Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

5 Av 5761 - July 25, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
The Lower Mikdosh and the Upper Mikdosh

The physical destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh that took place on Tisha B'Av is not the only expression of churban. It is not even the main expression nor is it the first expression of the destruction. It all started from the spiritual churban, as the Shechina was exiled from the Jewish heart.

"Neither Nevuchadnezzar nor Titus harmed anything up above. They have neither share nor root in the upper worlds that would have enabled them to even touch those areas with any action of theirs. Rather, through our sins, the power and might, as it were, of the Above were lessened and weakened, `they defiled the Mikdosh of Hashem,' as it were, and it was because of that defilement that Nevuchadnezzar and Titus had the power to destroy the lower Mikdosh which is the parallel counterpart to the upper Mikdosh. As Chazal said, `You only ground flour that was already ground.' Our sins destroyed the abode above, the holy upper worlds, and they destroyed only the lower abode. (Nefesh HaChaim, Shaar 1, Chapter 4)

The sticks and stones of the Beis Hamikdash are incidental to the true destruction that took place because the Jewish people did not relate properly to Hashem. If our inner holiness had been intact, the enemy could never have destroyed the Beis Hamikdosh. Once our inner holiness was defiled, it was inevitable that the outer expressions of this holiness on this earth would also collapse.

Our mourning must include this as well. We must appreciate the loss of an entire society governed by Torah, united in its aspirations to constantly reach new heights in service of Hashem. The Beis Hamikdash was the focus of a society that was utterly different from today. Sensitive to the laws of tumah and taharoh, oriented to avodas Hashem in the Beis Hamikdash in Yerushalayim, on familiar terms with ruach hakodesh, the Jewish people in those days had a different life from what we know today.

As long as the Beis Hamikdosh is not rebuilt, it is a sign that we are also not rebuilt. If we had successfully reconstructed ourselves as Hashem wants, we would not have to mourn the churban; we would celebrate its reconstruction.

Maran HaRav Shach shlita often spoke of the farmer in the Galil, who wrongly thought that everything is fine as long as he is able to work his farm. His world, his highest aspirations, reach no higher than bountiful crops. As soon as he was back on his farm, he no longer felt the churban. Today too we must realize that even though Eretz Yisroel is built up, we still lack the holiness that was destroyed.

Although we feel deeply how far we are from the ideal, we can still appreciate what has been accomplished in recent decades. The growth of the Torah community, both in quantity and in quality, is quite clear for all to see. Every child who learns Chumash is a step to the geulah. Every home that observes Shabbos brings Moshiach that much closer.

When we go out to the streets we are reminded all too painfully of how much work we still have to do. Eretz Yisroel and the Jewish people will one day come together. Even as we mourn the tangible destruction that we see all around, we are encouraged by what has been done and most importantly we must resolve to redouble our efforts to improve ourselves and our environment.

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