For 830 years — from 833 to 423 BCE and again from 349 BCE to 69 CE — there stood an edifice upon a Jerusalem hilltop which served as the point of contact between heaven and earth. So central was this edifice to our lives as Jews that nearly two-thirds of the mitzvot (commandments of the Torah) are contingent upon its existence. Its destruction is regarded as the greatest tragedy of our history, and its rebuilding will mark the ultimate redemption — the restoration of harmony within G‑d's creation and between G‑d and His creation.

Maimonides writes: "The location of the Altar [in the Holy Temple] is very exactly defined... It is a commonly-held tradition that the place where David and Solomon built the Altar on the threshing floor of Arona, is the very place where Abraham built an altar and bound Isaac upon it; this is where Noah built [an altar] when he came out from the Ark; this is where Cain and Abel brought their offerings; this is where Adam the First Man offered a korban when he was created — and it is from [the earth of] this place that he was created...."

Here we came, three times a year — on Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot — bringing with us offerings to G‑d, and bringing our selves to "see and to be seen by the face of the L-rd." Here the Divine Presence was manifest — this was the archetype of the "dwelling for G‑d in the physical world" that is the purpose of creation.

The Chassidic masters tell us that each year on Shabbat Chazon — "Shabbat of Vision," as the Shabbat preceding the Ninth of Av, the day that mourns the destruction of both Temples, is called — we are each granted a vision of the Third Temple. We may not see it with our physical eyes, but our souls see it, and are infused with the determination and power to break free of our present state of galut (exile and spiritual displacement) and restore the manifest Divine presence to our world.

The seventeen essays and stories in this anthology explore the significance of the Holy Temple as the Divine "home" and "place," as the "gate of Heaven" for man's service of G‑d, and as the ultimate embodiment of G‑d's desire to create life and mankind's endeavor to sanctify it:

What Was the Holy Temple?

At the Threshold


Somewhere Between Spirituality and Religion

The Anatomy of a Dwelling

Spiritual Space

Sleep On It

Are You Really Planning to Bring Back Those Animal Sacrifices?

Flying West

The Palace and the Pigeons

The Intimate Estrangement

The Legalities of Destruction

Shabbat of Vision

What We Are Missing


The Shofar and the Wall

The Gift

One on One


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