Sharona Margolin Halickman

How do we get closer to building the Third Temple?

Photo Courtesy Sharona Halickman

A few weeks ago, we read in Parshat Besahlach (Shmot 15:17) a verse that is part of the Az Yashir Prayer, the Song of the Sea, which is recited each morning:

You will bring them and plant them (tivieimo vetitaeimo) on the mountain of your inheritance, the place for your habitation, which You, HaShem have made; the Sanctuary- my Master- which your hands established.

According to Rashi, this verse implies that first God will bring B’nai Yisrael into the Land of Israel, and only then would they build the Temple (God’s dwelling place).

Rashi quotes the Mechilta who points out that “the place of Your habitation” refers to the fact that the earthly Temple is lined up directly below God’s throne above. Our Beit HaMikdash is directly under God’s Heavenly Beit HaMikdash which already existed.

In our parsha, Parshat Truma (Shmot 25:8), we read about the Mishkan, the portable Tabernacle:

They shall make a Sanctuary for Me- so that I may dwell among them.

Here, Rashi comments that in the end God decided that B’nai Yisrael would build a temporary Temple (the Mishkan) in the desert (before entering the Land of Israel).

Why the sudden change in plans?

According to Torah Temima (Shmot 15:17), God loved B’nai Yisrael so much that He decided not to wait to give them a sanctuary until they arrived in the Land of Israel.

Even though B’nai Yisrael already had the Mishkan in the desert, you can’t compare the revelation of the Shechina (Divine Presence) in Israel to the Shechina outside of Israel which is only a partial revelation.

Rav Avraham David Spector points out that the main revelation of the Shechina is when the nation of Israel is in the Land of Israel with at least 600,000 Jews living in the land, just like we have now in the Modern State of Israel. According to Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook (Olat Reiyah 1:368): “When Israel has a population of at least 600,000 Jews, the sprouting of the horn of the house of Yaakov will begin.”

The more Jews that return to Israel, the more the Shechina will dwell in the Land.

Sefer HaChinuch 95:16 teaches that The Mitzvah to build the Temple is practiced when most of Israel is upon their land.

With this in mind, if we want to bring ourselves closer to building the Third Temple then we need more Jews to make aliya and reside in Israel.

About the Author
Sharona holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College and an MS in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Sharona was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds.
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