Why Learn About the Holy Temple?

Ezekiel said: “Master of the World, why are You telling me to go and tell Israel the form of the House . . . They are now in exile in the land of our enemies. Is there anything they can do [about it]? Let them be until they return from exile. Then, I will go and inform them.”

G‑d answered: “Should the construction of My House be ignored because My children are in exile?

“The study of the Torah's [design of the Holy Temple] can be equated to its construction. Go tell them to study the form of the Temple. As a reward for their study and their occupation with it, I will consider it as if they actually built it.”

Implicit in the wording used in this passage is that the study of the laws of the Holy Temple has ramifications that extend far beyond the ordinary sphere of intellectual activity. Rather, through this study, a person fulfills his obligation to build the Temple.

Thus, the Rebbe teaches us, it is especially appropriate to learn these laws during the Three Weeks, when we mourn the destruction of the Holy Temple and our subsequent exile.

What to Study?

Over the course of more than a millennium, the Holy Temple appeared in several iterations. Several key elements run through them all, but there are also significant differences.

The Mishkan

As outlined in the Book of Exodus, G‑d’s first home was the Tabernacle (Mishkan), which was built in the desert and continued to function (in various forms) until the days of Solomon.

The best place to learn about this Temple is in the Book of Exodus, where we read both about G‑d’s instructions regarding its construction and how it was actually built.

What Was the Mishkan?
Learn the Four Mishkan-Related Torah Portions

The Holy Temples in Jerusalem

For more than 800 years, two successive Holy Temples stood in Jerusalem. The architecture of the Second Temple is discussed extensively in the Talmud and then again in Maimonides’ code.

Study the Talmud's Description of the Second Holy Temple (Video)
Read Maimonides’ Depiction of the Second Temple
Learn Maimonides’ Text With Rabbi Gordon (Video)
Read the Rebbe’s Insights on Maimonides’ Depictions

9 Holy Temple Facts

Ezekiel’s Temple Yet to Be Built

For nearly 2,000 years, there has been no Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Yet, it is an axiom of Jewish belief that the Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem. Known as the Third Temple, it will be built according to the prophecies of Ezekiel.

Explore Ezekiel’s Vision for the Yet-to-Be Built Temple
4 Unique Characteristics of Ezekiel’s Temple
Now take the Holy Temple quiz