Sunday, 20 July 2008

Learn About the Holy Temple - Between 17 Tammuz and 9 Av


As with all the different periods of time throughout the year, there are certain parts of the Torah that need to be studied further – at those points in time.


  1. Ezekiel Chapters 40-end. These chapters discuss the vision that the prophet Ezekiel saw as an angel took him to the site of the 3rd Temple, showing him it’s every chamber. Although the Second Temple had still to be built, Ezekiel was already being shown the 3rd Temple – as this would be the final House that G-d would/will build to dwell in. For a more complete understanding of Ezekiel – it is suggested that the reader learn the entire book from the beginning, as the mysteries of the Maaseh Merkava – the Divine Chariot are spoken about in the first chapter – the means through which Ezekiel – and all prophets enter in order to experience their visions. For more information about this see “InnerSpace” by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan.
  2. Rambam Hilchot Beit HaBechirah (Laws of the Chosen House) found in the Rambam’s Halachic work “Yad HaChazaka” under the section of “Avodah” – “Service”. The Rambam teaches the laws concerning the Temple, its dimensions, contents and more.
  3. Tractate Midot – “Measurements” – the section of Mishna dealing with the measurements of the Second Temple.
  4. “Secrets of the Future Temple” – Mishkney Elyon by the Ramchal – translated into English by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum (see picture below). This book discusses the vision of Ezekiel (Chapters 40-end) explaining the kabbalistic mysteries to every part of the 3rd Temple to be built. Diagrams of the various parts of the Temple are included. (This book can be purchased directly through this site. Please contact us for more information.)
  5. “The Third Beis HaMikdash – The Third Temple” by Rabbi Shalom Dov Steinberg – with complete diagrams of everything discussed.




We are taught to study the laws of the upcoming festival 30 days before it arrives. This blog points out a number of other worthwhile learning projects to work through – for example learning the entire Rambam within a one year period. One learns Pirkei Avot (Ethics of our Fathers) between Pesach and Shavuot – and in fact should continue with one chapter a week every Shabbat after Minchah right up until Rosh HaShanah. One should learn Tractate Sotah during the period between Pesach and Shavuot.

During the 3 week period beginning with the 17 Tammuz until the 9th day of Av – known as Tisha Be’Av (9 Av) there are also certain parts of Torah we need to concentrate our learning on. The idea is to keep up with the times – learning those parts of Torah most relevant to the time we find ourselves in, so that the learning we do should impact us the most at that point in time. This focuses us on the time period we are in and makes us unify much easier with what is required of each of us at that point in time. The learning in and of itself is only the start. The main thing is that it should lead us to improve our ways, to understand what we need to do – and to actually do as “Action is the Main Thing!” But “Torah is greater than action… because it LEADS to action!”

On the 17th of Tammuz began the destruction of the Holy Temple which culminated in absolute destruction on the 9th of Av – three weeks later.

In fact there were 5 things that happened on the 17th of Tammuz:

  1. The first tablets which Moses was carrying to give to the Jewish people, were destroyed. This was due to the Jewish people serving the Golden Calf as they awaited Moses who had been on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights, thinking that he had already died.
  2. The offering of the daily sacrifice was suspended in the First Temple.
  3. The wall of the city was breached in the time of the Second Temple.
  4. Apostomus the wicked burned the Torah.
  5. An idol was placed in the Sanctuary.

While G-d was busy bestowing the Torah to the Jewish people and giving them a place in this world to connect with Him in the highest ways possible, the Jewish people were off on their own mission, allowing various idols to obstruct their vision of G-d. (Are we changing?!) Whether it was the Golden Calf, allowing an idol to be placed in the Sanctuary, or allowing the sacrifices to stop being offered, the Jewish people had given up on the value of what it meant to have a Torah – and more importantly a place to house it in, in the lower worlds below.

What can we do today – what can we learn today to help us appreciate what it means to have a Beit HaMikdash – a Holy Temple? What were the mysteries behind this apparently physical structure? Was it just a large, magnificent building designed by man?

In fact, our Sages teach us that not only was this Temple for the Jewish people, but for the benefit of the entire world completely! The 70 lambs that were offered as sacrifices during the festival of Sukkot were actually to atone for the nations of the world – and to bring blessing to them! As our Sages teach, the nations of the world had no idea what they were doing to themselves when they destroyed the Holy Temple!

The Temple is the root source of all blessing in this world. Without it, we are left wandering around this world wondering what life is all about. With the Temple, we become aware of the manifestation of G-d in the lower worlds. Through our service in it, we bring blessing to all.

Today, we have lost touch with the value of a massive building structure used to slaughter animals in it – on a mass scale! So much so, we have even left its remains to be owned by the other nations of the world who destroy it’s purity by planting trees and other “structures” upon it, totally against what it actually stands for. In addition many Jews unknowingly walk upon holy areas of the “abandoned” building not realising the prohibitions involved.

We, as human beings and not angels, see with our physical eyes, judging everything in accordance with our own minds, not realising the reality of the holiness of this building – what was actually done in it, and how as a result of all this, blessing is bestowed into the world.

Therefore, at this period of time, during these three weeks, we should focus our learning on this neglected – but core and most vital topic of Torah – the Beit HaMikdash. That “building” that was destroyed in this time. As the Torah teaches, a generation in which the Temple is not built in – it is as if they themselves destroyed it! Therefore our sole mission and focus should be in learning about its beauty. This should awaken us to realise just what it is that we have lost.

After all, one who loses something without even knowing what he had in the first place will certainly not miss his “loss”. Instead we are to study the gift that was given to us, in the hope that we will come to appreciate its value, so that we are able to literally cry over the loss. This should inspire us to rebuild the Temple spiritually through our acts of goodness and kindness, so that when it is built spiritually, the form from on-high will descend downwards from heaven to earth, building the final physical structure.

May we merit through our learning during these three weeks and our focus on the subject of the Temple, that indeed it be rebuilt before this Tisha Be’Av and that our righteous redeemer appear, revealing himself, taking each of us out of the exiles we all find ourselves in, bringing us into the King’s True Palace, a place of mysteries, beauty beyond the greatest physical delights, and most of all the place where each of us will literally be able to experience and feel the connection and closeness between us as human beings, and G-d Himself. And then we will see and know, that G-d is One and His Name is One. Amen!

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