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Stones with a Soul

Stones with a Soul

The Western Wall--Where the Soul is Always Whole

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The Western Wall.

It's been in the news lately and is frequently a focal point of Jewish and world consciousness.

But what is it?

For eight hundred and thirty years, a Holy Temple (Beit Hamikdash, in Hebrew) stood as the center of the Jewish world. The Temple was more than a building; it was the supreme point of contact – the nexus – between the human and the Divine.

But what was, no longer is.

The Temple no longer stands; it was destroyed by the Babylonians and later by the Romans. We haven't had a Temple for more than two thousand years. All we have is the "Western Wall," a remnant of a once-magnificent structure.

That's it.

But, again, what is "it"?

Is the Western Wall a place of national nostalgia, a focal point for our collective pining over a lost glory? Is it the symbol of our hopes for the future?

Yes. And Yes. But that's not all.

The Western Wall is more than a psychological trigger.

It's a symbol of what still exists.

From a Judaic perspective, We are each a "Holy Temple," a Sanctuary for the Divine. the Temple's "body" was destroyed but its "soul" remains whole. The Babylonians and Romans – outside forces – destroyed the buildings, but had and have no control over the spirit.

The Divine Presence still resonates in that spot.

So the Western Wall remains a current place of contact, a fresh reservoir of Holiness.

The Temple's soul is whole.

The Rebbe applies this principle to each of us, because we are each a "Holy Temple," each of us a "Sanctuary for the Divine."

When we look at ourselves honestly, we can sometimes see that our spiritual, moral or emotional construct is in disrepair. We can see that we have been impacted by the world's negativity, selfishness and cynicism.

Our personal Temple is "in ruins."

But we need to keep a mental picture of our internal Western Wall. We need to remember that our soul is whole; our basic goodness, our intrinsic Holiness – the soul – remains beyond any external contamination.

That "wholeness" is there.

We just may need to connect more often.

And work toward a better day.

Rabbi Mendy Herson is director of the Chabad Jewish Center in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.
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Discussion (10)
July 15, 2012
Stones with a soul
According to the Rebbe, each one of us is a "Holy Temple", each of us is a "Sanctuary for the Divine". Also as the Temple is in ruins, so is our personal Temple in ruins.

Then we should fix the Temple that we are, by doing what G-d desires for us. Then the Divine presence of G-d will reside within us as we sacrifice our desires for His desires. Doesn't scripture say that He will put His Spirit within us ? Then let us become the Temple with His Divine Presence dwelling in us.Bless His Holy Name.
Irene
Glen Burnie, MD USA
August 10, 2008
thats should explain it. thank you!
ever
east l.a., ca
August 10, 2008
Western wall - response
The Temple was a a portal for Divine Blessing in the world for all people, Jew and non-Jew.
A sensitive soul should - I would think - feel a gravitational pull to this place where 'heaven meets earth'.
G-d bless you in your journey.
Mendy
BR, NJ
August 10, 2008
western wall
i came across an old photo of the wall from 1920 and i was moved. though i am not Jewish, i have a strong desire and a burning in my heart to touch these very stones. i live on the very edge of western civilization, yet my thoughts are always drawn to the Holy Land.... why?
Anonymous
east l.a., ca
August 8, 2008
Why Western Wall
I think it is interesting that it is the Western Wall that stands..perhaps as a hint that our final galut is centered in the West, as America is known in the world. Perhaps the materialism and hedonism of the West is holding us back somehow.

I love America but I see how we are beholden to a lifestyle that leaves soul-searching on the backburner.
Rosa
Brooklyn, NY
August 7, 2008
Western Wall
I was able to conceptualize your message. It explains to me why the Chabad are sending Shluchim out over the summer to far flung Jewish areas. In order to wake up that holy soul of a Jew that can be found inside every Jew regardless of location, status, etc.
Yehuda P.
Morristown, NJ
August 6, 2008
western wall
well said. i'm moved!!! todah!!
ever borunda
east l.a., ca
August 5, 2008
Kotel
That was a wonderful picture you painted for us. Yes, we still are able to feel, that the soul of the wall is whole.

And what else are we?

A temple in ruins, but with a whole soul!

Thank you!!!
Michal
August 4, 2008
internal Western Wall
You've provided such an amazing tool for a Jew to get more in the untouched soul within each one of us. Thank you so much from a very visually-oriented person. Thank you.
M.H.
North Miami Beach , Florida
August 4, 2008
Hope
This is one of the best articles I have read on your site. For it's simplicity, clarity and deepness, it certainly stands out. Thank you.
Ricardo Pareja F.
Panama, Panama
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