Don’t give up, G-d is with you

Ya’akov Avinu opened our hearts even while we were in the lowest, darkest night. You can still hear him saying to every one of us who ever lived until Mashiach comes, “Don’t give up, G-d is with you. You are always in Yerushalayim; you are always in the Holy Temple. There is no power in the world that can destroy the Holy Temple. There is no power in the world that can estrange you from G-d.”…

The Holy Temple is absolutely the most permanent connection. Why was the Holy Wall never destroyed? Because we never stopped being connected to it. Even though the other walls were still destroyed, there is something very deep inside of me that never left the Western Wall.

The Holy Temple is still standing.

The only question is for each of us — are we ready to enter it?

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

Soul of Jerusalem

Where Everything Came Together

Where did everything find its right place? The Holy Temple.

We went into the Temple with everything we had. All our shame, fears, and guilt. We came out singing. How? What happened? The Holy Temple put everything in its right place.

In the Holy Temple, G-d brought the alef and beis together again. The Beis Hamikdash is where everything came together.

The complete integration between the Torah and the World.

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

Based on Soul of Jerusalem

Three Blemishes — Three Weeks

During these Three Weeks, we are mourning the destruction of the First and Second Temples, over the exile of our people from the Land, and over the empowerment of the evil kingdoms of the world, the epitome of which is the seed of Amalek. This is why there are Three Weeks, for we are mourning over these three points that were blemished on account of our sins — the three mitzvot upon entering the Land of Israel, namely, eradicating the seed of Amalek, appointing a king, and constructing the Temple.

Due to our many sins in the past, for which we have still not fully repented, we have been unable to fully eradicate the seed of Amalek. Now, the filth of Amalek spreads and intensifies every day. We have been unable to reveal the glory of Hashem in the world. Our influence has diminished to the point that we still have no king. Most importantly, the Temple, the crown of our heads, has been destroyed due to our many sins, and due to our failure to fully repent, it has still not been rebuilt.

The main tikkun (rectification) during these Three Weeks corresponds to t’shuva (repentance). We cry and mourn during these Three Weeks over our failure in the past to properly fulfill the three mitzvot Hashem commanded of us when we entered the Land of Israel. We also cry and mourn over the fact that we have still not fully repented for them.

May we, during these Three Weeks, properly and completely repent for our three failures and merit complete rectification, through which we will finally and completely eradicate Amalek, welcome the coming of our true Mashiach, and see the rebuilding of our Temple, speedily in our days! Amen.

Based on Likutei Halakhot, Orach Chaim I, Shabbat 7, by Rabbi Natan of Breslov

Still Crying

In Parshat Shelakh Lekha, after the spies returned and slandered the Land of Israel, and the People of Israel cried out and complained bitterly, “Then the Holy One, blessed be He, said: You have cried for no reason, I will give you something to cry about for generations!” Needless crying triggered a devastating punishment of destruction, hardship, suffering, and exile that continues until today.

Both the First and Second Temples were destroyed, the Inquisition, pogroms, the Holocaust, and more, all because our people needlessly cried one night? The punishment appears rather shocking. The answer is simple — Hashem despises ingratitude more than any other sin.

Hashem does thousands of kindnesses for us every day. Hashem personally oversees every aspect of our lives. By crying and complaining we show ingratitude to Hashem; hence the punishment for baseless crying is the greatest of all.

We must understand that the reason the punishment for the crying in the desert continues is because we are still needlessly crying and complaining today! We continue to cry and complain about everything that doesn’t go according to our desires.

Today’s exile and the reason we still do not have our Temple is not because of Hashem’s anger thousands of years ago in the desert, G-d forbid. It is because Hashem desires that we rectify this sin and completely uproot ungratefulness from our lives. “I will give you something to cry about for generations” means that as long as we, Am Yisrael, continue to cry and complain, dinim (stern judgments) are awakened, just like the dinim the crying in the desert caused. If we would uproot this terrible trait of ingratitude, the Redemption would come.

Based on The Garden of Gratitude, by Rabbi Shalom Arush

The Death of Youths

We have found that the deaths of youths is as difficult as the destruction of the Temple. (Eikha Rabba 1;44)

The Ben Ish Hai explains to us that when a young person dies, especially a righteous one, people have questions about Divine justice. “How could this young life be taken away?” If they knew the secrets of reincarnation, they would stop having doubts.

A person who is entering the world for the first time and is righteous will definitely live out their 70 years. But not all of us are here for the first time. When a person dies without fulfilling one’s mission here, G-d forbid, the soul may be sent back again. Then, as soon as the person merits completing their tikkun (soul correction), there mission is complete and they immediately depart.

Like the death of youths, the destruction of the Temple arouses questions about Divine justice. “How could such a holy place be destroyed?” If they truly knew the purpose, they would cease to wonder…

Based on If I Forget Thee, From the Writings of Hacham Yosef Hayyim of Baghdad

The Wailing Wall

“On Mount Zion there shall be a remnant, and it shall be holy. The house of Yaakov shall dispossess those who dispossessed them.” (Obadiah 1:17)

Unlike the rest of the Temple, the Kotel Ma’aravi (the Western Wall) of the Temple Mount was built by King David, who prepared everything needed for the construction of the Temple (Sukah 53a). The Western Wall survived the destruction of both the First and Second Temples, and the Sh’khina (Divine Presence) has never left it (Shir HaShirim Rabba 2:9).

After the First Temple was destroyed, Ezra says, “Grace has been shown from Hashem our G-d to leave us a remnant and give us a peg in His holy place, so that our G-d may add luster to our eyes and give us a bit of sustenance in our bondage” (Ezra 9:8). The Western Wall was the “peg” to show us His intention to return.

And, indeed, it was rebuilt. Then, after the Second Temple was destroyed, the Western Wall was again left, as a sign for us that the Third Temple will be built. As our verse says, “On Mount Zion” — the Temple site — “there shall be a remnant” — the Western Wall — “and it shall be holy,” for the Divine Presence has ever left it, “and the house of Yaakov shall dispossess those who dispossessed them” with the building of the Third Temple.

Based on Birkat Hayyim, Haftarat Vayishlah, as cited in If I Forget Thee: The Ben Ish Hai on The land of Israel, Jerusalem and the Holy Temple