Using Slave Labor To Build Our Holy Temple In Jerusalem

Historian Marc B. Shapiro writes: Regarding the Sacks siddur, I recommend that all listen to the wonderful dialogue between Rabbi Sacks and Leon Wieseltier available here.

I have to say, however, that I was surprised to hear Sacks say at minute 49: “There is no doubt that the actual construction of the Temple was an extraordinarily disastrous moment for the Jewish people.” He then discusses how Solomon, in order to build the Temple, used force labor and thus “turned Israel into Egypt.” What surprises me is that I know of no other Orthodox thinker who sees the building of the Temple as a negative development in Jewish history. Nor, for that matter, have I ever seen an Orthodox thinker read the Bible as criticizing Solomon for this endeavor. If the construction of the Temple was such a negative event, then why on Tisha be-Av are we supposed to mourn its absence?

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
This entry was posted in Marc B. Shapiro, R. Jonathan Sacks. Bookmark the permalink.