Toward the middle of this month, Jews around the globe will fast as we recall the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple was destroyed twice on the same date, the 9th of Av, in the year 586 BCE and again in 70 CE. The fast will actually take place on the 10th of Av this year, as the 9th falls on a Saturday and there is no fasting on Shabbat (other than when Yom Kippur falls on the Sabbath).
Many of us are waiting for the Temple to be rebuilt. When the third Temple arises, it is believed, the people Israel will return to Jerusalem and the Messiah, a descendant of King David’s, will appear, along with the return of Levitical priesthood. Israel will then be redeemed and we will thrive in peace and safety. What a goal to cherish! As a matter of fact, while many of our synagogues carry the word “Temple” in their names, many do not, as the members of those communities are waiting for the Temple in Jerusalem to be constructed before using that designation anywhere else.
There are people who pray for the rebuilding of the Temple daily and some engage in charitable acts specifically to hasten the coming of the Messiah and the ascension of the Central Sanctuary. There are also organizations in Israel currently planning to rebuild this holy place. Some of us hang our hopes for peace in Israel upon this rebuilding and others believe that if the Temple hasn’t been rebuilt by human hands or G-d granting it to us as a reward for the performing of mitzvot by the year 6,000 (for context, we will be welcoming the year 5780 next month), it will, nevertheless, arise at that time.
Some people are actively praying for the resurrection of this edifice and some people are silently hoping as we await our redemption. Some are drawing blueprints while they wait for the next step in the process to begin. And, although some people are extremely saddened by the thought that our world’s problems and, specifically, the challenges faced by Jews, cannot be resolved until the Temple stands again, they feel that only certain members of the Tribe have roles in re-establishing this site and are waiting for the right moment to take on this project.
Outside of Jerusalem, many other buildings are crumbling, schools are barely functioning without enough pencils, young people are starting the day hungry, families are living in homelessness and many of the elderly in our communities are lonely. What are you doing while we wait?