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Dec 17, 2012

Interesting Psak: Too Screwed-Up to Build the Beit HaMikdash

Rav Baruch Efrati was asked, on the Kipa website's Ask the Rabbi section, if we have an obligation today to build the Beit HaMikdash or if we should wait for it to descend from heaven already built. And, if we have an obligation to build it, why are we not doing so?

Rav Efrati starts off with the basics, saying that the issue of us building the Temple is dependant upon the argument between Rambam and Rashi, with most poskim deciding like the Rambam that we have an obligation to build the Temple.

Rav Efrati then moves on to explain why we don't bother trying to fulfill our obligation. He says that if we would build it, it would immediately be ruined and destroyed, due to identity problems of our nation. The Temple, he says, expresses God's presence upon us, and for us to merit that we must strengthen our own Torah-based identity.. when the nation will be a fortress, with the majority being faith-based, then we will be able to build the Mikdash properly.

if we were to build it today, Rav Efrati says, confused women would want to be the kohanim (kohanot), animal rights activists would petition the courts against the korbanot, and , the main thing being, most of the nation would see it as a burden rather than as the source of the Divine resting place.

Before we build the Temple we must build the national consciousness, to strengthen and to deepen the nation's faith...

I am not quite sure what to say... on the one hand, it is the crazy women and animal-rights activists who are at fault and are the excuse, or reason, for us not doing what we need to do. On the other hand, the building of the Temple is a process, and the preparation of the nation for the spirituality necessary is like laying the foundation for the actual building, and would perhaps even be considered part of the construction process.. It seems like a bit of a cop-out to me. When we have an obligation to perform a commandment, such as shaking the lulav or praying or giving charity and helping others in need, since when can we use the excuse that we are not yet ready for it, there is what to prepare first, etc. If we have an obligation to do something, we must do it.

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  1. Rafi, I couldn't have said it better.

  2. Most pathetic answer I've ever heard to be honest.
    Looks like that just as with the in gathering of the exiles, we will have to wait for the secular nationalists to build the Temple. The Rabbis certainly aren't going to do anything to help.

  3. If you want to know what the third Mikdash would look like if we built it tomorrow, it would have exactly the same issues as the Kotel, for good and for bad, just on a much bigger scale. Which means it would be perfectly functional, a focal point for the people, a place of joy and celebration, and it would also be charedi-controlled, chock full o' power/money politics, and you'd have extremists being even more extreme about things they didn't like.

    In other words, it wouldn't be a total disaster, and it wouldn't be some Artscroll utopian fantasy with everyone acting perfectly. It would be a mixed bag - which is what real life is.


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