Have you been to the Western Wall in Jerusalem? This section of the wall of the Jewish Temple, destroyed by the Romans over 2,000 years ago, attracts Jews and pilgrims from all over the world. People come here to mourn the irreparable loss of the Holy Temple.
What are these people mourning? And what are they asking for that invisible Higher Power, which is hiding behind a piece of stone wall leftover from a Jewish shrine?
Two beautiful Temples
And once upon a time, on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, there was a beautiful first, and then the Second Temple. The famous historian Josephus Flavius, who lived during the existence of the Second Temple and saw it with his own eyes, described it as follows. “Everything in the Temple is so delightful that at the sight of it, the heart and soul rejoiced. It was covered on all sides with sheets of gold and therefore shone very brightly, blinding like the rays of the sun. “
According to the architectural plan, the Temple consisted of two rooms: the inner, most Holy, and outer. In the sacred of Holies, there was the Ark of the Covenant, on which the 10 Commandments were carved. After the demolition of the First Temple, he disappeared without a trace.
The first Temple, as everyone knows, was erected during the reign of the wisest king Solomon about a thousand years BC. After standing for almost 400 years, it was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. He captured the inhabitants of Jerusalem; many were killed.
Seventy years after the demolition of the First Temple, the Second Temple was consecrated. This return of the Jews to their land is known from the history of the Purim holiday. The second Temple was slightly smaller and not as beautiful as the first. By the beginning of the era, the Temple was expanded and rebuilt. It was re-consecrated almost just before the destruction, in the year 68.
Emperor Titus besieged the Second Jerusalem Temple in the spring of 70 AD. The siege of the Holy City lasted five months. The Temple fell when its gates were set on fire.
Both temples in Jerusalem disappeared from the face of the earth on the same day – on the ninth of Av.
The Jews went into the most extended exile. The Jewish righteous mourned the fallen Temple.
Only one righteous man, Rabbi Akiva, laughed. He explained his attitude to such a sad event because now he is confident in the prophets’ prediction that the mixing of souls will begin and we will come to the final correction.
The Spiritual Purpose of the Jewish Temple
The Temple of the Jews was the prototype of a severe state institution. From it was the management of the entire economic, cultural and educational life of the people.
Cohens and Levites served in the Temple, who ruled over the inhabitants of the country. The Sanhedrin met regularly – something like a modern academy, where sages gathered and passed just laws. Levites travelled around the country, teaching people to read and write.
The Temple servants prepared food and firewood for future use so that in cold winters and lean years, people could warm up and eat. The Temple had its warehouses; in its subordination were notable cities of refuge, in which people who inadvertently killed someone were hiding from revenge.
Each resident of the country donated a tenth of his income to the servants of the Temple. This money was used to support the Temple service and many popular needs: helping the poor, building roads, etc. In the Temple, sacrifices were regularly made in the form of crops or livestock.
Everything that happened in the Temple was not accidental but obeyed strict spiritual laws. For example, people who made sacrifices, or gave a tenth of their income, were exalted in this physical action. They plunged into the atmosphere of mutual bestowal and love that reigned in the Temple.
From morning to evening, training courses were organized in the Temple, in which the parishioners were taught the spiritual laws. The food sacrificed was eaten by all the guests at special meals, during which the spiritual uplift of the participants of the feast continued. Men and women were trained in separate programs and were in different rooms.
In general, the Temple of the Jews was intended to educate and support the people of justice and love for their neighbours. All physical actions that we read about in the Holy Books meant spiritual roots.
And as soon as all these spiritual ideals were trampled upon, there was no reason for the existence of the stone Temples themselves; therefore, they were destroyed.
The Jewish sages say that the First Temple was destroyed because of the worship of idols and the Second Temple because of the causeless hatred that arose within the people.
As predicted by the Jewish prophets, after the destruction of the Second Temple, the people of the Torah went into the very last and most extended exile and fell from the high spiritual level at which they were. But these same prophets predicted that the removal would end in our times, and the Jews will again rise to a high level of spirituality. But now, they are no longer alone. After a long wandering through foreign countries and mixing with other peoples at the physical level and the level of souls, the Jewish people will come to the final correction with all the world’s peoples. And only after the hearts of all people on earth unite in love and harmony, the time of the Third Temple will come. This most beautiful Temple will be built in the hearts of people.
People gathered at the Western Wall dream of such a future. About how, in a new, wonderful world, this revived Temple will become a symbol of great love and happiness.