of Israel, even the greatest, after Rav Avraham Yitzchak Hacohen Kook, i.e., Rav Shimshon Raphael
Hirsch, fail to see the Temple as anything more than a Holy Place to bring animal sacrifices. This last statement is, of course,
a heresy to orthodox Jews, but it is not a heresy to the Torah, the Tanach, i.e., the Hebrew Bible; or to God.
Our traditional view of the Third Temple is based on our misreading
of God's written Torah and our innate negative inclination for eating flesh foods. My article, about the Torah and Vegetarianism
discusses much of this. The beginning of this grave error is
in Genesis. Genesis 1 : 28 gives man the commandment to subdue ( keevshuah ) the earth and to have dominion ( urdu ) over
all the animals. Keevshuah really refers to the acquisition of earthly assets for the purpose of building a God centered life
on the planet - one in which God will have a home among us. Dominion (urdu) has been misread to mean that God gave man license
for the eating of animals. The absolute proof that this interpretation is an ERROR is in the very
next verse !!! Genesis 1 : 29 gives us the irrefutable command to be, not just vegetarian, but vegan. Verse 1 : 30 repeats
this for the animals as well. Yet our lust for meat throws our appetite driven lives into a tizzy. Even the great Rav Sampson
Raphael Hirsch frantically supports his appetite for meat with his commentary on Genesis 1 : 28 and 1 : 29. His hysterical,
semantic and archeological gymnastics are more a proof of the validity of God's statement in Genesis 8 : 21 regarding
Noah's animal sacrifice, i,e, that the "inclination of man's heart is evil from his youth", than they are
a proof that devotion to the Divine Intent can be demonstrated through animal sacrifices done in any spiritual context !!!
The Prophet Ezekiel in Chapter 14, verses 14 through 20, gives us
a testimony to the importance of true merit. Only Noah, Daniel and Job would be saved from destruction by virtue of their
righteousness. This is repeated in these verses, nevertheless, the rabbis of Israel persist in insisting that Abraham has
this merit. (They have made worse mistakes in interpreting the Bible. It's a pity they keep on studying their misinterpretations
rather than God's statements. I am grateful, however, for the hesder yeshiva movement in Israel which is combining the
studying of rabbinic Judaism and the training and steeling of orthodox Jewish men into many of Israel's best soldiers.)
Keeping in mind how God sees Noah, we can
understand how God truly looks upon the sacrifice offered up to Him by this great man. Rabbi Sampson Raphael Hirsch revises
the Divine Intent of Noah's offering up of animal sacrifices. His commentaries on Genesis 8 : 20 - 21 span 7 and 1/2 pages
- single spaced - and are, based on the written Hebrew Bible, a tortured exercise in futility at legitimizing, from any possible
perspective, the false notion that God intended to be worshiped, honored, served and pleased with animal sacrifices at His
Holy Temple or any other place prior to its construction. The great sage interprets the Hebrew, " ve yarach (the Tetragrammaton
name of God is spelled) et rayach hanechoah" in verse 8 : 21 as "and God noted the expression of compliance".
He then goes on to comment on the continuation of this verse, "And God said to His heart, I will not again curse the
ground for man's sake because the inclination and impulse of man's heart is evil from his youth". To the great
sage, it is by virtue of the purity of such sacrifice that God promised never again to curse the ground for man's sake.
Yet this purity of intent was not questioned anymore than it was with Abel, who brought the best of his flock as a sacrifice
Very simply, God sees that even the
most righteous, Godly men cannot overcome their innate negative impulse or inclination. And it is therefore,
not because of this pure offering, but in spite of this animal sacrifice - the purity of the intent of the heart notwithstanding
- that God will no longer curse the ground for man's sake, because man, even the purest and best of mankind, is simply
not able to master the impulses or inclination of his heart. Keep in mind also that the second man in Ezekiel
14 : 14 whom God would save in a destruction, was Daniel, who with his three friends, flourished physically and intellectually
with a plant based diet (Daniel 1 : 10 - 20).