Jun 10, 2007
how honest are we really?
In this week's article, Sugarman did something a little different. He gave us some of his background as to having grown up Conservative. He described the Conservative belief that there will not be a future Temple, rather the study of the subject is solely for the past, and not for any future relevance.
I was not aware of that belief among the Conservative, so that was an eye opener. He discusses how the Conservative edited the text of various prayers to indicate that belief that there will not be a future temple. He then presented a question he received by email and asked what the readers think about it.
I am reprinting the letter here:
Dear Rabbi (sic) Sugarman,
I am an ideological Conservative Jew and as you know, we do not believe that the temple will return. I download your column weekly from the OU website because the whole subject of the temple has always fascinated me, BUT ONLY AS A PART OF OUR PAST AND NOT AS A PART OF OUR FUTURE.î
Excuse me for saying it but I think the Orthodox movement is, for the most part, intellectually dishonest with itself and others on a central question of belief. This is the area of your expertise, the Temple, animal sacrifices and their reinstatement. The truth? How many Orthodox Jews in the 21st century really want these things?
Let's be for real. You pray three times a day for G-d to restore them to the Jewish people, but do you really want them? Do you really want to slaughter sheep and bullocks and goats by the tens of thousands, toss their blood on the altar, and burn their bodies? Do you really want to tie a red string around the neck of a goat and push it over a cliff so the sins of Israel will be forgiven?
I will not go so far as to call you hypocritical, but I honesty can't believe you people are serious...
This is what I sent Catriel Sugarman by email...
I read all your articles with great interest. This week's article was especially intriguing because of it touching on whether we really want the mikdash we daven for, and the future we daven for, or whether we are simply paying lip service but do not really want such change.
I have discussed the topic a number of times with people. I have found that in Israel there are more people who really want the mikdash and the mashiach and all the changes that will ensue because of them than there are in the Diaspora. Yet, even in Israel it is still a minority of the people.
I have asked why more people do not put on the tcheilet (for example). The halachic risk is negligible, and the halachic gain is great (if it is correct than one is fulfilling the mitzva d'oraisa properly). The response I was given is that the frum community generally pushes away anything that has a taste of being messianic.
For some reason, whenever something is deemed as having a messianic flavor, people push it away and reject it. The Rav who told me that also suggested the reason to be because of our long history with false Messiahs. He suggested that any time something quasi-messianic comes along, we automatically reject it because of our bad history with false messiahs.
That being said, I think most people (again, most people is most in the Diaspora and most in Israel as well, but the percentages in Israel will be lower) do not really want that changes that will happen. I suspect a lot of it has to do with fear of the unknown. People worry they will have to give up the luxuries they are used to and their lifestyles. We do not really know what the future will be like when mashiach comes, at best we make suggestions and guesses, so we have a bit of fear of the unknown.
I recently heard a story about a class in a frum school. The teacher asked the students to raise their hand if they want mashiach to come. Everybody raised their hands. The teacher said to keep their hands up. The teacher then asked if they know they have to move to Israel when mashiach comes do they still want mashiach. A few hands went down. The teacher proceeded to mention a few things that will likely change and little by little all the hands went down.
So in general, I believe, most of us do not want mashiach to come or the mikdash to be built. We want to keep our fancy cars, our fancy lifestyles and we do not want anything that might harm them.
That being said I think in Israel there are more people who do want it. I think people who make aliyah clearly want it, at least to a certain extent. They have already shown their willingness to give things up for what they believe. There are people in the general community (settlers, general frum, etc.) who really do want it. But still, even in Israel it is a minority.
What do you think? Do we really want the Beis Hamikdash to be rebuilt? Do we await the return of the korbanos? Do we really want mashiach?
Or are we just paying lip service but don't really look forward to that day?
What do you think? The comments section is open for discussion. And tell us what you really think - do you really want Mashiach or not. Do you really want the mikdash or not. Comment anonymously, if you must.