Q. Why did the Jews build a Temple for G‑d in Jerusalem? Aren’t Temples a pagan concept? Isn't Judaism today just fine without it?

The Jewish people are commanded by G‑d (Exodus 25:8) “They shall make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst”.  In keeping with this commandment the Jewish people built the Tabernacle – a transportable Temple they carried with them as they travelled through the desert on their way to the Promised Land. Once arriving in Promised Land they built a more permanent structure, eventually building a glorious Temple in on Mount Moriah Jerusalem.

The First Temple in Jerusalem was built by King Solomon in 833 BCE and destroyed by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar in the year 423 BCE. A second Temple was then built in 349 BCE by Jewish returnees from the Persian Exile, led by Ezra and Nechemiah. In 37 CE, King Herod completed dramatic renovations to the dilapidated Temple, but marauding armies of the Roman Empire destroyed it in 69 CE. For close to two thousand years since, we have been waiting and praying for the rebuilding of our Temple in Jerusalem. But do we really need it?

We believe that we were placed in this world with a mission. That mission is to make the world a place that G‑d can call His home. Each one of us is responsible to transform ourselves and our surroundings connecting them with spiritually. But we need a model to follow, a prototype that already serves as a home for G‑d. The Temple was that model.

The Temple in Jerusalem was more than just a majestic building; it was a physical place where spirituality could be sensed. When the Jews would make a pilgrimage to the Temple they would experience a spiritual awakening. Each detail in the Temple’s design corresponds to part of our own spiritual design.  Although the Temple no longer stands today, by studying its details, we can discover our own path to uncovering spirituality. When we complete our collective mission and the world reaches its spiritual potential, we will rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem this time as a source of the spirituality that will be found in our world.

 Ask the Rabbi a question here