In the introduction to his book Ohr Hamikdash (Light of the Temple), Rabbi Moshe Luria, explains that the Torah, the Sabbath, and the Holy Temple are respectively the essence of Wisdom, Understanding, and Knowledge (Chachmah, Binah, and Daath). These three are called a rope of three strands that binds the Jewish people (and arguably all the other people of the world, as well) to the God of Israel.
Torah is familiar to us on a daily basis, "for it is our life and the length of our days and we meditate on it day and night." The Sabbath comes to us once a week without fail. But what about the Holy Temple? As of this date, it has been missing for 1936 years. For nearly 100 generations no one has seen or experienced the Holy Temple. Yet, the Temple does more than stand alongside Torah and Sabbath in importance. It is the link that binds them together, for the true nature of Knowledge (Daath) is its power to unify. This is the meaning of (Gen. 4:1), "And Adam knew his wife, Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain." Conjugal union between husband and wife is called knowledge "in the Biblical sense," and it is this power that binds all things as one. The essence of this Knowledge is the Temple.
We can appreciate how the Temple unifies Torah and the Sabbath from the 39 work activities (melachoth) that the Torah prohibits on the Sabbath. They are derived from the 39 creative activities by which the Mishkan (Tabernacle) was built by Moses at Mount Sinai. The Mishkan was the Temple in a portable form, having the same status as the Temple in Jerusalem.
But the Temple unifies more than Torah and Sabbath. It unifies everything else as well. The Holy Temple unifies the Jewish people and serves as the center of government, culture, and communal life. Like blood flows to the heart and is revitalized and pumped back to the body, the people of Israel came to the Temple three times a year to receive God’s blessings and return home refreshed and invigorated.
When the Temple is standing, the Divine Presence (Shechina) is fully revealed. Then, God, Israel, and all the nations of the world are unified. This is the true source of world peace, healing and brotherhood. And it happens only in the Temple, as it (Isaiah 2:3), "And many peoples will say, Come, let us ascend to the Mountain of the Lord and He will teach us His ways and we will walk in His paths."
To be sure, the Temple is the missing link. And it has been missing so long, that the world has largely lost interest in it, or worse, regards it in a negative light. Orthodox Jews, evangelical Christians, and archeologists are the last bastions to maintain an active concern for the Temple. And even here, the connection to the Temple is clouded by confusion and misinformation.
Archeological scholarship is almost always a romantic blend of true research and self-willed fantasy. Christians have little or no tradition about the workings of the Temple. They just know it is supposed be rebuilt and it will be a good thing. The real issue is with Orthodox Jews, who pray at least three times every day for the Temple to be rebuilt, and who diligently study the Talmud which is jam-packed with lore and laws about the Temple.
Despite this, nearly all sects and branches of Orthodox Judaism treat the Temple with apathy and neglect. The Chofetz Chaim in the introduction to Avodat HaKorbanot wrote that matters pertaining to the Temple are comparable to finding an unattended corpse (meth mitzvah). When finds an unattended corpse, it is an obligation to get involved to preserve the dignity of the deceased. Even the High Priest, who is forbidden to contaminate himself by contact with the dead, is commanded to bury an unattended corpse, though he will defile himself spiritually. Such is the dignity of the Temple. All who come in contact with teachings about it are enjoined to get involved.
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